Op-ed: Constitutions must be living, not dead documents

By Yasser Latif Hamdani, 24 September 2018
photo credit: pixabay
photo credit: pixabay
As the common law evolved, the idea of a constitution of the state gradually emerged as we understand it today. Since Pakistan is a common law country, I will not touch the continental, i.e. mainland European variants. In Common Law, a constitution was not necessarily a written or codified charter but rather a series of fundamental principles as well as judicial precedents around which the administrative law of the state was organised. United Kingdom (UK), the mother of democracies, for example, does not have a codified constitution to this day. Rather, it has a series of documents, including laws, starting with 1215’s Magna Carta. Magna Carta remains the basis of modern constitution-making and fundamental rights 803 years later. This would not have been possible if the Magna Carta would have interpreted according to the peculiar historical context of the power struggle between nobles and King John. Not having a written constitution has allowed a certain privilege to Judges in Britain, especially England and Wales, to define liberally the constitutional precepts according to the times.
Read the full article here: Daily Times


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