How would the UK introduce a written constitution?

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EconDal
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The introduction of a written constitution intothe United Kingdom would be relatively straightforward legislative task; the Executivewould initiate, the Legislature would entrench, and the courts would enforceand protect. Discuss.
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callum_law
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The main problem with these "written constitution" questions is that they presuppose that the UK does not have a written constitution. This is fundamentally untrue. There is no single official document which says "UK Constitution" but much of the legal substance for how our system of government operates is founded in statutes (called "constitutional statues" which require explicit repeal by Parliament), and is therefore written.

To tackle this question sensibly, therefore, you should clarify what the question is asking and what the current legal situation is in the UK as part of your essay.
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Nolofinwë
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(Original post by EconDal)
Can someone help with this short course work question?

The introduction of a written constitution intothe United Kingdom would be relatively straightforward legislative task; the Executivewould initiate, the Legislature would entrench, and the courts would enforceand protect. Discuss.
By no means a full answer, but two ideas I think are particularly interesting:
1. The constitution currently contains a number of unresolved conflicts (many of which are labelled as 'conventions'), about which there is a constant assumption that it better to leave them dormant than find an answer (e.g. could the Queen refuse to enact primary legislation; Salisbury Convention; the Sewel Convention; definition of the office of prime minister). A written constitution, unless it was left hopelessly vague, would have to resolve these, which would be a ground for serious contention.

2. Would the written constitution actually function as a sovereign text? Parliamentary Sovereignty dictates that Parliament is sovereign, so it follows that, if the constitution was created by an ordinary act of Parliament, Parliament could always repeal it, so it would not be sovereign. Look at the various theories for transfer of sovereignty.
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sleepysnooze
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*how*?
1) parliament making a new law
2) a referendum
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sleepysnooze
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(Original post by Nolofinwë)
2. Would the written constitution actually function as a sovereign text? Parliamentary Sovereignty dictates that Parliament is sovereign, so it follows that, if the constitution was created by an ordinary act of Parliament, Parliament could always repeal it, so it would not be sovereign. Look at the various theories for transfer of sovereignty.
...but we only have the rule of parliamentary sovereignty because we have no written constitution which negates parliament...so having a written constitution would stop parliamentary sovereignty in its current form - how is a written and codified constitution going to be trumped by a residual rule such as parliamentary sovereignty?
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Nolofinwë
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(Original post by sleepysnooze)
...but we only have the rule of parliamentary sovereignty because we have no written constitution which negates parliament...so having a written constitution would stop parliamentary sovereignty in its current form - how is a written and codified constitution going to be trumped by a residual rule such as parliamentary sovereignty?
I'm not sure where the assertions 'we only have the rule of parliamentary sovereignty because we have no written constitution which negates parliament' and 'a residual rule' come from. I fail to see how the enactment, by Parliament, of a 'constitution' could override Parliamentary Sovereignty, because by the very same procedure Parliament could repeal the constitution. As a control of the legislature, it would hardly be worth the paper it is written on.
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sleepysnooze
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(Original post by Nolofinwë)
I'm not sure where the assertions 'we only have the rule of parliamentary sovereignty because we have no written constitution which negates parliament' and 'a residual rule' come from. I fail to see how the enactment, by Parliament, of a 'constitution' could override Parliamentary Sovereignty, because by the very same procedure Parliament could repeal the constitution. As a control of the legislature, it would hardly be worth the paper it is written on.
our conventions actually do come largely from the absence of legal constraints on parliament. for example, the royal prerogative - it only exists because parliament has failed to put restraints on the executive regarding certain things, such as the declaration of war, or the appointment of a government, etc. when parliament is silent, also, the executive is sovereign (via the monarch). parliamentary sovereignty would end with a constitution in the same way it has ended regarding the EU - to turn a formerly sovereign parliament into a regulated parliament, that, obviously, requires a constitution. you couldn't just say "we've created a monster" because parliament *has* been sovereign, as if this means it will always be sovereign. you also need to realise that the following of procedures from a constitution takes a very important condition: respect for the law. parliament could, in theory, do *whatever* it wanted. it could sack judges, sack monarchs, make laws that walked all over respect for liberty, democracy, etc. the thing which keeps parliament respecting things like "EU-referendum locks" (2011) and the convention of how the opposing parties to a successful referendum result *must* sign that resolution into law even if they don't want to (because democracy, as a convention, is respected by those that make the law) is respect for the system. law isn't something that can do everything on its own - you need people who believe in the law (or in this case, the hypothetical new constitution) or else the law is meaningless - what is a law when nobody follows or respects it as authoritative?
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Nolofinwë
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(Original post by sleepysnooze)
our conventions actually do come largely from the absence of legal constraints on parliament. for example, the royal prerogative - it only exists because parliament has failed to put restraints on the executive regarding certain things, such as the declaration of war, or the appointment of a government, etc. when parliament is silent, also, the executive is sovereign (via the monarch). parliamentary sovereignty would end with a constitution in the same way it has ended regarding the EU - to turn a formerly sovereign parliament into a regulated parliament, that, obviously, requires a constitution. you couldn't just say "we've created a monster" because parliament *has* been sovereign, as if this means it will always be sovereign.

