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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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(p.1) Introduction
The Sovereignty of Law

T. R. S. Allan

Oxford University Press

British constitutional law is marked by theoretical controversy, giving rise to competing interpretations of doctrine and principle. Legal constitutionalists are opposed by political constitutionalists; divergent conceptions of the rule of law are rooted in contrasting philosophies of democracy and freedom. The doctrine of separation of powers is differently understood, according to one's theoretical viewpoint; and questions about the proper nature and scope of judicial review evoke debate and controversy. Public law cannot be insulated from these larger theoretical debates: it is always a product of normative judgement, involving the interpretation of legal practice. No account of constitutional law can stand on neutral ground: there is no escape from the moral evaluation central to legal analysis. Law cannot be reduced either to influential judicial opinions or empirical fact. A brief summary of the content of each chapter of the book is presented.

Keywords:   constitutional law, theoretical controversy, public law, interpretation, legal practice

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