Constitution is a statement which lays down a country’s basic laws or principles. They are regarding its governance and describing the rights and duties of the citizens. Majority of the countries have a codified constitution which means that it is written down in a single document. However, there is a common misconception that some nations in the world do not have a constitution or that it is unwritten. In fact, these countries have an uncodified constitution, where it is written down across multiple documents. Some of the countries in the world that can be considered to have an uncodified constitution are:
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is located in Europe and is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. In the United Kingdom the constitution has evolved over a period of many centuries, rather than being drafted in a prescribed time. The country has an unwritten constitution which has been formed of conventions, Acts of Parliament and court judgments. The British constitution defines the relationships between the state and the individual. It also concerns the working of the executive, judiciary and the legislature. The constitution of the country has been drawn from four sources and they are; common laws, state laws, works of authority and parliamentary conventions. The country’s rule of law does not differentiate between citizens. According to it, everyone is equal before the law, and this also includes those in a position of power.
Canada, which is located in North America, is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is the head of state. Canada is unique as it is among the world’s oldest constitutional democracies. The constitution is a blend of uncodified traditions, conventions and codified acts. It outlines the civil rights of the citizens as well as those living in the country and also the system of government. As per the preamble, constitution is to be “similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom”. The sources of the unwritten constitutional law are royal prerogative by the Crown, constitutional conventions and unwritten principles.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy and is located in the Middle East. In its history, the country has never had a written constitution. The Quran, Islam’s religious text, was declared the constitution of the country by King Faisal in 1960. The Basic Law, which was adopted in 1992 by a royal decree, declares that the king must comply with Sharia. It further states that the Sunna and Sharia are the constitution of the country.
Israel does not have a codified constitution because of differences in the Knesset. This is despite the fact that it was promised in the declaration of independence that the country would get a constitution by October 2, 1948. However, the country has enacted many basic laws in accordance with the Harari Decision of June 30, 1950 and was adopted by the Israeli Constituent Assembly. These laws concern the arrangements of the government with human rights.
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is the head of state. The constitution, which is uncodified, is a set of laws and principles and defines the relationship between the state and individual. The country relies on many documents such as court decisions, Constitution Act of 1986 and Acts of Parliaments.