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An English(or British) constiution?


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I am sometimes asked by people of other european countries,"why does britain not have a formal written constitution"?

I.E a single document setting out its citizens rights, and obligations.

It seems, that whenever the subject is brought up,i.e that people in the uk,could be offered constitutional reform,and perhaps the chance to have such a document,that everybody throws their arms in the air and has the "eebeejeebies"! :lol:

Just interested to hear peoples opinions, on what i percieve ,as this objection to a british constitution.

cheers dave :thumbs:

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We do have a constitution, however those countries which have had a revolution in the last couple of hundred years tend to have a written one as this sets out peoples rights in an easily accessible form and was often the manifesto on which new governments started life.

 

Ours is a combination of case law, tradition, religeous laws and statute more recently updated by european and international law. The Human Rights Act being one of the more recent additions.

 

We do have quite an effective contistution compared to many who have a written one, the right to vote, the right to fair trials, the controls on holding prisoners, the rights to own land....these are all matters taken for granted in the UK but have needed to be set down in a constitution by others because they were coming out of dictatorship/civil war (spain being a prime example).

 

I'm a great believer in the view of "if it aint broken don't mend it", our constitution is not as accessible as that of other countries, but is probably more comprehensive. In addition the cost of putting all of this into one place will be expensive and leaving the final decision to the government as to what will be in it, as opposed to an indipendant judiciary decising on previous cases and history based examples, is asking for trouble.

phil,

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If I am not mistaken we British do have a a formal written constitution.

Its called the "Magna Carta" written in 1215 :thumbs:

 

Dont know if there is a new version but i suppose that after 800 years there should be :rolleyes:

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It's high time that we had a proper written constitution, but that would probably entail removing the Monarch as the head of state which I am neutral about, and disestablishing the Churches of Scotland and England, which I think would be a god idea. Church and state should be separated as in US of A and France.

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We do have one it's called the Magna Carta and it is what a few countries have based their law syatem and rights on such as America and Australia.

The only difference is there is sod all left of ours now (2 paragraphs I think of the original document still remain law) succesive governments have wittled it away to nothing.

 

How about a written government constitution outlining MP's rights and OBLIGATIONS to citizens.

 

Joe

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We do have one it's called the Magna Carta and it is what a few countries have based their law syatem and rights on such as America and Australia.

The only difference is there is sod all left of ours now (2 paragraphs I think of the original document still remain law) succesive governments have wittled it away to nothing.

 

How about a written government constitution outlining MP's rights and OBLIGATIONS to citizens.

 

Joe

The Magna Carta is not a proper constitution, nor to we have an equivalent of a Supreme Court to protect it.

The problem isn't what people don't know, it's what they know that just ain't so.
Vaut mieux ne rien dire et passer pour un con que de parler et prouver que t'en est un!
Mi, ch’fais toudis à m’mote

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This is all that is left of your precious Magna Carta

 

* I. FIRST, We have granted to God, and by this our present Charter have confirmed, for Us and our Heirs for ever, that the Church of England shall be free, and shall have all her whole Rights and Liberties inviolable. We have granted also, and given to all the Freemen of our Realm, for Us and our Heirs for ever, these Liberties under-written, to have and to hold to them and their Heirs, of Us and our Heirs for ever.

 

* IX. THE City of London shall have all the old Liberties and Customs which it hath been used to have. Moreover We will and grant, that all other Cities, Boroughs, Towns, and the Barons of the Five Ports, and all other Ports, shall have all their Liberties and free Customs.

 

* XXIX. NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.

 

 

Hardly a constitution for the 21st century

The problem isn't what people don't know, it's what they know that just ain't so.
Vaut mieux ne rien dire et passer pour un con que de parler et prouver que t'en est un!
Mi, ch’fais toudis à m’mote

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But doesn't the need for an explicit bill of rights come from the presumption that what is not expressly allowed is forbidden, whereas the presumption in English law is that what is not forbidden is allowed?

 

 

* XXIX. NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.

 

Hmm, I'm not sure that all of that still applies with the provisions for detention without trial or legal representation included in recent anti-terror legislation.

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Guest Brumagem Phil
But doesn't the need for an explicit bill of rights come from the presumption that what is not expressly allowed is forbidden, whereas the presumption in English law is that what is not forbidden is allowed?

Hmm, I'm not sure that all of that still applies with the provisions for detention without trial or legal representation included in recent anti-terror legislation.

 

A policeman has the right to turn you away from an event or location or stop you gathering....all at his discretion.

 

Lots more too.........

 

We have fewer rights and freedoms than we've ever had..............I doubt even a constitution would bail us out of this situation.

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...and disestablishing the Churches of Scotland and England, which I think would be a god idea.

 

If ever there was a more apt typo, I can't recall it :D

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