ConstitutionUK - Crowdsourcing the UK Constitution

About Constitution UK

Constitution UK is a two year project initiated by the Institute of Public Affairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  It is a public engagement exercise with one purpose: to crowdsource a written and codified constitution for the UK.

The UK has a constitution but it is uncodified. That means you cannot find the UK constitution in one single document like you can in many other countries such as the United States. The UK Constitution is made up of a number of sources:

  • Statutes (laws passed by Parliament)
  • Conventions (unwritten practices which have developed over time)
  • Common law (law developed by the courts and judges through cases)
  • Membership of the European Union means that European law has an impact on the British Constitution. The UK is also subject to international law

With the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in June 2015, we wanted to give the public the opportunity to have their say on what should be in a modern day UK constitution. This project is not driven by political party interests, nor is it a project for academics. This is a project for the people and the end result - a written constitution - will be written by the people.

 

The project has been split into two phases.

Phase I

Phase I of the project launched Tuesday 8th October 2013 with an event at LSE with David Blunkett MP, Richard Gordon QC, Carol Harlow, Emeritus Professor of law at LSE, Dr Lea Ypi, Lecturer in Political Theory, LSE. We then embarked on a series of live events such as travelling to Derby to hear what single mothers had to say about human security and whether it should be in the constitution. We then went to talk to students in Strathclyde where we asked them about the equality of esteem. We asked the public to send us their ideas and contribute to the Constitution UK blog. Phase I ended in June 2014 with a Constitutional carnival held at LSE.

For more information on phase I please visit our Constitution UK blog

 

Phase II

We launched phase II of the project on Thursday 15th January with an event at LSE. At the launch we announced the new crowdsourcing platform at www.constitutionuk.com where we asked the public to give us their ideas, comments and vote up or down the ideas of others. We decided to ask the public to give us their thoughts on ten challenge topics - Head of State, The government, Parliament, Devolution, Local Government, Elections, International Relations, Rights and duties, Values and The Judiciary

The most popular ideas, as voted by the crowd, will move to the refining stage where we will ask the public to refine them before the constitutional convention.

 

The top 30 participants on the leaderboard will be invited to represent the crowd at Constitution UK's Constitutional Convention in London in April. These will be the Community Champions sourced from the crowd and Constitution UK will pay for their travel expenses (within the UK for up to £100) to London. They will take part in the process of putting together the written codified constitution that will be presented to Members of Parliament. To make sure you're one of those 30 you need to participate!

 

Funding

This project is funded by the Government's Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) from the Higher Education Funding Council (hefce). The Government is keen to see universities exchange knowledge and have an impact on the general public more than just simply the university sector.  The purpose of the funding is to provide support and develop a broad range of knowledge-based interactions between universities and colleges and the wider world, which result in economic and social benefit to the UK.

 

Why should I be interested?

A constitution indicates how we are governed, where power lies and how those that we entrust with that power are held accountable. It indicates your human rights and protects your fundamental rights in a democratic country. You have an opinion. Take this opportunity to state your opinions and debate with other members of the public across the country.  Don’t let your constitution be designed by university academics and politicians who say they know what’s best for you. Join the debate!

 

For more information

The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) Director, Professor Conor Gearty is the public face of this project. In addition to his role as director of the Institute of Public Affairs, he is a Professor of Human Rights law in LSE's law department. For more information see his IPA biography and Law biography

To contact the Constitution UK project team please email ipa.constitutionuk@lse.ac.uk

Conclusion

After a successful Constitutional convention on 22nd April 2015 with Constitutional Champions and others, a draft constitution was put together using all the crowdsourced data that received a positive vote. The draft was then put out as a whole to the community to be voted on. On the 15th May the online engagement element of this project drew to a close. This website will remain in an archived state and will be read only. For more information about the videos and the journey of Constitution UK from start to finish, video content and its findings, please visit http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/constitutionuk/  where you will be able to access the final draft of the crowdsourced constitution.

To contact the host of Constitution UK for any information regarding this project from August 2015, please contact The Institute of Public Affairs at ipa@lse.ac.uk

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