Admission Price: Free to attend, but please register here to help us prepare for the wine reception following the seminar
Seminar Series: Constitutional Law
Sovereignty is the central tenet of modern British constitutional thought but its meaning remains misunderstood. Although lawyers treat it as a precise legal concept – the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty – they commonly fail to acknowledge that that doctrine is erected on a skewed sense of what sovereignty entails. In particular, they do not see that the legal doctrine rests on a particular political conviction, that the coherence of the British state is maintained only through the existence of a central authority equipped with an unlimited power. These two facets of sovereignty – the legal doctrine and its underlying political conviction – have become so deeply intertwined in legal consciousness that they now cannot easily be unravelled. This becomes the main barrier to thinking constructively about Britain’s constitutional arrangements.
In this presentation I will seek to substantiate this argument. I do so by explaining how the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty came into being, demonstrating how the legal doctrine is tied to a deeper political conviction, showing that the political underpinnings of the doctrine have been considerably weakened over the last century and more, and indicating how a re-working of the meaning of sovereignty is the precondition of constitutional renewal.
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When and where
6.00pm - 8.00pmWednesday 31st October 2018
CLS Research Events