Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution

By Trisha Tewari|Updated : February 3rd, 2023

The salient difference between written and unwritten constitution is that the written constitution has all the rules and provisions in encrypted and documented form, whereas an unwritten constitution it is not drafted in a structured way. Constitution is the embodiment of the doctrines and principles of the country on the basis of which the rules are executed and lead to efficient governance. Another remarkable difference between written and unwritten constitution is that in written constitution, it embodies and possesses the supreme power, while in countries that have an unwritten constitution, the parliament possesses the supreme powers.

Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution PDF

A remarkable example of the written constitution is the Indian constitution, which has encrypted and coded provisions efficiently. The written constitution handovers the high responsibility to the judiciary to protect the fundamentals of the constitution. An exceptional example of the unwritten constitution is the Magna Carter. King John signed the convention of rights in England. The article describes the types of constitution, their meaning, significance and the difference between written and unwritten constitution.

Table of Content

Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution

Both types of constitutions have their own importance. It is said that the written constitution is the country’s supreme law. Whereas the unwritten constitution is referred to as the set of customs, rules, and traditions.

Here is the table illustrating the difference between written and unwritten constitutions. Acknowledging the differences will also lead the aspirants to get well-versed in the concept of written and unwritten constitution.

Written vs Unwritten Constitution

Difference Between Written And Unwritten Constitution

Written Constitution

Unwritten Constitution

The constitution has supreme rights over the state and national affairs.

The parliament has supreme rights.

Cohesive in nature and can be referred to when in doubt.

It is unstructured.

The Constitution of San Marino is the world's oldest written constitution.

Magna Carta is the oldest unwritten constitution.

Ideal for democracy

Ideal for Monarchy

Brazil, Australia, India, France, and the USA are some countries with a well-drafted written constitution.

Unwritten Constitution countries include the UK, New Zealand, and Israel.

Written and Unwritten Constitution

A Constitution is a system of statutes and declarations that form a country's management basis. There are two types of constitutions - Written and Unwritten Constitution. An example of Written Constitution is the Indian constitution, while an example of Unwritten Constitution is the Magna Carter. Read further to know what is Written Constitution and Unwritten Constitution.

What is Written Constitution?

The written constitution is a well-drafted and documented structure mentioning the rights, provisions and doctrines of the country. It possesses the supreme power in the nation, and the judiciary possesses more authority to ensure the supremacy of the constitution. The United States Of America possesses the oldest written constitution.

Constitution of India - An Example of Written Constitution

The Indian Constitution is a powerful historical legacy of India's freedom struggle. As a nation of diverse cultures, India is one of the few countries with a written constitution. This document is one of the world's most important and revered constitutions.

  • Free speech is one of the most important areas of any constitution, and India is no different.
  • The Indian Constitution not only protects the freedom of speech in the media but also gives people the right to protest in public, speak out against the government, and criticize other people and groups.

Features of Indian Constitution

The Constitution provides religious freedom for all the citizens of India, regardless of their caste, creed, or gender. It also guarantees equal opportunities and equal rights for everyone. Check out the facts of the Indian Constitution as enlisted here.

  • It was drafted by the Constituent Assembly, a specially elected body of representatives elected from the provinces of British India.
  • The Constituent Assembly adopted it in New Delhi on November 26, 1949, and it went into effect on January 26, 1950.
  • In three phases, the Constituent Assembly worked on the Constitution for nearly three years.
  • The Constitution of India is uncodified or partly codified.
  • It is the longest-written constitution of any sovereign country in the world.
  • It has been amended by the Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978, which inserted two Articles, namely Article 31C and Article 31D, in the Constitution.
  • The Constitution of India has several provisions with regard to the Fundamental Rights, the Directive Principles of State Policy, and the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

What is Unwritten Constitution?

An unwritten constitution is considered to be adopted when the fundamental principles of a constitution are developed through customs and conventions. However, it has not been formally enacted as a written document. It is also referred to as a deep Constitution or living Constitution.

Conclusion:

Key Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution

The key Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution is that Written Constitution has been appropriately formulated and assembled in a step-by-step manner, whereas an Unwritten Constitution develops over an extended time with a new collection of rules.

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FAQs On Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution

  • The main difference between written and unwritten constitution, the written constitution possesses supreme rights and is cohesive in nature, while in countries possessing unwritten constitutions, the parliament has supreme rights.

    • The written constitution has well formulated and documented format of the country's laws and provisions.
    • The unwritten constitution is not coded and documented.
  • The written constitution has the major provisions and laws encrypted and coded in written format. The Indian constitution is a remarkable example of a written constitution.

    • The unwritten constitution does not have documented or well-structured provisions of the country in the written format.
    • It is considered ideal for the country.
    • The Magna Carta is the oldest unwritten constitution.
  • The key difference between written and unwritten Constitution is that in the countries having written Constitutions, the judiciary has maximized powers. In countries possessing an unwritten Constitution, the judiciary has limited powers.

    The written constitution is considered ideal for democracy, while the unwritten constitution is considered ideal for monarchy.

  • The United Kingdom (UK) is the country with the oldest written constitution in the world. It is referred to as the Constitution of the United Kingdom and was adopted in 1947.

    • It has undergone several changes throughout its history, and the current one is the basic law of the land.
    • The United Kingdom's Constitution covers the UK's political and legal structures.
    • It establishes the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary.
    • The document also describes the rights of the citizens and the relationship between the government and the nations of the UK.
  • The United Kingdom's Constitution is very old and was established during the enlightenment. The nation has been adopting some of the laws and principles of the Constitution since it was written.

    • The UK's Constitution and law-making quickly influenced many countries.
    • It should be known that some countries still follow the United Kingdom's Constitution, especially the former British colonies.
    • Some countries that adopted the UK's Constitution were Australia, Canada, India, and New Zealand.
  • The difference between written and unwritten constitution examples is as follows:

    • Brazil, Australia, India, France, and the USA are examples of a written constitution.
    • Ireland, New Zealand, and Myanmar are examples of an unwritten constitution.
  • The Canadian Constitution is the longest continuously operating constitution in the world. It was formally enacted on April 17, 1982, and is the supreme law of Canada.

    • It consists of written text and unwritten traditions, so no one knows the exact length of its constitution.
    • The constitution's preamble is three times the length of the Constitution itself; its preamble is 1,026 words long, while the Constitution is only 1,869 words long.

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