Do you have any evidence for Parliament's ability to limit it's own sovereignty? You've cited accession to the EU as the only non-hypothetical example, so assuming this is where your evidence is, could you explain exactly how EU accession has limited Parliamentary Sovereignty

you also need to realise that the following of procedures from a constitution takes a very important condition: respect for the law.

But Parliament defines what the law is, so it's odd to say that it doesn't respect the law when it changes it. Would you say that Parliament 'disrespected' the Sexual Offences Act 1956 when it enacted the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

parliament could, in theory, do *whatever* it wanted. it could sack judges, sack monarchs, make laws that walked all over respect for liberty, democracy, etc. the thing which keeps parliament respecting things like "EU-referendum locks" (2011) and the convention of how the opposing parties to a successful referendum result *must* sign that resolution into law even if they don't want to (because democracy, as a convention, is respected by those that make the law) is respect for the system.

So you are saying that, in addition to the new codified constitution, we would need an additional uncodified convention/political attitude (call it what you will) to give the aura of sovereignty to the constitution. What happens if someone questioned this convention (example below)

law isn't something that can do everything on its own - you need people who believe in the law (or in this case, the hypothetical new constitution) or else the law is meaningless - what is a law when nobody follows or respects it as authoritative?
I'm sure Joseph Raz would be very interested in that question, but I don't think it is to be resolved here. Suffice it to say, absolute respect for law would be a morally troubling prospect. Regardless, people would still respect the law, whether we had a sovereign Parliament or Constitution. All we are discussing is, when it came to answering the question of sovereignty, which would be found to prevail.
Put it this way. Parliament enacts the Constitutional Reform Act 2016. Section 1 says that "This Act will be the sovereign text/constitution for the United Kingdom, and shall not be subject to repeal or amendment, save in accordance with the provisions laid out in section X of this Act." Section X sets out some new procedure, e.g. referendum, qualified majority voting or whatever else.

One year later, Parliament enacts the Constitutional Reform (Repeal) Act 2017 by a procedure which does not comply with Section X of the 2016 Act. Section 1 says "The Constitutional Reform Act 2016 is hereby repealed in full".

Which act prevails? As far as I understand your opinion, you would say that the 2016 Act is now sovereign, so Parliament was unable to repeal it by the non-compatible legislative procedure which it adopted in 2017. But do you have any evidence for Parliament being able to bind its future self in that way? Sure, there could be a convention, but as I explained above, conventions are just unresolved questions, so now that we are looking for an answer, we must look past the convention to find one.
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sleepysnooze
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(Original post by Nolofinwë)
Do you have any evidence for Parliament's ability to limit it's own sovereignty? You've cited accession to the EU as the only non-hypothetical example, so assuming this is where your evidence is, could you explain exactly how EU accession has limited Parliamentary Sovereignty


sovereignty in the procedural sense is socially constructed - they are sovereign because they think they're sovereign (i.e. because no formal recognised limitation yet exists against it). if there is a constitution, which the members of parliament, the judiciary and the executive socially construct as binding upon parliament, then conventions would cease to be the basis for our constitution in many ways (e.g. sovereignty of parliament), because there would be a newly recognised path to making laws which would specify how new laws could be made or repealed. I don't really know what else you'll be wanting me to say here - how do you think parliamentary sovereignty came into existence? from my own opinion it probably became as domijnant as it is (against the executive/monarch) through the bill of rights in 1688 (or was it 1689, I can't remember...)

