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Vol 23 No 3 March/April 2018

Book of the Month

Cover of Scamell and Gasztowicz on Land Covenants

Scamell and Gasztowicz on Land Covenants

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The English Historical Constitution: Continuity, Change and European Effects

ISBN13: 9780521702362
Published: October 2007
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £30.99

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The fundamental legal and institutional changes of recent decades have brought the English constitution into question. Accompanying issues have been the extent to which its traditional character and main features have been changed, lost their former appeal and retained their distinctness in the European Union. These issues are not readily addressed in everyday thinking about a constitution simply conceived as unwritten or in constitutional accounts variously preoccupied with abstract analysis, political accountability or transcendent norms.

  • The English Historical Constitution
  • addresses these issues by developing a historical constitutional approach and thus elaborating on continuity and change in the constitution's main doctrines and institutions. From an English legal perspective, it offers a complement or corrective to analytical, political and normative approaches by reforming an old conception of the historical constitution and of its history, partly obscured and long neglected through the modern analytical preoccupation with its law as an abstract scheme of rules, principles and practices.
    • Revives the conception of the historical constitution, thus providing an alternative to the undeveloped notion of an unwritten constitution and avoiding the dichotomy of legal and political constitutions
    • Examines the current period and crucial previous periods in the constitution's formation, thus providing a historical perspective on the current far-reaching programme of constitutional modernisation
    • Assesses the peculiarity of the English constitution and the extent of European influence, thus providing a conception of the English constitution that is reoriented to the legal and political reality of its context

    Constitutional and Administrative Law, Legal History
    1. Introduction
    2. A historical constitutional approach
    3. The crown: evolution through institutional change and conservation
    4. The separation of powers as a customary practice
    5. Parliamentary sovereignty and the European Community: the economy of the common law
    6. The brief rule of a controlling common law
    7. Dicey's progressive and reactionary rule of law
    8. Beyond Dicey
    9. Conclusion and implications.