Distinguish between a codified constitution and an uncodified constitution Watch

Ipso Facto
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#1
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Mod 2 Edexcel Re-Take

This is my answer, but I don't think I have enough content for 15 marks, can anyone think what else to put in, cause there's a lot of waffle!


A codified constitution is essentially one which is set down somewhere in writing. The most common example of this is the American constitution, drafted around 200 years ago, which is written down on a piece of paper and lays down the rights of American citizens and also the powers of her government. An uncodified constitution in simple terms means it is unwritten and therefore comes from a variety of sources. Regarding the UK’s constitution which is an example of an uncodified constitution, these sources include; royal prerogatives, conventions, common law, statute law and famous written works by constitutional experts.

The main difference between the two is the variance in the flexibility of them. While one is rigid and ‘set in stone’, the other is adaptable to circumstances and emergencies that may develop in a country. This allows for changes to be made quickly and appropriately in line with the scale of the problem and a codified constitution can take much longer to amend

As well as this, a codified constitution often states the rights of the country’s citizens so there is a degree of clarity. Whereas an uncodified constitution can lead to some confusion about how far an individual’s rights stretch.

Finally, it can be said that a written constitution keeps a tighter rain on the powers of those in charge and that an uncodified constitution gives much greater freedom and power to leaders. Once again taking the UK again as an example, the position of Prime Minister and their Cabinet are afforded great power by the constitution because they are members of both the Executive and the Legislature. In the USA, there is a clearer separation of powers and the President is only the Executive and his areas of influence are far less far reaching.
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liamb
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It's good but a couple of points:

EU treaties are also a source for the UK constitution.

Also make sure for (almost) any 15 point question you make 3 clear points and explain them. I think this would score about 13/15 (for what my opinion is worth )
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little one
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beginning sentence should be explaining what a constitution is- i know you probably think the rest of my answer already suggests it but the examiner wants you to tell them you understand every bit of the question
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JoshRC
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I have slightly modified yours to show what i would put if i used your points. Although, and i do not want to seem rude, this is not the route i would have taken in answering the question, I also made some technical changes:

A codified constitution is essentially one which is set down somewhere in writing. The most common example of this is the American constitution, brought into effect in 1787, which is written down on a piece of parchment (animal skin) and lays down the rights of American citizens as well as the powers of the government. An uncodified constitution in simple terms means it is unwritten and therefore comes from a variety of sources. Regarding the UK’s constitution which is an example of an uncodified constitution, these sources include; royal prerogatives, conventions, common law, statute law, works of authority such as Bagehot and most commonly the European constitution.

The main difference between the two is the variance in the flexibility of them. While one is rigid and ‘set in stone’, the other is adaptable to circumstances and emergencies that may develop in a country. This allows for changes to be made quickly and appropriately in line with the scale of the problem and a codified constitution can take much longer to amend. This can be seen working well in America where the 2001 twin towers catastrophe allowed Bush to bring emergency powers into effect enabling the swift and appropriate response seen from security forces. Some argue that this infringed people civil right and liberties, but ultimately it led to a safer US.

As well as this, a codified constitution often states the rights of the country’s citizens so there is a degree of clarity. Whereas an uncodified constitution can lead to some confusion about how far an individual’s rights stretch. This led to the Enshrining of the US constitution in the hearts of the American people. Specifically the Bill of Rights, which, when compared with the UK is confused and the people have little knowledge of their rights. This can be seen in the recent ‘prisoners vote’ scandal where the UK constitution and European bill of rights have clashed.

Finally, it can be said that a written constitution keeps a tighter rein on the powers of those in charge and that an uncodified constitution gives much greater freedom and power to leaders. Once again taking the UK again as an example, the position of Prime Minister and their Cabinet are afforded great power by the constitution because they are members of both the Executive and the Legislature. In the USA, there is a clearer separation of powers and the President is only the Executive and his areas of influence are far less far reaching. Although Article 1 section 1 can be seen to have been infringed multiple times as it states ‘all legislative powers herein shall be vested in the legislature’ when in reality signing statement and line item vetoes enable the President to legislate to a radical degree.

In conclusion a Codified and Uncodified constitution can be bent and reinterpreted for the benefit of the government, the better of the two will be the one which lays down best the ways in which fusion of powers is prevented and separation of powers is enforced.

Anyone with anything to change to this please do.
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urgirlmeg
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I think they are both really good however I would however re-frame from using them term 'written', much of the UK's constitution is written. The real term would be that it can not be found in the existence of a 'single document' but rather in a number of other forms.
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Amy99
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What is a good point about the constitution being evolutionary?
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charlottestones
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(Original post by Amy99)
What is a good point about the constitution being evolutionary?
The constitution being evolutionary means that it is flexible and that it can change as time goes on and political ideas change too. However this is mainly only for uncodified constitutions.
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