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Creating Constitutionalism?

The Politics of Legal Expertise and Administrative Law in England and Wales

Subjects: Law, Political Science, Comparative Politics
Hardcover : 9780472106301, 256 pages, tables and figures, 6 x 9, May 1997
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Considers the role of the legal system in the way political disputes are handled in twentieth-century Britain


This book examines the British legal system as closely related to that of the United States except for the lack of a written constitution and seemingly, without interest in or arguments about law that have been so important in American life. The feeling among some legal elites, traced back to the Second World War and reaching a much broader public in the 1980s, that Britain should have a formal constitution, is acknowledged with answers to related questions such as: Have our images of the place of law in Britain been accurate? How has the British state chosen to govern administrative procedures? How has law become a governing strategy when immigrants make claims against administrators?
Creating Constitutionalism? integrates political debates about legal accountability in the administrative state into analyses of British politics in the twentieth century. After addressing arguments about the role legal accountability should play, this book revisits the patterns of decisions the courts have made, arguing that they have not uniformly deferred to administrative decisions as many have argued. Far from finding that law is not an important part of British politics, as is the standard finding, this book argues that law has been a crucial part of political dispute in Britain throughout the twentieth century.
Political scientists interested in comparative politics, law, and the politics of rights will find their concerns addressed in this work. This book will also appeal to legal scholars interested in administrative law and those interested in comparative regulatory issues.
Susan Sterett is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Denver

Susan Sterett is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Denver.