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The Law of the Constitution has been the main doctrinal influence upon English constitutional thought since the late-nineteenth century. It acquired and long retained extraordinary legal authority, despite fierce criticism and many changes in law and government. By many, it was treated as a canonical text embodying axiomatic principles, or it was simply understood as indeed the law of the constitution; and even by its critics, it was still granted the status of orthodoxy. Basic constitutional principles became commonly conceived in Diceyan terms: parliamentary sovereignty was pure and absolute in being without legal limit; and Dicey's rule of law precluded recognition of an English administrative law and thus retarded its development for decades. Reaffirmed in each new edition of Dicey's canonical text, the constitution itself seemed static.
The Oxford Edition of Dicey provides sources with which to reassess the extraordinary authority and lasting influence of Dicey's canonical text. This volume consists of Dicey's rare first edition in its original lecture form and of the main addenda in later editions. It facilitates a historical understanding of Dicey's original text in its context and of later changes when they were made. In introducing the first volume, J.W.F. Allison reassesses The Law of the Constitution's authority and the kinds of response it has elicited in view of its original educative form and educational context.
A.V. Dicey, former Vinerian Professor of English Law, University of Oxford (1882-1909)
Albert Venn Dicey (1835-1922) was Vinerian Professor of English Law at the University of Oxford and the pre-eminent constitutional lawyer of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution ran to eight editions in his lifetime and remains one of the canonical texts in the history of English constitutional law.
John Allison is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge. He previously taught at the Universities of Chicago, London, and Cape Town and is the author of two books, A Continental Distinction in the Common Law: A Historical andComparative Perspective on English Public Law (OUP 1996) and The English Historical Constitution: Continuity, Change and European Effects (CUP 2007).
Table of Contents
Editor's Introduction Part I: Lectures Introductory to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (First Edition) 1. The True Nature of Constitutional Law 2. The Sovereignty of Parliament 3. Comparison between Parliament and Non-Sovereign Law-Making Bodies 4. Parliamentary Sovereignty and Federalism 5. The Rule of Law: Its Nature 6. The Rule of Law: Its Applications 7. The Rule of Law: Its Applications (2) 8. The Connection between the Law of the Constitution and the Conventions of the Constitution Part II: Addenda in Later Editions of the Law of the Constitution Appendices Dicey's Inaugural Lecture Dicey's Revisionist Article