and in terms of how the EU has limited sovereignty, the law of parliament (the euopean communities act 1972) says that the parliament's laws, if conflict with EU laws, cannot stand. there was a fisheries policy of the thatcher government in the late 80s which started a court case because it collided with the EU (I *think* it was factortame II) and the EU won and the courts recognised this to be the case

But Parliament defines what the law is, so it's odd to say that it doesn't respect the law when it changes it. Would you say that Parliament 'disrespected' the Sexual Offences Act 1956 when it enacted the Sexual Offences Act 2003.


the parliament doesn't say what a law actually is or how to make it - do you think there is a rule book of parliament somewhere saying how to make laws? it's all based on social convention/constructio - parliament's traditional form of making laws is through simple majorities, and that's how people still do things because nobody's challenged it. it would take a new tradition, or constitutional law, to change it.

So you are saying that, in addition to the new codified constitution, we would need an additional uncodified convention/political attitude (call it what you will) to give the aura of sovereignty to the constitution. What happens if someone questioned this convention (example below)


well this isn't really a weakness like you're suggesting it is - you could say that about parliament itself - what if nobody respected parliament's laws? they'd look to a new source of authority. in my case, I am talking about how, if there *was* a reform to create a codified constitution, then MPs will either respect it, or they would need to stand down - unless a big majority of MPs also didnt want to follow it.

Put it this way. Parliament enacts the Constitutional Reform Act 2016. Section 1 says that "This Act will be the sovereign text/constitution for the United Kingdom, and shall not be subject to repeal or amendment, save in accordance with the provisions laid out in section X of this Act." Section X sets out some new procedure, e.g. referendum, qualified majority voting or whatever else.

One year later, Parliament enacts the Constitutional Reform (Repeal) Act 2017 by a procedure which does not comply with Section X of the 2016 Act. Section 1 says "The Constitutional Reform Act 2016 is hereby repealed in full".

Which act prevails? As far as I understand your opinion, you would say that the 2016 Act is now sovereign, so Parliament was unable to repeal it by the non-compatible legislative procedure which it adopted in 2017. But do you have any evidence for Parliament being able to bind its future self in that way? Sure, there could be a convention, but as I explained above, conventions are just unresolved questions, so now that we are looking for an answer, we must look past the convention to find one.
what do you mean "evidence"? this isn't a science we can lay down here - all parliaments operate in their own respective ways. ours, obviously, seemingly operates through a mixture of conventions, royal prerogatives, written laws (some) and perhaps even court cases, such as factortame. the evidence that this new constitution would trump the formerly sovereign parliament would be the existence of a political establishment (MPs and ministers) whereby this new constitution was recognised as being binding. and if they created the constitution, which itself said "this is binding"< then I wouldn't know why you'd be ready to suspect that this parliament wouldn't honourr the restriction it itself has placed upon itself in the formerly recognised manner (the social convention of simply legislation via a majority)
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Nolofinwë
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(Original post by sleepysnooze)
[/b]

sovereignty in the procedural sense is socially constructed - they are sovereign because they think they're sovereign (i.e. because no formal recognised limitation yet exists against it). if there is a constitution, which the members of parliament, the judiciary and the executive socially construct as binding upon parliament, then conventions would cease to be the basis for our constitution in many ways (e.g. sovereignty of parliament), because there would be a newly recognised path to making laws which would specify how new laws could be made or repealed. I don't really know what else you'll be wanting me to say here - how do you think parliamentary sovereignty came into existence? from my own opinion it probably became as domijnant as it is (against the executive/monarch) through the bill of rights in 1688 (or was it 1689, I can't remember...)

