A year after the publication of Dicey's "Law of the Constitution," William Gladstone was reading it aloud in the House of Commons, citing it as authority. It remains, to this day, a starting point for the study of the English Constitution and comparative constitutional law. "Law of the Constitution" elucidates the guiding principles of the modern constitution of England: the legislative sovereignty of Parliament, the rule of law, and the binding force of unwritten conventions. Dicey's goal was "to provide students with a manual which may impress these leading principles on their minds, and thus may enable them to study with benefit in Blackstone's "Commentaries" and other treatises of the like nature those legal topics which, taken together, make up the constitutional law of England." Albert Venn Dicey (1835 1922) was Vinerian Professor of English Law at Oxford University from 1882 to 1909. "
The last decade has seen radical changes in the way we are governed. Reforms such as the Human Rights Act and devolution have led to the replacement of one constitutional order by another. This book is the first to describe and analyse Britain's new constitution, asking why it was that the old system, seemingly hallowed by time, came under challenge, and why it is being replaced. The Human Rights Act and the devolution legislation have the character of fundamental law. They in practice limit the rights of Westminster as a sovereign parliament, and establish a constitution which is quasi-federal in nature. The old constitution emphasised the sovereignty of Parliament. The new constitution, by contrast, emphasises the separation of powers, both territorially and at the centre of government. The aim of constitutional reformers has been to improve the quality of government. But the main weakness of the new constitution is that it does little to secure more popular involvement in politics. We are in the process of becoming a constitutional state, but not a popular constitutional state. The next phase of constitutional reform, therefore, is likely to involve the creation of new forms of democratic engagement, so that our constitutional forms come to be more congruent with the social and political forces of the age. The end-point of this piecemeal process might well be a fully codified or written constitution which declares that power stems not from the Queen-in Parliament, but, instead, as in so many constitutions, from `We, the People'. The old British constitution was analysed by Bagehot and Dicey. In this book Vernon Bogdanor charts the significance of what is coming to replace it. The expenses scandal shows up grave defects in the British constitution. Vernon Bogdanor shows how the constitution can be reformed and the political system opened up in`The New British Constitution'.
This new history is the first to tell the story of Magna Carta ‘through the ages’. No other general work traces its continuing importance in England’s political consciousness. Many books have examined the circumstances surrounding King John’s grant of Magna Carta in 1215. Very few trace the Charter’s legacy to subsequent centuries and even fewer look at the fate of the physical document. Turner also underlines its great influence outside the United Kingdom, especially in North America. Today, the Charter enjoys greater prestige in the United States, the land of lawyers, than in Britain. U.S. citizens claim Magna Carta as a source of their liberties, guaranteeing ‘due process of law’ and condemning ‘executive privilege’.
"The Efficient Secret" is an analysis of the institutional changes in parliamentary government in nineteenth-century England, concentrating on the years between the first and third Reform Acts. Professor Gary W. Cox employs a rational choice model to analyze the problems of voter choice and to examine the emergence of party loyalty in the electorate, the development of cabinet government, and their legislative consequences. The introductory chapters provide the historical setting for this study and briefly survey nineteenth-century political and economic events. Professor Cox then focuses on the increases in party voting in Parliament and in the electorate. To support his argument concerning these parallel developments, he uses statistical evidence drawn from poll books and newspapers.