The Constitution Unit


Press Release: New report finds that codification of the UK's constitution is not essential

19 March 2015


The Constitution Unit is pleased to announce the launch of a new report on codification of the UK's constitution. The report compares the texts of constitutionally relevant statutes in the UK to other countries' constitutional texts. In doing so, it provides three lessons for those involved in the debate over codification (or not) of the UK's constitution:

  1. Much of the UK's constitutional order is already written down in statute form.
  2. The parts of the UK's constitution about the executive, the legislature and the relationship between these two branches of government should be prioritised if the constitution is further codified.
  3. The benefits of codification are mitigated by recent, non-legal texts that codify and consolidate the UK's constitutional order, making further codification more of an optional nicety than a political necessity.

The main conclusion of the report is that, rather than using the state's resources for codifying the constitution, UK lawmakers should focus on initiatives where the benefits are more apparent.

Notes for Editors

  • The Constitution Unit is an independent, non-partisan research centre based in the Department of Political Science at University College London.
  • The report, To Codify or Not to Codify: Lessons from Consolidating the United Kingdom's Constitutional Statutes, is available for download.
  • A blog post summarising the arguments in the report is available here
  • Dr James Melton, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics and lead author of the report is available for interview. Contact j.melton@ucl.ac.uk or ben.webb@ucl.ac.uk.