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The Difference Between British And American Constitution

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One way which both constitutions are similar is both England and USA have laws which are put into place which people are expected to follow. People are aware of the expectations and the consequences if laws are broken. By having rules in place people are kept in control because the laws clearly state what is and is not expected. Laws are created so that people are protected from harm, but they are also created so that the public know that there are rules in place which keep them protected and to stop them from doing wrong and others doing wrong to them. Constitutions ensure that everyone knows the standard of behaviour which is expected. If we lived without following laws our society would be different and this could result in a large amount of destruction and chaos caused to the country. Both England and USA have people in control for example England has a Parliament run by the Prime Minister and America has a president. They ensure that punishments are given to those who break the law meaning that this should cause people to think before they commit the crime and do not follow the rules.

One of the differences with British Constitution and American Constitution is that in Britain the acts are not written, this means that when a law needs to be amended this is not a difficult process. The laws are easier to change when they are not written. However, before any law is changed in America, they have to follow the two point rules and laws are more difficult to amend. This is because the laws in America are considered concreted because of how hard they are to change.

The difference with the UK is that they do not have a constitution which is written in a document, they have not laid out the laws in writing. The British Constitution can be found is Parliament and this is where laws are set out, the Prime Minister will work closely with the Parliament members. Furthermore, Parliament has the authority to change or set aside the judicial decisions with ease as they have the authority to do this and with hindsight this allows us to realise that common law which has now been cemented whereas some of the other acts are. I have used the case of Thoburn v Sunderland City (2002), a list of laws were provided which were believed to have been examples of constitution. These included Bill of Rights 1689, The Human Rights Act 1998 and a few others. A Constitution is still in place in Britain regardless of there not being a document and people are still expected to follow the acts as they have been properly explained. Most acts have also been around for a long time so people are expected to know what some of these are and they should carry out research where possible. A quote which I have taken from Ivor Jennings from ‘The Law and the Constitution (1959) explained that he thought nobody would be aware of The British Constitution if the constitution had to be described as being a document which was written down similar to that which America has. The main reason that I have quoted Ivor is because he has placed emphasis on the fact that The British Constitution does exist despite the fact that they do not have documents which has been mentioned that outline any regulations or rules taken from establishments. Even though physical documents do not exist a constitution has still been made because laws of the land must be followed. A land will struggle if the people did not have laws that they had to follow as there would be disruption and chaos because the people would not know what was right and what was wrong.

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Another case I will be discussing is Entick V Carrington (1765), I have chosen to discuss this case because of the large amount of impact this creates on constitution. This case in particular showed the limits which had been set for the power of the Secretary of State to ensure that warrants could be issued. One of the positives which come from Common Law is that citizens rights are protected which means that the government are made responsible for what they do to the public. The public are then able to understand that rules aren’t made to limit them on what they are and aren’t able to do but are also their to protect them. One of the issues which arise from Common Law is the uncertainty because of how easily the laws can be changed. Discussions have also taken in regards to other acts these include Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, Treason Act 1351 and other types of statutes are also included within this but I have only named a couple.

Conventions is another example that I will be using for the British Constitution. Even though con-ventions play an extremely vital role in the British Constitution, the court are unable to force these upon the public, conventions are known as binding for the people because they ensure the consti-tution is being operated regularly. A convention cannot be made punishable and they do not have to be followed by people. An example on conventions which comes from British Constitution in-clude how the Queen is able to choose who she would like to become the next Prime Minister, however the convention states that a leader of a party will be chosen by the amount of seats that they gain in Parliament. Therefore, the Queen will never decide who she wants solely based on her own opinion but will allow the people in her country to decide who they think would be best. A different example of a convention is that when discussing who has responsibility for Parliament, this would be the minister. When speaking, the minister has to ensure they speak using one tone and they show that they are trustable in keeping conversations private and only sharing when ab-solutely necessary. The minister should not pick sides as he would not want to be considered bi-ased. The case of Carltona Ltd v. Commissioner of Works [1943] 2 ALL ER 560 is an example I have used because this is where conventions where involved. This idea was established from govern-ment department because an agreement for convention occurred between the ministers which were seen as a kind of case law.

The Common Law is an alternative place where constitutional documents can be found, these are described as judicial decisions. These are laws which Parliament would not have passed but the court would have decided. Differing opinions occur when discussing the hierarchy for constitution. The European Communities Act 1972 and the Magna Carta 1215 are seen in one aspect as being laws which are fundamental however can be changed easily, again this is because they aren’t writ-ten down. Case Law can be described as being unpredictable because they can be changed easily meaning that ideas which are constitutional which present themselves are not protected and ordi-nary members of the public would be unable to determine them, however one of the ways this can be done is if they know where to find the information to prove their point. Before they are used the people have to ensure that they have gathered enough evidence to support their point.

After summarising the above, I think that a large amount of the Constitution in Britain can seen to the public as vague because of the way this has been presented and because of the way the acts are available. In one way a constitution can be described as rooted but because of social and politi-cal pressures, which stray from the conventions as well as abolishing or making a change to the Constitutional Statutes, even though many people think that this can be done with ease, in reality this will provide difficult for politicians. This differs from the American system because the Ameri-can Constitution is more strict and if we had the same system that they had this would limit Parlia-ment in what they were able to do with the statutes. One of the reasons why I think the constitu-tion is like this is because this gives flexibility to Parliament. A constitution which is able to change and be changed because it can be moved around with ease and it is not written in a single docu-ment, this does not mean that the power given to Parliament will be limited. This means that un-like the Americans where the laws are harder to amend, Parliament are able to change or amend any of the acts should they need to, the advantages of having a constitution which is not coded means that the Prime minster with parliament are given a lot of flexibility meaning that this will be the same for every Parliament which follows.

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The Difference Between British And American Constitution. (2021, August 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“The Difference Between British And American Constitution.” Edubirdie, 16 Aug. 2021,
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The Difference Between British And American Constitution [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 16 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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