Parliamentary sovereignty isn't a convention though; it's judicial principle. See, e.g., Lord Bingham at [9] in R (Jackson) v AG 2005 UKHL 56 and Lord Reid at 723 in Lardner-Burke [1969] 1 AC 645. The courts, as Wade recognises (and, as far as I know, no-one disputes) are the ultimate determiners of sovereignty, because they are tasked with finding out what the law is. You use terms consistent with a Hartian rule of recognition, and yet I believe Green was astute to criticise Hart by pointing out that it is not the people, but the officers of the system, who hold sufficient power to determine the rule of recognition.

and in terms of how the EU has limited sovereignty, the law of parliament (the euopean communities act 1972) says that the parliament's laws, if conflict with EU laws, cannot stand. there was a fisheries policy of the thatcher government in the late 80s which started a court case because it collided with the EU (I *think* it was factortame II) and the EU won and the courts recognised this to be the case

Indeed, EU law has primacy, but, as Lord Bridge says in Factortame II, it has this primacy only because s2 ECA 1972 says it does. Parliament could always amend or repeal that provision, and hence end EU primacy. The situation in the same as regards the incorporation of EU law throughout Europe. Though the ECJ may claim supremacy qua EU law, the member states only give it supremacy through a mechanism in their own (still sovereign) constitutions: for Germany, see e.g. Honeywell and Art 23.1 BGB; for France, see Raoul Georges Nicolo and Art 55 of the Constitution; etc.

the parliament doesn't say what a law actually is or how to make it - do you think there is a rule book of parliament somewhere saying how to make laws? it's all based on social convention/constructio - parliament's traditional form of making laws is through simple majorities, and that's how people still do things because nobody's challenged it. it would take a new tradition, or constitutional law, to change it.

And the courts would have to recognise that tradition as the new sovereign system

well this isn't really a weakness like you're suggesting it is - you could say that about parliament itself - what if nobody respected parliament's laws? they'd look to a new source of authority. in my case, I am talking about how, if there *was* a reform to create a codified constitution, then MPs will either respect it, or they would need to stand down - unless a big majority of MPs also didnt want to follow it.

But the new source of authority is one of Parliament's laws, because it was enacted by Parliament

what do you mean "evidence"? this isn't a science we can lay down here - all parliaments operate in their own respective ways. ours, obviously, seemingly operates through a mixture of conventions, royal prerogatives, written laws (some) and perhaps even court cases, such as factortame. the evidence that this new constitution would trump the formerly sovereign parliament would be the existence of a political establishment (MPs and ministers) whereby this new constitution was recognised as being binding. and if they created the constitution, which itself said "this is binding"< then I wouldn't know why you'd be ready to suspect that this parliament wouldn't honourr the restriction it itself has placed upon itself in the formerly recognised manner (the social convention of simply legislation via a majority)
Evidence as in authorities for limits on Parliamentary Sovereignty. It's (debatably) not science, but it is the English Common Law. I suspect it would not be binding, because I no of know case which says that Parliament can bind itself as regards a later Act by an earlier Act, or even gives any indication of this. All the cases I know, including those cited above, say to the contrary.
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sleepysnooze
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(Original post by Nolofinwë)
Evidence as in authorities for limits on Parliamentary Sovereignty. It's (debatably) not science, but it is the English Common Law. I suspect it would not be binding, because I no of know case which says that Parliament can bind itself as regards a later Act by an earlier Act, or even gives any indication of this. All the cases I know, including those cited above, say to the contrary.
look, all I am saying is that if parliament made a constitution, it would be very clear that parliament would no longer be sovereign. the EU statute is based on its own parliamentary sovereignty, I know, but it is still a limit to itself because, instead of the implied repeal rule, they have to jump through another procedural hoop which is exceptional in parliament (express repeal). what judge of the supreme court, too, is really going to look at this new hypothetical constitution and say "this doesn't challenge parliamentary sovereignty" even when the binding document actually specifically expresses that it does? how could we call it a codified constitution if it wasn't? and surely this relates, once again, to the rule of social recognition and construction? if the courts don't recognise a constitution that parliament creates, then they'd probably just set up their own new courts and discard the funding to the old courts - that's why the courts aren't sovereign - they don't have the power to tax and therefore sustain themselves independently. if the issue is the nature of parliament being all powerful, then look at how parliament was set up in the first place - by mere politicians. they can destroy what they themselves created, and then re-create a newly bound-by-constitution parliament in its place.
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I disagree here with the questionable dichotomy. There are very few countries whose body of constitutional law is entirely written in demarcated constitutional devices. The US a prime example. Yes, you have the foundational ideas covered about where power derives (THE PEOPLE), but there are significant areas sadly missed out, especially with regard to the how.
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sleepysnooze
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is it really an error that I am clearly and merely generalising constitutions as documents which usually have the sole purpose of entrenchment (in the sense of negating legislation in a general sense) or somehow restricting the powers of the executive? I can only think of one democratic constitutional republic (or nation) that has a constitution which hasn't got entrenchment rules for its parliament, and that's finland. the whole point of a constitution in a liberal democracy is that you don't make violations of obvious natural rights (speech, religion, property, association/assembly, contract, etc) very easy. constitutions, of course, are to specify and define the powers and functions of sections of the state, but really, are we honestly going to find somebody making that as their primary reason for advocating that we have a written/codified constitution? we all know, for instance, what the office of prime minister is - nobody is really sceptical of the prime minister's powers based on the facts of power in britain - the true issue is the appropriate limiting of that power, or parliament itself's power. that's of course our interest in a document like a constitution - it's protection from power, not our better understanding of it. maybe that better understanding is useful in an epistemic sense, but like I've said, that's clearly not the primary purpose of a constitution in a democratic setting. in an authoritarian setting (e.g. saudi arabia), a constitution might even have the sole aim of declaring their relative lack of restriction of power - is that a good use of a constitution contemporarily? I don't think so at least
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sleepysnooze
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who said that a codified constitution didn't allow for amendments? where did I ever claim this? I'm talking about democratic constitutions which balance liberty and democracy. you have democracy in a constitutional setting by allowing for a stronger (or super) majority to be the only thing contrary to liberty. you're either intentionally or accidentally misunderstand the nature of my claims in terms of constitutions. they are democratic and liberal documents for the aim of protecting the polity - they aren't for the purpose of people who hate government changing things - nobody can honestly claim that government might need to change their rules or mechanisms if it was for an ultimately important and necessary reason that the people would recognise as valid
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Nolofinwë
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(Original post by sleepysnooze)
look, all I am saying is that if parliament made a constitution, it would be very clear that parliament would no longer be sovereign.
But I have yet to hear an explanation of how this would be achieved in a way which would overcome Parliamentary Sovereignty

