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The Sovereignty of LawFreedom, Constitution and Common Law$
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T.R.S. Allan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199685066

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199685066.001.0001

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Constitution and Constitutionalism

Constitution and Constitutionalism

(p.17) 1 Constitution and Constitutionalism
The Sovereignty of Law

T. R. S. Allan

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains the need for an evaluative theory of the British constitution, capable of showing why governmental authority is legitimate. A useful account must be an interpretation of legal and political practice: it must exhibit the connections between legal doctrine and the moral and political values internal to a just constitution, worthy of allegiance. The chapter challenges the conventional reading of Dicey, whose work superficially places parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law in conflict. A defensible view of sovereignty is one that points to its reconciliation with the fundamental rights implicit in basic ideas of human dignity and equality. It discusses the ProLife Alliance case, demonstrating rival conceptions of the constitution. It considers the nature of statutory interpretation in the context of constitutional principle. It also reflects on the debate between Hart and Fuller on the nature of law and legal interpretation.

Keywords:   legal interpretation, British constitution, Dicey, parliamentary sovereignty, rule of law, fundamental rights, statutory interpretation, Hart, Fuller

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