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The Constitution Society

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Constitution Society
TypeThink Tank
  • Top Floor, 61 Petty France, London, SW1H 9EU

The Constitution Society is an independent, non-party educational trust based near Westminster, England. It was established in 2009 to promote public understanding of the British Constitution and to work to encourage informed debate between legislators, academics and the public about proposals for constitutional change. The Constitution Society does not take any position on the merits of specific reform proposals, and neither endorses nor opposes the introduction of a written constitution.

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The Constitution Society was founded in 2009 by Nat le Roux. It has since grown rapidly in interest and membership, and in 2017 Sir Malcolm Jack was appointed as the first President of the Constitution Society.


Though neutral about substantive constitutional issues, the Constitution Society strongly supports due process and good government and believes that constitutional change should only be introduced to address genuine deficiencies, and only after careful analysis and broad consultation.


Notable publications

In June 2017, the Constitution Society wrote a publication entitled "Sir Thomas Legg on Government and the Rule of Law: Reflections on a Career at the Frontier"[1] This publication is a text from a talk given by Sir Thomas Legg on Tuesday 9 May 2017, for History & Policy at King's College London about his career at the judiciary, the executive and Parliament.

In light of the recent political developments relating to Brexit, the Constitution Society released a "Brexit & the UK Constitution - 2016/17 year in review"[2] This helpfully summarised key Constitution Society publications topical to current events.

In May 2017, the Constitution Society wrote a publication entitled "Entrenchment in the UK: A written constitution by default?"[3] This publication is about how the UK's unwritten constitution has changed since 1997.

Following on from the popular hypothetical paper, ‘Brexit: The Immediate Legal Consequences’, in April 2017, the Constitution Society published "Preparing for Brexit: The Legislative Options"[4] This sought to examine the government's aim to preserve EU law after Brexit.

In February 2017, the Constitution Society wrote a paper entitled "Referendums and the Constitution"[5] This paper focuses on the constitutional consequences of referenda in the UK.

In time with a new British Prime Minister taking office, in July 2016 the Constitution Society published a paper entitled "The Power of the Prime Minister 50 Years on"[6] This was an update on his past paper on the same topic, but published in 1965. Later that month, the Constitution Society wrote a paper entitled 'Talking to the Guardians' "The Constitutional Role of the House of Lords"[7] This paper is a commentary on the changing role of the House of Lords in the Constitution of the UK.

In July 2016, the Constitution Society wrote a paper entitled "Using the Prerogative for Major Constitutional Change: The United Kingdom Constitution and Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union"[8] This paper discusses the process of giving constitutional as well as legal effect to the UK's vote to leave the European Union.

In July 2016, the Constitution Society published a commentary entitled "The EU referendum and some paradoxes of democratic legitimacy", which was republished both on the Constitution Unit blog[9] and on the LSE "British Politics and Policy" blog.[10] This paper is a commentary on the constitutional problem that arises when Parliament and the electorate hold opposite views on a major national issue.

In June 2016, the Constitution Society wrote a paper entitled "Financial Privilege: The Undoubted and Sole Right of the House of Commons?"[11] This paper examines the historical origin of the Commons’ privilege, consider the provisions of the Parliament Acts and how they apply to the passage of financial bills between the Houses before turning to the subject of statutory instruments and the Executive's increasing reliance on them as a means of legislating.

In May 2016, the Constitution Society published a paper entitled "Brexit: The Immediate Legal Consequences",[12] written by Richard Gordon Q.C. and Rowena Moffatt. The report has been referenced by the UK Human Rights Blog,[13] which is edited by 1 Crown Office Row barristers' chambers. This paper focuses on the legal consequences of the UK's vote to leave the European Union and the leave vote's impact on citizenship rights.

