In Defence of the Common Law Constitution: Unwritten Rights as Fundamental Law
T. R. S. Allan
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law
January 22, 2009
LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 5/2009
Brudner argues that liberal constitutionalism, or the rule of Law, requires the adoption of a written constitution, regulating the respective powers of court and legislature. In his analysis, the common law constitution is associated with a libertarian paradigm that gives way, in part, to an egalitarian one embodied in a sovereign constitutional text. I argue, to the contrary, that the preservation of the rule of Law, including the protection of liberal rights, does not require a codified constitution, but demands only the consistent application of the correct legal principles to particular cases. Statutes must always be interpreted consistently with such principles: their meaning and validity are alike dependent on their compatibility with fundamental constitutional rights. Demands that cannot be acknowledged as legitimate requirements by an independent moral agent cannot qualify as law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Date posted: January 26, 2009