There is today a widespread belief that the British constitution is in a state of flux. If the constitution is simply ‘what happens’,1 then this may not be a matter of significant concern. But many constitutional scholars now seem convinced that a fundamental juristic shift is in the offing. This belief is, for example, implicit in Laws LJ’s recent statement that: ‘In its present state of evolution, the British system may be said to stand at an intermediate stage between parliamentary supremacy and constitutional supremacy’.2 The general perception that we are now within a period of constitutional transition may be one reason for the apparent resurgence of interest in questions of theory.3 It may, more importantly, also explain why there is a significant trade in novel interpretations of the basic character of the British constitution.

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Of these innovative restatements, the most influential would appear to be the...

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