(Original post by sleepysnooze)
the EU statute is based on its own parliamentary sovereignty, I know, but it is still a limit to itself because, instead of the implied repeal rule, they have to jump through another procedural hoop which is exceptional in parliament (express repeal).
But is this a limit on Parliamentary Sovereignty, or on the distinct doctrine of implied repeal? Surely the minimum evidence for a limitation on sovereignty would be that Parliament could not override it expressly or impliedly, because that would indicate that the EU law had primacy over any enactment by Parliament. Additionally, I don't follow constitutional law at all, but I'm not aware of any case which applied this limit on implied repeal ratio - Laws LJ only discussed it obiter in Thoburn.

(Original post by sleepysnooze)
what judge of the supreme court, too, is really going to look at this new hypothetical constitution and say "this doesn't challenge parliamentary sovereignty" even when the binding document actually specifically expresses that it does?
I think this might be a plausible reaction when faced with the two-statute scenario I posited above with above. They'd have the choice of (a) taking a massive, unprecedented step in declaring the end of Parliamentary Sovereignty or (b) following all previous authority and previous theory and uphold sovereignty, and thereby put into effect Parliament's more recent wishes. Judges can (seemingly) be inventive, but they cannot blindly ignore every prevailing authority when they all point one way without risking serious criticism and, thereby, subsequent overrule.

(Original post by sleepysnooze)
how could we call it a codified constitution if it wasn't?
That's why I wouldn't call it a codified constitution in the first place. I'd instead call it the Constitutional Reform Act 2016 or whatever else they named it, and describe it as an act of Parliament, just like any other. Personally, I do not consider it good legal methodology to derive the effect of a statute from its name.

