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The Sovereignty of Law Freedom, Constitution and Common Law,9780199685066
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The Sovereignty of Law Freedom, Constitution and Common Law



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Oxford University Press
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This is the edition with a publication date of 9/15/2013.
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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 of fundamental 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 empirical facts 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. A genuine 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 and controversies.

Author Biography

T.R.S. Allan, Professor of Jurisprudence and Public Law, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge

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, underpinning and informing the common law. He is a persistent and incisive critic of approaches to public law rooted in legal positivism, which locate constitutional foundations in the conventions observed (or opinions held) by senior officials. He is the author of Law, Liberty, and Justice (1993) and Constitutional Justice (2001).

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