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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2022
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Book description

Nations around the world are facing various crises of ineffective government. Basic governmental functions—protecting rights, preventing violence, and promoting material well-being—are compromised, leading to declines in general welfare, in the enjoyment of rights, and even in democracy itself. This innovative collection, featuring analyses by leaders in the fields of constitutional law and politics, highlights the essential role of effective government in sustaining democratic constitutionalism. The book explores “effective government” as a right, principle, duty, and interest, situating questions of governance in debates about negative and positive constitutionalism. In addition to providing new conceptual approaches to the connections between rights and governance, the volume also provides novel insights into government institutions, including courts, legislatures, executives, and administrative bodies, as well as the media and political parties. This is an essential volume for anyone interested in constitutionalism, comparative law, governance, democracy, the rule of law, and rights.


‘As democracies struggle with a crisis of ineffective government, constitutional scholarship has turned its attention to the relationship between constitutionalism and the capacity of governments to perform basic functions and provide for the people’s well-being. This volume is the most important collection on this emerging problem yet seen. Vicki Jackson and Yasmin Dawood have drawn together a brilliant and diverse group of scholars to explore fundamental ideas of constitutionalism, its major institutions as well as particular contexts and controversies.’

Adrienne Stone - Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, Director, Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, The University of Melbourne Law School

‘This valuable collection of essays considers the pressing and under-theorized issue of governmental effectiveness, an issue of overwhelming practical importance as well as theoretical interest, in ways that are both sobering and illuminating.’

Sanford Levinson - University of Texas Law School and Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin, author of Framed: America’s 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance.

‘In this important new collection, Jackson and Dawood bring together some of the leading contemporary public law thinkers to explore the benefits, as well as dangers, to thinking about notions of effective government in rights-based terms. It is compelling and compulsory reading for all those interested in the future of public law in a time of increasing economic, climate and health challenges.’

Rosalind Dixon - Professor of Law, University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law

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