Subnational Constitutionalism in the United Kingdom: Constitutional Statutes Within the Context of an Uncodified Constitution

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‘[F]ederalism provisions of constitutions are often peculiarly the product of political compromise in historically situated moments, generally designed as a practical rather than a principled accommodation of competing interests.’ This is even more so in the case of states like the UK, which have not adopted a fully federal model but have opted for a system of asymmetrical devolution. The pragmatic constitutional solutions that characterize the UK system represent an attempt to reconcile calls for regional autonomy with a desire to retain the borders of the metropolitan state and the effectiveness of the central government. In order to find the balance between those aims, the UK constitutional order has used the instrument of (sub-)constitutional documents to allow for some ‘site-specific’ decentralization/devolution. Each and every one of the UK devolution acts is a by-product of the very different set of political and historical conditions that led to its adoption. At the same time, those statutes can be also read as an attempt to accommodate the different aspirations of their regions. The chapter offers a concise analysis of the status of those constitutional statutes within the context of the UK's uncodified and idiosyncratic constitution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Subnational Constitutions and Constitutionalism
EditorsPatricia Popelier, Giacomo Delledonne, Nicholas Aroney
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9780367510152
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2021

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