The Limits of Judicial Fidelity to Law: The Coxford Lecture

23 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2012

Date Written: 2011


In this lecture I question my own legalist inclinations, and ask whether judges might sometimes be morally justified in covert law-breaking - whether some measure of judicial subterfuge might be desirable - because it enhances the rule of law, justice or good governance. A plausible argument can be made that judges engage in subterfuge more frequently than we tend to think, and are justified in doing so. My attempt to explore these issues is not an exercise in judge-bashing, and I sincerely hope that no judge will construe it in that way.

Keywords: Kirk, administrative law, states, judges, rule of law, judicial subterfuge

JEL Classification: K00. K10, K19, K20, K23, K29, K30, K39, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Goldsworthy, Jeffrey Denys, The Limits of Judicial Fidelity to Law: The Coxford Lecture (2011). Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2011; Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14. Available at SSRN:

Jeffrey Denys Goldsworthy (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800

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