Government by proclamation? A symposium

March 17, 2023
The events of recent years have brought into sharp focus the relationship between government and Parliament, with many jurists lamenting the former’s dominance of the latter.  The balance of powers within the political constitution is a matter of the highest constitutional importance, which warrants reflection on the historical balance and its contemporary outworking.  How best to situate government in relation to Parliament is a fundamental question of constitutional design. In his Selden Society lecture, delivered late last year, the redoubtable Lord Judge made an important contribution to public deliberation about these questions, taking aim at various constitutional pathologies.  Lord Judge is a committed parliamentarian, keen to restore the authority of Parliament within the constitution, rather than to encourage courts to assert themselves.  His concern for constitutional restoration and preservation is well made; the question for discussion is whether, or to what extent, his analysis of constitutional practice should be accepted. Policy Exchange aims to deepen public understanding about our constitution and thus is very pleased to have the opportunity to publish Lord Judge’s lecture together with commentary from two distinguished academic lawyers, two leading political scientists, a former Secretary of State and a former First Parliamentary Counsel.  The commentators engage with various aspects of Lord Judge’s thesis.  Some support and extend it; others question and challenge it.  Each contribution repays close reading, with a response from Lord Judge helpfully rounding out the discussion. We thank Lord Judge and each of our six commentators for engaging in this symposium, which we hope will help inform further conversation about the past and future of our constitution.  The contributions to the symposium can be read by following the links below.  

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