(Original post by sleepysnooze)
and surely this relates, once again, to the rule of social recognition and construction? if the courts don't recognise a constitution that parliament creates, then they'd probably just set up their own new courts and discard the funding to the old courts - that's why the courts aren't sovereign - they don't have the power to tax and therefore sustain themselves independently.
This is indeed an example of how pragmatic considerations override pure legal theory, here by demonstrating a sever fetter on the separation of powers. However, I can say this in reply. Who would preside over the new courts? Presumably, it would be the old judges and/or other practitioners, as they are the only people trained to do so. Therefore, even in a new setting, they are likely to to respect the old orthodoxy. I can imagine you replying "But what if Parliament told them not to, but instead to accord sovereignty to the constitution?" Well: (a) this would demonstrate that Parliament is still sovereign, because it's by Parliament's instruction that they obey the constitution and (b) presumably there would be a constitutional right to a fair trial similar to Art 6 in this new 'constitution'. If so, then it would seem to be breached if Parliament were dictating the legal outcome of decisions by effectively holding the courts to ransom with a threat to withdraw funding, so the original decision would be struck down on review on the grounds of bias.

Without this ransom impediment, the court's have the power to determine the sovereign body by choosing to apply the laws stemming from that body over any other. Thus, in a way, they kind of do make themselves sovereign thereby. I never considered the ability to levy a tax to be a pre-condition of sovereignty. After all, a written constitution is inanimate, even incorporeal beyond the physical paper, so could not levy a tax itself, but would instead be reliant on Parliament or the executive to provide the necessary funds to sustain it.

(Original post by sleepysnooze)
if the issue is the nature of parliament being all powerful, then look at how parliament was set up in the first place - by mere politicians. they can destroy what they themselves created, and then re-create a newly bound-by-constitution parliament in its place.
Historically, when is this a reference to? Because my understanding of the last even causing an alteration in sovereignty - the Glorious Revolution - was that it took a whole regime change, with William and Mary, as a criteria of taking power, promising to work with Parliament, hence technically making the Monarch-in-Parliament the sovereign body. Previously, Parliament had been overridden by the King's prerogative.
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sleepysnooze
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quote me - I never said that without qualifying it. I never said a constitution automatically caused parliament to not be sovereign - like I said previously, finland has a constitution while having a sovereign parliament without more restrictive procedures in amending its constitutional laws. I was saying that a constitution, which *did* specify limits and mechanisms of amendment, would repeal parliamentary sovereignty, though. because, by definition, this parliament would have something stopping itself from legislating whatever it wanted through a simple majority (assuming such laws said that merely simple-majorities were not sufficient in certain respects)

This is a methodological error. You're being prescriptive here; you're claiming what a constitution ought to do limits what it can do. Just because you have a belief that constitutions ought to do this doesn't mean that they necessarily have to. Purely descriptively, parliamentary sovereignty and codification are not at odds with one another.
I don't even know what you're arguing here because you're not responding to anything I've actually said - codification? codification of what? the codification of rights/liberties? if the rights were codified and it was specified that there needed to be a super majority or referendum to change or repeal these rights (like a lot of constitutions in the democratic world) then *surely* that would mean that parliamentary sovereignty in its ordinary form would be ended because parliament would be subordinate to a higher institution (the constitution)?

Actually, yes. It would be nice to have what are currently constitutional conventions listed out in law. It would be nice to have a document specifying which rights are recognized by English law, etc.
...but that's so obvious that it's why we still don't have a document of a constitution. what would it do that isn't already in effect if it wouldn't cause them to be entrenched? I'm sceptical of this purpose of a constitution because the british constitution as it is now, and a written one to reflect this unwritten one, would be *exactly* the same if there is to be *no* amendments or entrenchments at all. the fact that you're suggesting that we create a constitution after all this time because it would be "nice" is just very strange in my opinion if you have no real intention other than 100% (and not 99.999%) clarity of law (which the current law itself, unwritten in many respects, would be needed in order to fulfil this aim, suggesting how clear the current constitution, unwritten, is!)

Now you've conflated entrenchment for adherence to rule of law. Just because a constitution isn't entrenched doesn't mean that it doesn't protect one from abuses of power. Under the rule of law, a government body or agent is limited to those actions whichare legally permissible. Entrenchment isn't necessary for adherence to rule of law.
entrenchment essentially keeps, or keeps better, the laws/rules which stop the executive (or parliament itself) from overstepping appropriate bounds of power. if the only thing keeping parliament from being too authoritarian was an ordinary law/statute that they could reform with a simple majority, then it's not even anything stronger than a convention because there is *nothing* apart from such a convention or easy-to-change law to stop them from doing it!

