Is it necessary for a Country to be governed by a Constitution?

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Is it necessary for a Country to be governed by a Constitution? Discuss

Table of Contents 1Introduction 1.1Objectives 2Written and Unwritten Constitutions 2.1Kenya’s Perspective 2.2Criticisms of a Written Constitution 2.3UK’s Outlook on the Unwritten Constitution 3Conclusion 4Bibliography 4.1Primary Sources 4.2Secondary Sources 5Appendix 5.1Images of the Code of Hammurabi 5.2Preamble of Kenya’s Constitution, 2010 5.3Research Techniques

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1 Introduction

Black’s Law dictionary defines the constitution as “the fundamental and organic law of a nation or state that establishes the institutions and apparatus of government, defines the scope of governmental sovereign powers, and guarantees individual civil rights and civil liberties.”[1] Constitutions are classified as written or unwritten, flexible or rigid. Although ancient laws have always been there, the oldest known constitution which best exemplify the modern constitution is the Code of Hammurabi which was first discovered in 1902 but dates back as far as 1758 BC. The stone monument has the penal laws, the law of persons, family law and price lists engraved on it. [2]See Appendix 5.1 on the images of the Code of Hammurabi. The Lancaster House Conferences which were around 1953 to 1979 initiated by the British Empire in preparation for its colonies towards Independence drafted Kenya’s first constitution. Kenya’s Political Parties and the British Parliament drafted Kenya’s first Independent Constitution in 1963. In the 1990’s international pressure for good governance, institutional reforms, economic decay and social breakdown ushered the formation of the Constitution of Kenya Review Act (2002) to spearhead constitutional reforms. In the end, a referendum was done to adopt the current Constitution on the 4th August 2010.[3]

1.1 Objectives

In this research we seek to find out:

  1. The difference between written and unwritten constitutions.
  2. The significance of a constitution to a country’s development.

2 Written and Unwritten Constitutions

Constitutions in general provide a normative framework for governance and they take written or unwritten forms. The constitutional principle is entrenched in three sources: usages and customs of the people; values attributed to relevant textual constitutional sources and principles of international law ratified by the state.[4] A constitution is important in the governance and development of a state as it identifies with the ideals and practices of the people, protects their interests and safeguards their rights. In this section we will look at the different perspectives of a written constitution in Kenya and UK’s unwritten constitution.

2.1 Kenya’s Perspective

As the future legal minds in Kenya, we have the responsibility of interpreting the law to the masses. To answer questions on why the rights of the poor are still infringed despite the constitution’s note on equality and why educational resources, infrastructure and other social amenities are different in urbanised areas compared to rural areas?

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