Common Law Constitutional Rights

There is a developing body of legal reasoning in the United Kingdom Supreme Court in which members of the senior judiciary have asserted the primary role of common law constitutional rights and critiqued legal arguments based first and foremost on the Human Rights Act 1998. Their calls for a shift in legal reasoning have created a sense amongst both scholars and the judiciary that something significant is happening. Yet despite renewed academic and judicial interest we have limited insight into what common law constitutional rights we have, how they work and what they offer.

This book, edited by Mark Elliott and Kirsty Hughes, is the first collection of its kind to systematically explore both the content and role of individual common law constitutional rights alongside the constitutional significance and broader implications of these developments. It therefore contributes not only to our understanding of what the common law might be capable of offering in terms of the protection of rights, but also to our understanding of the nature of the constitutional order of which such rights are an integral part.

The book is divided into two principal parts. The first part of the book focuses on particular rights, with a view to evaluating the capacity and potential of the common law to afford protection to those rights. This part of the book includes chapters on rights to bodily integrity (Natasa Mavronicola), the right of access to justice (Se-shauna Wheatle), property rights (Tom Allen), the right to privacy (Kirsty Hughes), the right of freedom of expression and the right to vote (Jacob Rowbottom), the rights of freedom of assembly and association (Gavin Phillipson) and equality-related rights (Colm O’Cinneide).

The second part of the book addresses matters in wider perspective by assessing the place that common law rights can and do play in the UK given the nature of the United Kingdom’s constitutional architecture. This part includes chapters on the senses in which the UK constitution is capable of accommodating fundamental rights (Mark Elliott), the relationship between common law rights and legislation (Alison Young), the relationship between common law rights and administrative action (Joanna Bell), the implications of devolution for common law rights (Brice Dickson) and the potential reach of common law rights (Thomas Fairclough).

Common Law Constitutional Rights is published by Hart Publishing. Further information about the book can be found on the Bloomsbury website.