Leonid Sirota: (How) Can Big Government Be Kept Accountable? – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted November 17th, 2023 in constitutional law, government departments, news, parliament by tracey

‘This project started from an experience that will be familiar to just about any law lecturer: persuading first-year students, bewildered in their first week at university, that your subject means something to them ― even if they don’t know that yet. In my case, one argument I came up with to sell my students on constitutional law was that government is a very big deal. I return to the question of just how big a deal it is presently. For now, suffice it to say that, although some public law rules (think of the Carltona doctrine, for instance) take this into account, on the whole, the size and also the shape of government go relatively unremarked upon in public law theory.

In this post I argue, however, that they matter for thinking about government accountability. They matter beyond this too, but accountability is my topic here. It is more difficult to keep a big government accountable than a small one. In particular, it is difficult and perhaps impossible to do so through political means. Political constitutionalists who want government accountability, primarily political control of government, and big government cannot have it all.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 16th November 2023

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org