Thursday, August 16, 2007
Does the UK have a Constition?
There are two main approaches to defining a constitution – the concrete definition and the abstract definition. The concrete definition approach refers to a written set of rules a state adopts which defines the roles and functions of government, the rights of the people against the power of the state, among others. This type includes the Constitution of the
Nonetheless, a way out of this debate is to focus more on the purposes of a constitution rather than on its form. Jefferson best articulated these purposes, which includes the allocation and limitation of powers of government, the articulation of moral democratic principles of society and the accordance of government to democratic principles. As such, if these are the benchmarks that we shall use in determining as to whether or not the UK has a constitution, sources of constitutional exist that would show that a constitution does exist in UK such as statutes, common law, conventions, treaties, and even the Royal Prerogative. Concretely, these include Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, Race Relations Act 1976, the landmark case of M v Home Office ( 1 AC 377), among many other laws and cases which subscribe to the Jeffersonian notion of the purposes of constitution.
However, there is still a debate as to whether the sum of all these statutes and sources of constitutional rules taken together can be considered as conclusive enough to say that a constitution exists in UK, especially when one of the fundamental requisites of a constitution is the consent of the people and the establishment of the people of a constitutional government. Prima facie, though, especially with all the statutes that seemingly conform to the Jeffersonian purposes of a constitution, it can somehow be said that the