Codified vs Uncodified Constitutions

Codified vs Uncodified Constitutions

Codified Constitutions

  • A codified constitution is a single document which sets out the laws, rules and principles on how a state is governed.
  • Found in majority of democratic countries like the US, Germany and France.
  • It includes details about the powers and duties of different institutions within the government and establishes the rights of citizens.
  • Usually entrenched, meaning they have a special procedure for amendment that is more difficult than regular laws.
  • This type of constitution provides clarity, consistency, and scrutiny as it can be interpreted by the judiciary resulting in a higher law.

Uncodified Constitutions

  • An uncodified constitution consists of both written sources, such as statutes and agreements, and unwritten conventions and traditions.
  • Found in few countries, most notably the UK, New Zealand, and Israel.
  • It is evolutionary, adapting over time and is flexible as it can change with a simple majority in legislature.
  • This type of constitution can be seen as more organic and responsive to societal changes, reducing potential conflict between political entities.
  • However, it may also lead to uncertainties, inconsistencies and concentrated power in the legislature.

Understanding the distinction between codified and uncodified constitutions is crucial for comprehending the broader context of constitutional law, rights of the citizens and authority of governing bodies.