Michal Hain: Guardians of the Constitution – the Constitutional Implications of a Substantive Rule of Law – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted September 12th, 2017 in constitutional reform, news, rule of law, statutory interpretation by tracey

‘A constitutional storm is brewing. Whilst it is too early to perform the burial rites for parliamentary sovereignty, the Supreme Court’s decisions in R (UNISON) v Lord Chancellor [2017] UKSC 51 and R (Evans) v Attorney-General [2015] UKSC 21 are the beginning of the end of the principle’s unrivalled reign. Two especially thorny constitutional issues arose in both cases. One concerns the extent to which statutory interpretation can be used as a tool to resolve conflicts between cherished constitutional values (such as the rule of law) and the explicit wording of a statute. Just as importantly, a distinct question of constitutional interpretation arises with regard to deriving meaning from such values; in other words, how are courts to determine what the “rule of law” in fact demands? What is at stake in this second debate is exemplified by the controversy surrounding the doctrine of substantive due process in the constitutional law of the United States. Whilst it is clear that UNISON and Evans embody a forceful judicial response in the face of inroads on the rule of law, it is less clear what approach courts will take to interpreting constitutional principles in the future.’

Full Story

UK Constitutional Law Association, 12th September 2017

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org