In June 2012, the Constitution Society published a report entitled “Select Committees and Coercive Powers – Clarity or Confusion”[14] written by Richard Gordon Q.C. and Amy Street. This report analyses the extent to which select committees of the UK Parliament hold power. The report has been referenced by the Clerk of the Commons, Robert Rogers, in a Liaison Committee paper entitled “Select Committee Powers and Effectiveness”,[15] and by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls in a parliamentary debate on the Libor scandal.[16][17]

Select Committee evidence submissions

The Constitution Society's has submitted evidence to the House of Commons Liaison Committee's inquiry into "Select Committee Powers and Effectiveness",[18][19] the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution's inquiry into the "Process of Constitutional Change",[20][21] and the Commission on a Bill of Rights for the UK.[22][23]

More recently the Constitution Society has submitted evidence to multiple inquiries by the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee including; "Do we need a constitutional convention for the UK,"[24][25] "Ensuring standards in the quality of legislation,"[26][27] "Mapping the path to codifying - or not codifying - the UK's Constitution"[28][29] and "Prospects for codifying the relationship between central and local government".[30][31] Written evidence submitted by the Constitution Society to the Political and Constitution Select Committee and published research subsequently used to support successful amendments tabled in the House of Lords.[32]

The Constitution Society has submitted evidence to many Parliamentary Select Committee Committee inquiries and published a number of independent research papers on matters of constitutional importance.

External links

The Constitution Society provides administrative assistance to the Better Government Initiative, and to the African Commercial Law Foundation.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Professor Richard Gordon QC and Tom Pascoe (2017) 'Preparing for Brexit & The Great Repeal Bill: The Legislative Options', The Constitution Society,
  5. ^ Dr Andrew Blick and Lucy Atkinson (2017), 'Referendums and the Constitution', The Constitution Society,
  6. ^ Dr George Jones (2016) 'The Power of the Prime Minister 50 Years on', The Constitution Society
  7. ^ Lucy Atkinson (2016) 'Talking to the Guardians' The Constitutional Role of the House of Lords, The Constitution Society,
  8. ^ Dr Andrew Blick and Professor Richard Gordon QC (2017) 'Using the Prerogative for Major Constitutional Change: The United Kingdom Constitution and Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, The Constitution Society,
  9. ^ Unit, The Constitution (2016-07-22). "The EU referendum and some paradoxes of democratic legitimacy". The Constitution Unit Blog. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  10. ^ "The EU referendum and some paradoxes of democratic legitimacy". British Politics and Policy at LSE. 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  11. ^ Richard Reid and Sir Malcolm Jack (2016) 'Financial Privilege: The Undoubted and Sole Right of the House of Commons', The Constitution Society
  12. ^ "Brexit: The Immediate Legal Consequences" (PDF).
  13. ^ English, Rosalind (2016-07-05). "Get out the back, Jack? make a new plan, Stan?". UK Human Rights Blog. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Clerk of the Commons hails our select committees report | The Constitution Society: Working to promote informed debate about constitutional reform". Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  16. ^ "Footage of Shadow Chancellor referring to our report in Parliament | The Constitution Society: Working to promote informed debate about constitutional reform". Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  17. ^ "Ed Balls references our "very important" Power of Select Committees Report amidst Libor scandal | The Constitution Society: Working to promote informed debate about constitutional reform". Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Select committee effectiveness, resources and powers - UK Parliament". Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Constitutional Reform Process - UK Parliament". Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Commission on a Bill of Rights". Archived from the original on 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Do we need a constitutional convention for the UK? - UK Parliament". Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Ensuring standards in the quality of legislation - UK Parliament". Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Mapping the path to codifying - or not codifying - the UK's Constitution - UK Parliament". Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Prospects for codifying the relationship between central and local government - UK Parliament". Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  32. ^ The Lord Rooker (6 December 2010). "Evidence to the Lords Committee on the Parliamentary Voting systems and Constituencies Bill, citing research by The Constitution Society". Lords Hansard. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
This page was last edited on 30 September 2019, at 12:27
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