The book makes a fresh appraisal of the main principles of constitutional law, seeking to stimulate renewed debate about the fundamentals of British constitutionalism. Rejecting a purely fromal concept of the rule of law, Allan argues that public law should more fully and openly reflect the principles of liberty and justice which constitute the underlying point and substance of the rule of law. The connection between law and justice is ultimately secured by the primary role of the individual conscience in making judgements about what the law requires. And just as no court is ever an infallible arbiter of legal obligation - the individual may sometimes have to stand by his own conscientious reading of the law - Parliament cannot be accorded unqualified
authority to change the law. The sovreignty of Parliament is necessarily limited by residual principles of leberal constitutionalism; any other view would contradict the rule of law. Standard comparisons between written and unwritten constitutions, and traditional accounts of the separarion of powers, ovscure more than they reveal. The interpretation and application of statutes must always be a matter of judicial deliberation and judgement, just as the application of government policies and administrative orders is ultimately subject to the requirements of justice in particular cases.
Readership: Constitutional lawyers, legal theorists, political theorists, and political scientists.
T. R. S. Allan, University Lecturer and Fellow, Pembroke College, Cambridge
"Scholarly analysis of the fundamental legal doctrines of the British constitution ... highly contemporary in reflecting sophisticated recent restatements of liberal legal philosophy ... his efforts to tease out the implications for liberal constitutional thought of a wide range of public law doctrines deserves respect." - Times Higher Education Supplement