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AV Dicey and the making of common law constitutionalism

Loughlin, Martin (2022) AV Dicey and the making of common law constitutionalism. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 42 (1). 366 - 382. ISSN 0143-6503

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ojls/gqab021


The work of the mid-Victorian jurist, AV Dicey, has had a remarkable influence on British constitutional thought, not least in establishing the orthodox framework within which modern constitutional lawyers continue to work. That legal positivist framework has, however, recently been challenged by jurists advocating what is generally called common law constitutionalism. Accepting the core of sense in Dicey's account, their objective has been to revise some of the jurisprudential underpinnings of his framework for the purpose of showing that the dominant characteristic of the British system is not sovereignty but legality. Mark Walters now builds on this revisionary work by offering a new historically informed study of Dicey's Law of the Constitution, which is designed to show that the orthodox interpretation of Dicey as a legal positivist is itself misconceived. Walters argues that, properly understood, Dicey had a more nuanced appreciation of the relationship between sovereignty and legality than is commonly appreciated. This review article examines Walters's exercise and assesses its contemporary significance.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2022 14:48
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2022 23:17

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