You're being a prescripitivist, which is wholly irrelevant here. The question is one of logical possibility, not oughts. Work in the plane of descriptivism.
based on your comment, I can only conclude that you didn't read what I said, because a "lack" of restrictions specified in a contitutions (relating to power of parliament) would be to uphold parliamentary sovereignty, like you obviously prefer our parliament/government do (+awaiting you challenging this claim out of sheer OCD)
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sleepysnooze
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okay then - what would be the fundamental purpose of a democratic nation's constitution at its root, then? if you're going to tell me that it's clarity for the courts, then, again, this isn't something that the courts today don't have - there isn't an issue which they don't have clarity over. or at least an issue which cannot be clarified by a simple court declaration after speculations.

Your use of the term 'constitution' isn't then recognizable to those in the academic setting who study constitutionalism. A constitution is, according to constitutional theory, a document which regulates the power/setup of government. A constitution need not contain any forms of rights, it could merely establish the branches of government and the power between them. It's perfectly acceptable to have an illiberal and undemocratic constitution - a dictatorship can have a constitution; and in fact, many have had such documents.
if you have restrictions of power, then *somebody*, as a result, has rights created. if you say "government can't go to war without asking parliament first", then that means 1) elected MPs have the right, by constitution, to have their consent determine whether we go to war or not, and 2) indirectly, you allow the citizens of a nation, subjectively, to have the right to not go to war without more people scrutinising that very decision first, in their favour. in fact, regarding (2), this *usually* is a right that is through a referendum or something akin to it (e.g. denmark's requirement of two parliaments assenting to it, and then a refrerendum with a required % turnout). and yes, I've already given you the example (or I gave it to *somebody*, I can't remember if was you exactly) of saudi arabia as a nation where its constitution was *very* illiberal. and lastly, yes, there is a place for specifications of the branches of power, but that's only when you, say, have a revolution where tradition/convention doesn't exist to tell the politicians/judges/bureaucrats how this new regime works. imagine if a dictatorship turned into a democracy and people in power were expected to refer to word of mouth to understand how this new state worked - that would be a case where a written constitution of specifications would be useful, but we're talking about britain here where that aim wouldn't be necessary, as there is no confusion.

Your claims about constitutions are meaningless in this context because you're talking about what you think constitutions ought to do; you're being a prescriptivist. The question, however, is if parliamentary sovereignty and the existence of a codified constitution are legally possible. The answer to this is, undoubtedly, yes. You may think that constitutions ought not to permit these simultaneous existences, but that's your opinion about constitutions. It is not a statement of descriptive constitutional theory.
I'm not prescribing - I'm describing. I'm describing constitutions in their most typical forms, in the democratic world. and, again, I don't know how you're thinking that I'm putting parliamentary sovereignty and simple a "codified" constitution at odds with each other - I, again, said that a constitution which expressed legal procedures for amending such a document (if it is to be expressed as unamendable via simple-majorities in parliament) in restrictive manners would, then, end parliamentary "sovereignty", because sovereignty obviously means all-powerful, and how could a body like parliament be so described with a constitution of such limitations outlined?

You've massively conflated the moral aims of liberalism and the origin of constitutionalism as being within liberalism as meaning that constitutions necessarily are, achieve or aim for the realization of those same moral aims. You need to separate your moral ideology from your descriptive legal ideology. Take a lesson from legal positivism.
legal positivism has nothing to do with what I am suggesting. I am telling you that a parliament with a legally binding restriction upon its on procedures, currently only regulated by convention/tradition, would fail to be sovereign. legal positivism, as a philosophy of describing what the law is, not what it ought to be (essentially.) is not the problem here because I am not suggesting that, via such a philosophy, our parliament currently isn't the absolute determinant of the law (as it can supercede the courts and the executive) - I am not saying what a constitution ought to do - there isn't even a constitution for this country which I am making prescriptions about - I am saying that a constitution for this country, at least if we are suggesting that this constitution has the strength of the constitutions of the vast majority of democratic states, would likely end parliamentary sovereignty, *or else*, there would be pretty much no point at all in making such a legal document, for reasons I have specified previously. we already know the powers/roles of our branches of power. we also know the limits upon he executive and the prerogatives that stem from the absence of such constraints. the only function we would possibly need for our own parliament or executive would be procedural restrictions, like I have said, because this is the only thing that our "unwritten" constitution cannot give us in a reasonable and appropriate form
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sleepysnooze
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by "quote me", I meant since making such qualifications which I assumed you were responding to in the first plae (but I don't even know who's responding to me half the time). I have qualified it since saying that, seeing as people like you started getting unnecessarily knit-picky, confusingly enough

