A Critical Analysis of Ireland's Constitutional Review Group Report
Andrew Butler and Rory O'Connell, 'A Critical Analysis of Ireland's Constitutional Review Group Report' (1998) 33 Irish Jurist 237
Posted: 22 Jun 2012
Date Written: 1998
What lessons can be learned from this review of Ireland's constitutional review? The first lesson to be learned is that the political authority must make a decision when establishing the remit of a review group whether it is to engage in a serious review from first principles, or whether it is simply to be a relatively minor improvement of technical problems brought to light in legal practice. A second lesson is that when reviewing a Constitution one should not appoint too many lawyers to a review group. The members of a Review Group must guard against complacency, and must be encouraged to criticise, rather than simply accept current institutions. They must think not just about what has not worked in the past but also about what problems might arise in the future. To do this successfully the expert Constitution Review Group must pay attention to the nature of the object of the review and the need to review its operation. It should try to think outside the accepted paradigm of constitutional law and practice. It should not forget that a Constitution is written for the people, and that its Report is written for politicians - in depth discussion of legal doctrines such as delegated powers is not likely to inspire either audience.
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation