Dicey Was Not Diceyan

Cambridge Law Journal, Vol. 62, p. 474, 2003

21 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2011 Last revised: 7 Jan 2022

See all articles by Rivka Weill

Rivka Weill

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law; University of Chicago Law School

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

There is an apparent paradox between Dicey’s treatment of parliamentary sovereignty as the central premise of the British constitution and his advocacy of the referendum, a tool of popular sovereignty. Cosgrove, who wrote an authoritative biography on Dicey, explained that Dicey turned to the referendum in his search for a device that would prevent Home Rule. Home Rule distorted his judgment.
However, this Article asserts that Dicey’s advocacy of the referendum was consistent with his constitutional theory. It represented a personal evolutionary process that followed closely the evolution of the British constitution. Most importantly, the referendum was compatible with the British constitution, as Dicey perceived it. He believed the constitution was in practice, though not in theory, based on popular and not parliamentary sovereignty.

Keywords: Dicey, Referendum, Parliamentary Sovereignty, Popular Sovereignty, Parliament Act 1911, Reform Act 1832, Home Rule

Suggested Citation

Weill, Rivka, Dicey Was Not Diceyan (2003). Cambridge Law Journal, Vol. 62, p. 474, 2003, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1737325

Rivka Weill (Contact Author)

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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