The United Kingdom’s constitution, while of ancient origins, remains both
dynamic and vibrant. As every public lawyer is only too aware, nowadays,
the proper boundaries of constitutional and administrative law are both
increasingly wide and subject to debate. In compiling any textbook on this
subject, one of the principal preliminary tasks lies in defining the scope of
material to be included and the approach to be adopted in relation to that
The purpose of this book is to provide a revision aid for the undergraduate
constitutional law student.
The book divides the constitutional and administrative law course
into five sections and covers all the major topics associated with the
subject. In each section the reader is provided with a revision checklist
and guidance on the study of essential issues that figure prominently
Is the rule of law optional for liberal democratic societies? In the wake of
the attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, the Bush administration
seemed to say that it is. And in the wake of the attacks on London
in July of 2005, Tony Blair has indicated that the rule of law is a luxury,
dispensable when the going gets rough.
The island of Venice has been sinking perceptibly for centuries, but recent news is that
global warming is likely to accelerate the cataclysm that will take the city below a viable
water level in the lagoon. A possible parallel may be drawn with the unwritten British
constitution that some reformers have long been threatening to abandon, but which
continues to be the basis of a rather unusual system of government, one that is often
visited and sometimes admired by constitutional tourists from other countries.
Jean Louis De Lolme’s The Constitution of England, which first appeared
in French in 1771, was a major contribution to eighteenth-century constitutional
theory and enjoyed wide currency in and beyond the eras of the
American and French Revolutions. Its authority and judgment were invoked
in parliamentary debate and in partisan political polemic. John Adams,
the American revolutionary leader, constitutional advocate, and later
president, praised the work as “the best defence of the political balance of
three powers that ever was written.