Delegating Rights Protection: The Rise of Bills of Rights in the Westminster World

Hardcover | September 12, 2010

byDavid Erdos

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Delegating Rights Protection explores bill-of-rights outcomes in four "Westminster" countries - Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom - whose development exhibit an interesting combination of both commonality and difference. Comparative analysis of some thirty-six democraciesdemonstrates that the historic absence of a bill of rights in Westminster countries is best explained by, firstly, the absence of a clear political transition and, secondly, their strong British constitutional heritage. Detailed chapters then explore recent and much more diversified developments. Inall the countries, postmaterialist socio-economic change has resulted in a growing emphasis on legal formalization, codified civil liberties, and social equality. Pressure for a bill of rights has therefore increased. Nevertheless, by enhancing judicial power, bills of rights conflict with the primafacie positional interests of the political elite. Given this, change in this area has also required a political trigger which provides an immediate rationale for change. Alongside social forces, the nature of this trigger determines the strength and substance of the bill of rights enacted. Thestatutory Canadian Bill of Rights Act (1960), New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (1990), and the Human Rights Act (UK) (1998) were prompted politically by a relatively weak and backward-looking 'aversive' reaction against perceived abuses of power under the previous administration. Meanwhile, the fullyconstitutional Canadian Charter (1982) had its political origins in a stronger, more self-interested and prospective need to find a new unifying institution to counter the destabilizing, centripetal power of the Quebecois nationalist movement. Finally, the absence of any relevant political triggerexplains the failure of national bill of rights initiatives in Australia. The conclusionary section of the book argues that this Postmaterialist Trigger Thesis (PTT) explanation of change can also explain the origins of bills of rights in other internally stable, advanced democracies, notably theIsraeli Basic Laws on human rights (1992).

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Delegating Rights Protection explores bill-of-rights outcomes in four "Westminster" countries - Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom - whose development exhibit an interesting combination of both commonality and difference. Comparative analysis of some thirty-six democraciesdemonstrates that the historic absence of a...

David Erdos is Katzenbach Research Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and Balliol College, University of Oxford. Having read PPE at Merton College, Oxford followed by a PhD in the Politics Department of Princeton University, he has a scholarly background in the social and political sciences. Increasingly, his work has engage...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:September 12, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199557764

ISBN - 13:9780199557769

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Table of Contents

PrefaceList of ChartsList of TablesList of AbbreviationsPart I: Foundations1. Introduction2. The Origins of Bill of Rights: Concepts and Comparative Development3. Theorizing the Origins of Bills of RightsPart II: Westminster Case Studies4. Canada and the Canadian Bill of Rights Act (1960)5. Canada and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982)6. New Zealand and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (1990)7. United Kingdom and the Human Rights Act (1998)8. Australia and the Failure of National Bill of Rights GenesisPart III: Conclusions9. Postmaterialist Forces and Political TriggersAppendix One: Rights Protected in Government-sponsored Bills of Rights Enacted or Proposed in Westminster DemocraciesAppendix Two: Bill of Rights Institutionalization: Constructing the ScoresAppendix Three: Bill of Rights Institutionalization in Select Democracies: Variable and Sub-variable ScoresBibliographyIndex