Is Lord Neuberger right to suggest that the UK “has no constitution”?

Public Law for Everyone

Lord Neuberger, the President of the UK Supreme Court, gave an erudite and thoughtful lecture on the subject of “The British and Europe” last night. Delivering the inaugural Freshfields Annual Law Lecture in the Cambridge Faculty of Law, Neuberger sought to situate the present debate about Britain’s relationship with Europe in its historical, political and legal context. I will make no attempt to summarize what he said; the full text of the lecture can be accessed via the Supreme Court’s website. Suffice to say that the general thrust of the argument was that British attitudes to matters European are attributable to a form of exceptionalism that may be built upon myth as much as reality. For instance, said Neuberger, “[T]he idea that English law developed as a self-contained system is quite misconceived.” It followed, he suggested, that concerns about European law constituting an alien influence placing the pristine integrity…

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