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Charles Sampford, Jennie Louise, Sophie Blencowe, and Tom Round

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198252986

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198252986.001.0001

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Arguments against retrospective laws

Arguments against retrospective laws

(p.65) 3 Arguments against retrospective laws

Charles Sampford

Oxford University Press

The chapter outlines usual debate topics pertaining to retrospective law. These arguments come in four major divisions: first is the assertion that retrospective rules are not laws at all; second is the allegation that this type of legislation is undemocratic; third is the declaration that retrospective rules are against the human rights; and lastly, the statement that such kind of legislation does not comply with the Rule of Law, which undermines its foundation’s validity. After reviewing all of these, it is insisted that the first claim is irrational, and among the four, the second declaration has some limitations since it only operates subsequent to specific conditions. To become believable, the third contention should cite examples where the expectations of people about the current laws are not met. Considered to be the most convincing stance, the fourth one generally suggests a prospective law making process.

Keywords:   retrospective law, arguments, democracy, human rights, Rule of Law, prospective law making

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