A revisionist view of the separation of powers

Brennan, Geoffrey and Hamlin, Alan (1994) A revisionist view of the separation of powers. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 6, (3), 345-368. (doi:10.1177/0951692894006003005).


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The doctrine of the separation of powers attracts almost universal support as a central element of the liberal constitution designed to protect citizens against governmental power. However, there is little agreement on, or analysis of, the precise institutional requirements of the doctrine or the method by which the claimed benefit is achieved. We set out a simple model of the interaction between citizen-voters, the legislature and the executive to illustrate that the functional division of powers can operate systematically against the interests of citizen-voters. This case provides the basis both for a taxonomy of distinct senses of the separation of powers, and for the revisionist claim that there is a general liberal presumption against the functional separation of powers.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1177/0951692894006003005
ISSNs: 0951-6298 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: constitution, separation of powers
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Economics
ePrint ID: 32952
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
1 July 1994Published
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2007
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:59
Constitutional political economy
Funded by: ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (R000233782)
1 January 1993 to 31 December 1994
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/32952

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