Three waves of political constitutionalism

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It is now commonplace to examine the evolution of political constitutionalism in two distinct phases. The first phase was that which – as Loughlin says in his contribution to this collection – culminated with the delivery by JAG Griffith of his famous Chorley Lecture, ‘The Political Constitution’. In that lecture, Griffith sought to describe and to defend the United Kingdom’s political constitution by adopting a functionalist methodology against those – at that time from the political right - who agitated for reform in ways that sought to contain the radical potential of political action through law. The second wave was that which emerged in reaction to the rise of (so-called) legal constitutionalism, given form by the aggressive development of the common law as well as the transfer of power from parliament to the judiciary that was given form in the Human Rights Act 1998 and in the concurrent devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-96
JournalKing's Law Journal
Issue number1
Early online date24 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019


  • political constitutionalism
  • devolution
  • law
  • political authority


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