The claim here is that the mere existence of a written constitution would inherently stop parliamentary sovereignty (by which you actually mean supremacy; sovereignty and supremacy are technically different concepts even though they have a nasty habit of being interchanged).
I thought people like you would have the common sense to realise I was referring to constitutional limitations before I had to make massive specifications - do I have to take baby-steps for you here?

A written and codified constitution in no way cannot be trumped by a rule of parliamentary supremacy. An entrenched, either written or unwritten, codified or not, constitution cannot co-exist with parliamentary supremacy.

Your claim was a blanket claim about the nature of constitutions and supremacy. Nowhere was it in any capacity qualified.
does it make you feel better that the only strength of your statement here is that you're being overly specific when I am assuming, like I have already said, that you understand what I mean by a constitution deleting parliamentary sovereignty (unless it's a constitution like finland's which is rare)? well done - your victory is via pointless superficial incredulity. even when most constitutions in democratic nations, and the vast minority not being as such, you still have the audacity to say "not technically", even when we, when I made that statement before my qualifications, was before we even began getting technical enough to make the qualifications I made (e.g. "a codified constitution will normally contain restrictions to power via procedures"

It could specify mechanisms of simple majority. A constitution can contain amendment clauses without overriding parliamentary supremacy.
why are we going around this *again*? we've covered this ground. you're actually saying something I've already said, too.

Codification of the constitution. That's what we're talking about here. A written constitution, when contained in a single document, is called a codified constitution.
pointless and unnecessary given the time/effort required to make it.

Legally, both yes and no. In conventional day-to-day law, Parliament would not have supremacy over those clauses. However, as we know from constitution making processes, they could rupture the constitutional order and create a new constitution. But that's more to do with Parliamentary sovereignty than supremacy.
you're honestly telling me there's now a difference between "sovereignty" and "supremacy"? how do you have time for this unnecessary branching off into obscurities which aren't to do with what we're even discussing?

And yet there are still academics making these arguments and they haven't fallen on deaf ears.
not really - are they an unrepresentative vast minority?

It would specify the body of constitutional law. Do you know all of the constitutional conventions? I certainly don't. And, new ones can just sort of pop up. Codifying the constitution prohibits conventions from simply popping up, by requiring them to be in a written document.
1) I'm not a judge or a lawyer, so, no.
2) not without being noticed - th new parliamentary convention of asking parliament before going to war wasn't unnoticed. it is a convention because at least two governments followed this convention and, thus, set forth a reasonable expectation for parliament that this is how it is going to be from now on. we could make a law saying "the executive must gain the assent and agreement of parliament to make a declaration of war" - obviously, as you are probably aware of, limitations upon the executive/crown don't require a codified constitution. it's just parliament that would require such a document with such restrictions contained within

I haven't suggested anything. I've merely given you current academic arguments.
they don't stand to scrutiny

This argument is question begging. If there is no entrenchment, then legally speaking, there are no 'appropriate bounds of power.' This is a prescriptive moral claim about what constitutions ought to do.
...why would a newly made constitution, like I've previously asked you, not contain *any* entrenchments to parliament, when it's already clear enough what the powers and roles of each branch of state is...? the obvious argument for a codified constitution is based on what our unwritten one doesn't feature - entrenchments, or more specfifically, restrictions upon what parliament can do without following specific procedures (e.g. super majorities or referenda, etc). you can echo your previous statement of clarity (for the sake of a vast minority of academics) but I've already expressed how this is an unnecessary justification.

Nowhere have I stated that I prefer the model of Parliamentary supremacy
yup
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