The Sovereignty of Law: Freedom, Constitution, and Common Law

Paperback | July 18, 2015

byT.R.S. Allan

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In The Sovereignty of Law, Trevor Allan presents an accessible introduction to his influential common law constitutional theory - an account of the unwritten constitution as a complex articulation of legal and moral principles. The British constitution is conceived as a coherent set offundamental principles of the rule of law, legislative supremacy, and separation of powers. These principles combine to provide an overarching unity of legality, legitimacy, and democracy, reconciling political authority with individual freedom.Drawing on the work of Lon Fuller and Ronald Dworkin, Allan emphasizes the normative character of legal interpretation - understanding the implications of statute and precedent by reference to moral ideals of legality and liberty. Allan denies that constitutional law can be reduced to empiricalfacts about legislative or judicial conduct or opinion. There is no "rule of recognition" from the lawyer's interpretative viewpoint - only a moral theory of the nature and limits of political authority, which lawyers must construct in order to make sense of legal and constitutional practice. Agenuine republicanism, protecting individual independence, requires the safeguards afforded by judicial review, which must ensure that governmental action is consistent with the rule of law; and the rule of law encompasses not merely the formal equality of all before the law, as enacted or declared,but a more fundamental idea of equal citizenship. Allan's interpretative approach is applied to a wide range of contemporary issues of public law; his response to critics and commentators seeks to deepen the argument by exploring the theoretical grounds of these current debates andcontroversies.

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In The Sovereignty of Law, Trevor Allan presents an accessible introduction to his influential common law constitutional theory - an account of the unwritten constitution as a complex articulation of legal and moral principles. The British constitution is conceived as a coherent set offundamental principles of the rule of law, legislat...

Trevor Allan has taught public law and legal philosophy at the University of Cambridge since 1985. He is a leading proponent of the approach to public law known as common law constitutionalism, which identifies the foundations of the British and other Commonwealth constitutions with fundamental principles of legality and freedom, unde...

other books by T.R.S. Allan

Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.76 inPublished:July 18, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019968507X

ISBN - 13:9780199685073

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Constitution and Constitutionalism2. Constitutional Convention: Practice and Principle3. The Rule of Law: Freedom, Law and Justice4. Parliamentary Sovereignty: Authority and Autonomy5. Legislative Supremacy and the Rule of Law6. Constitutional Foundations of Judicial Review7. Judicial Review and Judicial Restraint8. Democracy, Fundamental Rights and Common LawAppendix: Public Law and Political Theory

Editorial Reviews

". . . Allan has here captured the zeitgeist-his is a book capable of rationalising two decades of constitutional development in a fashion likely, in turn, to influence public law's evolution in years to come. Notable in this regard is his continued allegiance to common law constitutionalismand concomitant insistence that the Human Rights Act 1998 merely augments the values of the common law. As such, the book's methodological prescription applies even more clearly (and more urgently) if that statutory surface is swept away and the common law left to speak for itself." --Paul Scott, Law Quarterly Review