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The manner and form theory of parliamentary sovereignty: a Nelson's eye view of the UK constitution?

Lakin, S. (2018) The manner and form theory of parliamentary sovereignty: a Nelson's eye view of the UK constitution? Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 38 (1). pp. 168-189. ISSN 0143-6503

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/ojls/gqy003

Abstract/Summary

This review article examines Michael Gordon's manner and form understanding of the UK constitution. It begins by assessing his proposed 'positivist and political' method of constitutional analysis. This method, I argue, unfairly loads the dice in favour of his theory of parliamentary sovereignty. I recommend instead the anti-positivist, interpretative method as a neutral way of assessing the manner and form theory against rival theories. As an interpretation of the constitution, I argue that Gordon's account of absolute unlimited legislative authority, underpinned by the ideals of majoritarian democracy and political constitutionalism, is unconvincing. To begin with, its emphasis on reform of legislative procedures makes a peripheral, occasional, feature of the UK constitution central. More problematically, it gives an implausible model of legal and judicial practice in the UK.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:74939
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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