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The Changing Constitution

The Changing Constitution (9th edn)

Sir Jeffrey Jowell and Colm O'Cinneide
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date: 29 February 2024

p. 1215. The Internationalization of Public Law and its Impact on the UKlocked

p. 1215. The Internationalization of Public Law and its Impact on the UKlocked

  • David Feldman


Municipal public law (by which is meant the public law of national or sub-national polities, including but not limited to local government) is always influenced by events taking place elsewhere in the world and the activities and norms of other polities. For example, the existence of a state depends at least partly on its recognition by other states, and political theories and legal ideas have always flowed across and between regions of the world even if they provoked opposition rather than adoption or adaptation. Yet despite, or perhaps because of, this, any state has good reasons for controlling the introduction of foreign legal and constitutional norms to its own legal order. It is important to check that the norms are compatible with one’s own national values and interests before allowing them to operate within one’s own system. A state which values a commitment to the rule of law, human rights, or democratic accountability is entitled to place national controls over potentially disruptive foreign influences. This chapter considers the nature and legitimacy of those national controls, particularly as they apply in the UK, in the light of general public law standards, bearing in mind that influences operate in both directions, not only between states but also between municipal legal standards and public international law.

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