Comparative Constitutional Theory
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Comparative Constitutional Theory

Edited by Gary Jacobsohn and Miguel Schor

The need for innovative thinking about alternative constitutional experiences is evident, and readers of Comparative Constitutional Theory will find in its pages a compendium of original, theory-driven essays. The authors use a variety of theoretical perspectives to explore the diversity of global constitutional experience in a post-1989 world prominently marked by momentous transitions from authoritarianism to democracy, by multiple constitutional revolutions and devolutions, by the increased penetration of international law into national jurisdictions, and by the enhancement of supra-national institutions of governance.
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Chapter 7: Parliamentary bills of rights: have they altered the norms for legislative decision-making?

Janet L. Hiebert


Abstract: This chapter evaluates whether judicial review influences legislative norms in several Westminster-based jurisdictions that have overcome historical antipathy to a bill of rights while also adopting new processes for reviewing if proposed legislation complies with rights. These new processes for evaluating whether and how legislative bills implicate rights establish the context, resources and insights necessary to integrate judicial norms into legislative decision-making. Nevertheless, governments appear willing to knowingly pursue legislation that is inconsistent with judicial norms, parliament’s power has not been fundamentally augmented to hold government to account for decisions that infringe upon rights, and party leaders do not accept that focusing on rights compliance is a useful tactic in their perpetual efforts to demonstrate why their party is the better alternative to government. In short, Westminster factors (such as executive dominance of parliament and strict party discipline continue) continue to function as the most influential forces driving legislative processes and political behavior.

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