Resilience of the Constitutional Phenomena to Social Threats (the United Kingdom case)



  • Svetlana Kodaneva Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Department of Jurisprudence, Moscow, Russia


Brexit, parliamentary sovereignty, sovereignty of people,, common law constitutionalism, devolution


A noticeable trend in constitutional law in recent years has been a broad interpretation that allows referring to the subject of constitutional law, in addition to the provisions enshrined in the written constitution, also the sources of international and common law. This article is focused on the analysis of the risks arising from the recognition of constitutional principles formulated in various unwritten sources, such as traditions, doctrine and judicial interpretation. For this purpose, the experience of the United Kingdom is studied, a country that does not have a written constitution, and the legal system of which is based on constitutional principles enshrined in those various sources. At the same time, the Brexit process has become a clear example of a destabilising situation that has revealed internal conflicts and contradictions of the constitutional principles. The political processes, that accompanied the Brexit process and resulted in a constitutional crisis both at the horizontal (between the parliament and executive branch) and vertical (between the centre and regions) levels, are analysed. Based on the conducted study, it was concluded that the attribution to constitutional principles arising from international law and judicial practice is erroneous and is a dangerous phenomenon for the constitutional law. Consequently, a deep research into the nature of such ‘quasi-principles’ is required, revealing their place in the legal system of Russia, taking into account the hierarchy of principles, in which the principles arising from unwritten sources and international law should not be placed on the same level with constitutional principles directly enshrined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation.