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Upholders of liberty

Albert Venn Dicey has interesting views on the true upholders of liberty. From the Oxford DNB -

During his long professorship, Dicey published the three books that gave him a significant place in common-law jurisprudence. His Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (1885), updated by a lengthy introduction to the eighth edition (1915), established his reputation as a major commentator on the British constitution.

I can't help interjecting that Dicey had no trouble in seeing and analyzing the British Constitution, which some uninformed politicians have carelessly declared to be unwritten or nonexistent. The DNB continues -

Focus on three fundamental principles, parliamentary sovereignty, the rule of law, and constitutional conventions, enabled Dicey to provide for the general public an understanding of constitutional law. The clarity of his prose made the work accessible to a wide spectrum of educated opinion, and his ability to reduce the complex topic to three concepts caused him to refer to himself as a prophet of the obvious. His facility for analysis made the work a classic of exposition and ensured its place as a primary influence on the discussion of constitutional law from its first appearance. . .

The centrality of the common law to English history, Dicey held, had produced a tradition of liberty that reached full flower in the individualism so important to Victorian ideas of self. This legacy separated England from the droit administratif institutions in France, where freedom depended upon government licence. His statement of the superiority of England's political heritage placed Dicey squarely in the Burkean tradition. . .

And just as Dicey championed the science of law he championed also the lawyers: in his legalistic overhaul of the whig account, it was judges and not statesmen who emerged as the upholders of liberty.

Perhaps the judge reviewing the application for a judicial review of the promised referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is keeping Dicey's remarks on judges in mind.

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