Constitutional Sunsets and Experimental Legislation

Constitutional Sunsets and Experimental Legislation

a Comparative Perspective

Elgar Monographs in Constitutional and Administrative Law series

Sofia Ranchordás

This innovative book explores the nature and function of ‘sunset clauses’ and experimental legislation, or temporary legislation that expires after a determined period of time, allowing legislators to test out new rules and regulations within a set time frame and on a small-scale basis. Sofia Ranchordás presents a thorough analysis of sunset clauses and experimental legislation from a comparative perspective, and offers a clear legal framework for their implementation.

Chapter 8: Conclusion

Sofia Ranchordás

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, constitutional and administrative law, politics and public policy, public policy


New and old dilemmas characterize modern day lawmaking: we are inevitably bound by a nostalgia for the past but we long for the promising future. Tomorrow’s laws will always seem more attractive than today’s laws are. Still, we hold on to yesterday’s rules because they are ‘safe’, predictable and long-standing. But are they better? Is the ‘rule of law’ always ‘a law of [lasting] rules’? Or is it a law of rules that draws its inspiration from society, savours it and improves the ‘recipe’ from time to time to guarantee a law does not turn ‘sour’ as time goes by? In this book, two tools for this iterative and learning approach to law have been explored: sunset clauses and experimental legislation. They have been presented as a midway between eternity and innovation; an appearance of lasting certainty and the certainty of a temporary rule; equality in poverty and temporary inequality in the pursuit of wealth; laws that remain and laws that move forward. They are instruments at the crossroads between the information society and the ignorance society that promise more flexibility and learning opportunities than permanent legislation.

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