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Public Finance and Parliamentary Constitutionalism
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Book description

Public Finance and Parliamentary Constitutionalism analyses constitutionalism and public finance (tax, expenditure, audit, sovereign borrowing and monetary finance) in Anglophone parliamentary systems of government. The book surveys the history of public finance law in the UK, its export throughout the British Empire, and its entrenchment in Commonwealth constitutions. It explains how modern constitutionalism was shaped by the financial impact of warfare, welfare-state programs and the growth of central banking. It then provides a case study analysis of the impact of economic conditions on governments' financial behaviour, focusing on the UK's and Australia's responses to the financial crisis, and the judiciary's position vis-à-vis the state's financial powers. Throughout, it questions orthodox accounts of financial constitutionalism (particularly the views of A. V. Dicey) and the democratic legitimacy of public finance. Currently ignored aspects of government behaviour are analysed in-depth, particularly the constitutional role of central banks and sovereign debt markets.


‘Concisely and elegantly, Will Bateman does us three great services. First, he lucidly outlines the economic and legal fundamentals of public finance in modern mixed economies. Secondly, focussing on two paradigmatic parliamentary systems of government (the UK and Australia), he carefully analyses: the distribution between the executive and Parliament of powers to raise and spend public revenue; and the respective roles of Parliament and the courts in controlling the management of public finances. Thirdly, he underscores the significance of public finance for developing sound understandings of constitutional law and constitutional theory. Bateman frequently startles the reader by his ability to see clearly aspects of the world hidden, from most of us, in plain sight. This is a very important book.'

Peter Cane - Professor of Law, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

‘The years of financial crisis and of austerity have re-affirmed how central the management of public finance is to modern government. However, it is a shamefully neglected subject in most recent UK public law scholarship. In this book, Will Bateman skilfully and lucidly restores the subject to its rightful place at the heart of our constitution.'

Tony Prosser - Professor of Public Law, University of Bristol Law School

‘Will Bateman's book is a much needed contribution to the literature on public finance and the interaction between the monetary and the fiscal authorities. It fills a gap in the study of the relationship between Treasury/government, Parliament and the Bank of England, and of the impact of the judiciary in a country like the UK with no written constitution. That English law dominates commerce, banking and private finance and has been, until relatively recently, absent from central banking remains a puzzling issue. The book clearly evidences the need for law in public finance and should be essential reading for economists and lawyers in the field, policy-makers and regulators, nationally and internationally.'

Rosa M. Lastra - Sir John Lubbock Chair in Banking Law, Queen Mary University of London

‘[By] … the end of this book … the reader will think twice before using the expression 'parliamentary control', and will be much better educated in the history of financial legislation in Westminster democracies and in the limited role of the judiciary in its enforcement. Given the dearth of discussion of these issues in the British constitutional law literature Bateman deserves warm praise for this achievement.’

Terence Daintith Source: Public Law Review

‘Filling a significant gap in our public law scholarship is this new book devoted to examining in meticulous detail the history of the idea and practice of parliamentary control of government finances, and to discerning from that history a common pattern in the contemporary relationship between public finance and parliamentary constitutionalism in the United Kingdom and Australia … Dr Bateman’s Public Finance and Parliamentary Constitutionalism is at once a work of legal history and of constitutional theory … So far as I am aware, the intellectual exercise in which he engages is of a nature no other legal scholar has had the temerity to engage in since the second half of the 19th century - and the exercise is all the more impressive given the enormous changes wrought in the 20th century.’

The Hon. Justice Stephen Gageler AC Source: Melbourne University Law Review

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