It has been a debatable question for a while whether the United Kingdom has a constitution or it does not. It is still been widely discussed by politicians and political theorists who are putting forward miscellaneous assumptions but they can not find any suitable consensus about the matter. The problem is that there is no a legal document in the UK, which can be regarded as a systemized constitution. That gives a plenty of arguable issues about the matter of “constitution”. Still, nevertheless there is no so-called de jure constitution in the United Kingdom, no one has any grounds to claim that there is no constitution in the UK. Moreover, there surely exist evidences to prove that the United Kingdom does have a constitution.
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As the first evidence for the claim, that the UK constitution exists, may be called one of the definitions of the notion “constitution”, provided by Marshall, a political theorist. He distinguishes between four possible explanations for the notion, the first of which states that it is “the combination of legal and non-legal … rules that currently provide the framework of government and regulate the behaviour of the major political actors” (J Alder, 7). No matter if the constitution been codified or not, if it is functioning, it surely can be called a constitution. Moreover, the United Kingdom has been functioning as a country under its laws for many centuries. Besides, since “constitution” is the notion too complex and versatile to boil down to one definition, one might call the set British statutes or the so-called practices adopted as a constitution.
Secondly, there are officially defined types of constitutions. One of the types states “written and unwritten” (J Alder, 8). It should be minded that the so-called pure type of constitution simply do not exist. It would be fair to mention that though the constitution of the United Kingdom hasn’t been written as one document, there exist the basic written practices written down by the officials to “codes of practice” (J Alder, 15). Consequently, the UK constitution is not a mouth from mouth law. A common British claim should be noted, it is the claim that they possess a real constitution. Notwithstanding it is not a single written document or set of documents, as other countries have, its principles are performing the same function in their country and both people and authorities subdue it day in day out.
Thirdly, the fact of the existence of the UK constitution can not be challenged from the point of view of the historical development, as the term “constitution” in the sense it is used now was used at least from the seventeenth century. These were other countries, which adopted a written form of a constitution. Consequently, originally it was not a written document which stood for the notion “constitution”.
Making a conclusion, it can be said that the existence of a United Kingdom constitution is surely supported by a number of nonbiased facts. In the first place, one of the proposed definitions by a political theorist which states that either written and not rules that are functioning make up a constitution. Then, the unwritten type of constitution is been put to the classification of constitutions in the rank with another types. Thirdly, the unwritten UK constitution is historically justified, as it exists at least since seventeenth century. All the abovementioned facts give grounds to state that there surely is a constitution in the UK.
J Alder, Constitutional and Administrative Law (6th edn Palgrave Macmillan, London 2007) 4-40.
A Michael and B Thompson, Constitutional and Administrative Law (9th edn Oxford University Press, United Kingdom 2008) 134.
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