Arbitrariness

19 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2014 Last revised: 20 Jan 2014

Date Written: January 13, 2014

Abstract

In order to identify the form of arbitrariness that is relevant to the rule of law, I discuss a Supreme Court of India decision and a Supreme Court of Canada decision in which judges held that other public authorities had acted arbitrarily. I also discuss Jeremy Bentham’s work on the rule of law, and his notion that the interpretive power of judges is itself an arbitrary power. I argue that the interpretive role of judges is not necessarily hostile to the rule of law, but that there is a standing tension between the two. In the decisions under discussion, the Canadian and Indian judges used their doctrines of arbitrariness to reallocate power to themselves, without any resulting enhancement in the rule of law.

Keywords: arbitrary government, rule of law, judges, interpretation, constitutional litigation, administrative law, Jeremy Bentham

Suggested Citation

Endicott, Timothy A.O., Arbitrariness (January 13, 2014). Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, 2014; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2/2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2378858

Timothy A.O. Endicott (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom

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