Judging Constitutional Conventions

17 International Journal of Constitutional Law 787 (2019)

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 59/2017

20 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2017 Last revised: 5 Jan 2022

See all articles by Farrah Ahmed

Farrah Ahmed

University of Melbourne - Law School

Richard Albert

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law; University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government; Yale University; University of Toronto - Faculty of Law; São Paulo Law School of Fundação Getulio Vargas FGV DIREITO SP; University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law; Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Derecho; Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law; Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo; Airlangga University; Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai

Adam Perry

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 26, 2017

Abstract

The study of constitutional conventions is anchored in three assumptions that have so far remained largely unchallenged: that there is a shared “Commonwealth approach” to constitutional conventions; that Commonwealth courts will recognize and employ conventions but never enforce them; and that conventions are always distinguishable from rules of law. After setting out a new taxonomy of modes of judicial engagement with constitutional conventions, we overturn each of these assumptions. We draw on recent case law from Canada, India, and the United Kingdom to show that there is no shared “Commonwealth approach” to the treatment of constitutional conventions. We show that some Commonwealth courts do, in fact, enforce conventions. Finally, we show that at least some constitutional conventions have crystallized into law. These insights disrupt much of what is foundational in the study of constitutional conventions.

Keywords: Constitutional Conventions, Doctrine of Legitimate Expectations, Constitutional Change, Patriation Reference, Canadian Constitution, Indian Constitution, UK Constitution, Miller, Brexit, Second Judges Case, Third Judges Case, Disallowance, Reservation

Suggested Citation

Ahmed, Farrah and Albert, Richard and Perry, Adam, Judging Constitutional Conventions (September 26, 2017). 17 International Journal of Constitutional Law 787 (2019), Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 59/2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3043190 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3043190

Farrah Ahmed

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/melbourne-law-school/community/our-staff/staff-profile/username/Farrah

Richard Albert (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
512.213.1113 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.utexas.edu/faculty/richard-albert

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government ( email )

College of Liberal Arts
1 University Station A1800
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Yale University

493 College St
New Haven, CT CT 06520
United States

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.utoronto.ca

São Paulo Law School of Fundação Getulio Vargas FGV DIREITO SP

R. Rocha, 233, Bela Vista
São Paulo, 01330-000
Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://https://direitosp.fgv.br

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://commonlaw.uottawa.ca

Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Derecho

Calle 12 # 1-17 este
Calle 12 0 83
Bogota D.C, Cundinamarca 3456
Colombia

HOME PAGE: http://www.uexternado.edu.co/derecho

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

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://www.idc.ac.il/en/schools/law/pages/home.aspx

Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo ( email )

Facultad de Derecho
Av. Samborondón 5
Samborondón, 092301
Ecuador

HOME PAGE: http://uees.edu.ec/postgrado/postgrado-derecho

Airlangga University

Dharmawangsa Dalam Selatan
Surabaya, East Java 60286
Indonesia

HOME PAGE: http://www.unair.ac.id

Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai ( email )

2nd Floor, CETTM MTNL Building, Technology Street
Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai 400076
Maharashtra
India

HOME PAGE: http://https://mnlumumbai.edu.in/vaf.php

Adam Perry

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St Cross Building
St Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UL
United Kingdom

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