The Constitution Of The UK Constitution

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ERASMUS In 2000 the report of the Royal Commission on reform of the House of Lords described the UK Constitution as “extraordinarily flexible with the capacity to evolve in the light of changes in circumstances and society”.1 The constitution is a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organisation is acknowledged to be governed. 2 Most states can look to a written constitution for the rules which define the nature of their constitutional arrangements. In Contrast, the United Kingdom differs from many others in not being embodied in a written document but in a complex mixture of institutional practices; that is, of history, custom, tradition, and politics reflected in conventions, procedures, and protocols as well as within the body of statute and common law. Because on many matters British government depends less on legal rules and safeguards than upon political and democratic principles, the UK constitution is well-known to have a political constitution. A political constitution is defined as one where those wielding power are held accountable through political means by other institutions. To be effective, there must be a strong and vital political discussion and the potential for significant independence. A legal constitution counts, on the other hand, on enforcing accountability through legal processes and, likewise, requires significant independence and an understanding that law serves as an instrument of accountability for governmental institutions. The flexibility of the Constitution emphasized by the Royal Commission, and often seen as an important virtue by Dicey3 allows changes in the Constitution, such as the devolution. Devolution is defined as “the delegation of... ... middle of paper ... ... traditional role of the judiciary, it is obvious that devolution has brought important changes in the UK Constitution. Whereas the changes in the executive and legislative powers seem to preserve the political constitution, the important changes of the role of the judiciary seem to challenge the nature of the political constitution. However the new powers of the courts, have generally been exercised in a manner that seeks to supplement the political constitution, not to undermine it. To my mind, even if the political constitution had over the last few decades been diluted by an infusion of “legal” elements, we are not, as Loughlin thinks, moving towards a legal constitution. Our Constitution “is no longer an entirely political constitution but the political constitution remains vibrant and vital as a core component of our increasingly rich constitutional order.”17
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