The First Year Of The Magna

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Being the 800th anniversary year of the Magna Carta the debate of whether or not it is time for the UK to adopt a written constitution has resurfaced, paving way for contrasting arguments relating to the need for modernisation in the 21st century, against the need to retain tradition. It must be mentioned that for the purposes of this discussion the term ‘unwritten’ is in the context that the UK constitution is not recorded onto a single codified document. While not presented onto a single document the constitution is ’written’, and as appropriately stated by Lord Scarman ‘today our constitution is not “unwritten” but hard and difficult to find’. Currently, the UK constitution is composed of numerous rules and legal principles that have…show more content…
Former Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw described the current constitution as "[existing] within the hearts and minds and habits as much as it does in law."3 Most of the current UK constitution can be located within a mass of common law and statues which is rather inaccessible to the average citizen and the rest deriving from tradition and so is considered to be ‘common knowledge’. With a written constitution key constitutional rules can be collected onto a single document and clarified allowing for better accessibility to the masses. A future written constitution would need to be inclusive and not one that only parliamentarians and legal experts are able to decipher, and ultimately could bring the government and the governed closer together4 much like the effect that the 5th amendment has had on American citizens. On the contrary, the charm and appeal of the current UK constitution may be lost in removing it’s archaic traditions by adopting a modernised approach. The mantra of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ is often the line of reasoning for many when debating against a written constitution for a traditional and conservative Britain. Professor Barber contended ‘ Britain’s constitution has, by and large, been a success’ as ‘is has produced stable government and
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