The Constitution Society

Working to promote informed debate about constitutional reform

The Constitution Society is an independent, non-party educational foundation which works to promote informed debate about constitutional reform. We take no position on specific reform proposals but advocate better legislative standards and oppose ill-considered, piecemeal change.

Latest blog posts

Britain is not a well governed country

By: Stein Ringen

The British constitution was, as recently as in the 1960s, ‘almost universally regarded as well-nigh perfect.’ Since then, however, it has been ‘substantially transformed’ from ‘order’ to ‘mess.’ So according to the late Anthony King, in his The British Constitution, published in 2007. The COVID epidemic has exposed the constitution to its ultimate stress test.… [Read More…]about Britain is not a well governed country

Parliamentary sovereignty or elective dictatorship?

By: Paul Tyler

Rt Hon Lord Tyler CBE, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson, Political and Constitutional Reform  One might have hoped – with Trump’s exit – that his UK protégés might have given up the tricks of the Trump playbook. However, take a look behind the Brexit and Covid headlines of recent weeks and you will get a glimpse of… [Read More…]about Parliamentary sovereignty or elective dictatorship?

NEW INITIATIVE: United Kingdom Constitution Monitoring Group

Andrew Blick
By: Andrew Blick

The Constitution Society is supporting a new initiative: the United Kingdom Constitution Monitoring Group (UKCMG). The UKCMG was formed in 2020 in the light of sustained controversies surrounding arrangements for the governance of the UK. Its principal purpose is to assess developments – actual and anticipated – in the UK constitution. Comprised of a group… [Read More…]about NEW INITIATIVE: United Kingdom Constitution Monitoring Group

How (not) to kill a constitutional convention: Theresa May’s intervention in Syria, April 2018

By: James Strong

Constitutional conventions are tricky creatures. Famously described by AV Dicey (1885) as “the morality of the constitution”, conventions establish non-legal rules of political conduct. They derive, in Ivor Jennings’ (1959) and Geoffrey Marshall’s (1984) classic formulation, from a combination of precedents, reasons and consensus. Alongside laws, practices (which lack consensus), traditions (which lack reasons) and… [Read More…]about How (not) to kill a constitutional convention: Theresa May’s intervention in Syria, April 2018

The Joint Committee on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act: an update

Alex Walker
By: Alex Walker

The Joint Committee on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, which met for the first time on 26 November 2020, has now finished its oral evidence sessions. This blog will attempt to give a brief overview of some the issues that have been investigated by the committee in these sessions, and the key points of contention on… [Read More…]about The Joint Committee on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act: an update

Latest publications

Constitutional reform: Sustaining a viable United Kingdom through the 21st century by Thomas Legg, Stephen Green and Martin Donnelly

This new report from the Policy Reform Group offers the expert analysis of Sir Thomas Legg, Lord Stephen Green, and Sir Martin Donnelly on the constitutional challenges facing the United Kingdom. These highly-experienced, former senior practitioners set out the fundamental reforms they believe are necessary to ensure the effective functioning and continued viability of the… [Read More…]about Constitutional reform: Sustaining a viable United Kingdom through the 21st century by Thomas Legg, Stephen Green and Martin Donnelly

The legal system of England and Wales by Thomas Legg

The legal system is a crucial feature of the UK constitution. It has recently become a subject of controversy. The current government was re-elected in December 2019 on a commitment to inquire into the role of the courts in reviewing the actions of the executive. It has since established an Independent Review of Administrative Law… [Read More…]about The legal system of England and Wales by Thomas Legg

Parliamentary Conventions by Jacqy Sharpe

Conventions play an important role in many aspects of the UK constitution. Covering the period up to the end of 2019, this paper considers the. operation of conventions within the UK Parliament. It concludes that, in recent years, many long-established conventions have been questioned and some indeed may no longer be “accepted and observed” by… [Read More…]about Parliamentary Conventions by Jacqy Sharpe