The Constitution of Great Britain, which has a number of characteristic features, is a unique phenomenon in the modern world.
The first feature is its historicalcharacter: as a combination of legislative norms, precedents and customs that determine the structure and powers of government bodies, the nature of the relationship between the state and citizens of the country, the Constitution of Britain developed gradually.
The second distinctive feature of the British BasicThe law is its flexibility. To revise any constitutional norms, it is not necessary to go through a complex and lengthy procedure of modification (supplementation) practiced in other countries. The flexibility of the constitution does not at all mean its instability. The well-known British conservatism acts as a guarantee of stability of the Basic Law of the country.
Another feature is thatA single act with the title "Constitution of Great Britain" does not exist. In this sense, it is unwritten. The written, that is, fixed on paper, part of the British Constitution includes various legislative acts aimed at regulating matters of a constitutional nature.
The Constitution of Great Britain has three components:
- statute law;
- common (case law);
- constitutional agreements.
Establish the exact number of sources of law thatincludes the Constitution of Great Britain, is not possible due to the lack of criteria by which one or another source should be attributed to one part of the document.
The source of statutory law are acts,adopted in accordance with the procedure of the parliament and sanctioned by the head of state (statutes), as well as acts adopted by other public authorities on the basis of rights delegated by the supreme legislative body (acts of delegated legislation). Most of the acts of a constitutional nature were adopted at different times by the British Parliament. The structure of statutory law consists of normative acts that are in force to this day:
- legal acts adopted several centuries ago (Magna Carta, Bill of Rights, etc.);
- laws passed in the last century (Laws on Parliament, Law on the House of Commons, Laws on Ministers of the Crown, etc.).
Common law in the UK is created by the courts. Judges, guided by the principle of "strictly adhere to the previously resolved" (stare decisis), apply precedents to the specific circumstances and facts of each case. Thus, the sources of common law are judicial precedents - norms and principles that were formulated in specific cases. As a rule, they are decisions of the so-called high courts on constitutional issues. Judicial precedents are used to regulate some of the rights of citizens, as well as matters relating to the privileges of the crown.
Constitutional agreements (they are also calledconstitutional conventions, convention norms) are part of political practice when political forces establish rules or enter into agreements that become norms.
The legal sources of the British Basic Law also include the published opinions of authoritative scholars on legal issues, that is, doctrinal sources.