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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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Justifications for retrospective law

Justifications for retrospective law

(p.229) 6 Justifications for retrospective law

Charles Sampford

Oxford University Press

Two apparent things have emerged in the course of discussing retrospective law making, including the idea that this kind of legislation is widely acceptable and implemented and that, it is a manifestation of an ultimate contradiction against the detrimental notion about retrospectivity. Given the existence of prospective legislation, retroactivity still occupies a significant position in the courts of many nationalities. After such establishment, the next concern is about the determination on when retrospective law is validated. For absolutist critiques, the most convincing justification is to view retrospectivity as a ‘necessary evil’ especially under unusual conditions. Others contest that proper utilization of the concept lead to the endorsement and the realization of values put forward by the legal system. Thus, it is just right to claim that retrospectivity is an innate and a crucial component of a well-organized and a fully established community that operates under the Rule of Law.

Keywords:   retrospective law making, retrospectivity, prospective legislation, Rule of Law, necessary evil

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