THE PRINCIPLES OF CONSTITUTIONALISM(BY NICOLAS WILLIAM BARBER)

Book Review by:

Miss Saumya Srivastava (Research Intern)


The pith of constitutionalism in a vote- based system isn't only to shape and condition the idea of majorities rather additionally, it is to specify that specific things are impermissible, regardless of how huge and intense a lion's share may need them to be. In the words of N. W. Barber, "the principles of constitutionalism are, instead, framed by what is necessary for the state to succeed, to achieve its defining goal of the well- being of its members." He is known for his voracious voice in the world of constitutional law backed by his powerful presence in the world of law. This book of his 'The Principles of Constitutionalism', published by Oxford University Press in 2018 is a follow up of another book of his 'The Constitutional State' (2011).

Constitutionalism does not solely stand as a system to constrain state powers. An alluring and fulfilling record of constitutionalism, and, by induction, of the state, can be reached only if the standards of constitutionalism are looked upon as interlocking pieces of a more extensive tenet.

"A good state, a state that is a successful state, will possess an institutional structure that is characterized by constitutionalism." This book features a transition of the word constitutionalism in both its negative and positive sense. Barber has ultimately broken down the concept of constitutionalism in six principles which namely are:

sovereignty (chapter 2), the separation of powers (chapter 3), the rule of law (chapter 4), civil society (chapter 5), democracy (chapter 6) and subsidiarity (chapter 7).

The book holds firm ground by explaining each of the above- stated principles in terms of their need for "the advancement of the people's well-being". On one side, negative constitutionalism is likened with the interest for constrained or limited government, that is, a government working with shackles all over, the positive constitutionalism is taken up as, the effective working of the state. It is centred around making a solid-state ready to work for the benefit of its kin. It is from this stance that the book investigates the various standards of constitutionalism. With a stiff stand on what he wants to portray Barber has often quoted the works of Aristotle, Charles Taylor and John Finnis. This approach demonstrates that constitutionalism is not an atypical, draconian, unreasonable theory but an inevitable, common philosophy which mandates the prosperity of the state.

The first principle, sovereignty, is presented via a link between its description, a definitive say over the formation and the jurisdiction of the public bodies all over the state, to its normative form which tells that it is an invaluable part of a government. "The separation of powers acts as a brake on the state, protecting the individual from the might of Leviathan." The SOP as the second principle is introduced as grounded in the requirement for the productivity of state activity, which is utilized to represent the three parts of government namely: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. It also clarifies the book's accentuation on comity between state foundations, where grinding between state organs is introduced as a progressively excellent component expected to forestall mistake and division of constitutional labour. The third principle, rule of law, imagined as a rule demanding the law to have the effect as it indicates to make to ascertain the legal system 'is in legally good shape'. A strong state activity which establishes conditions for legal order to hold the baton of a controlling force effectively in a society is the requirement of the hour according to the author. Firstly, the law herein should be such that it can be obeyed and secondly, it is obeyed, this is the basic tenet over which the whole explanation of the account of rule of law hovers in the book with often quoted works of Raz and Dicey. Civil society, the fourth principle is addressed as an obvious interaction between people in general and the government, that is, "the state and law, on the one hand, interact with the economic and the social, on the other." A focal part of this compromise is acquired through the invisible hand systems which is to help reconcile the restricted concern of a socio-economic society in a much larger sense for the whole system. The fifth principle, democracy, is about the intervening jobs of law- making bodies and the ideological groups. The ideals of which are centred cleverly as types of trusteeship. The author quotes an excerpt from the speech of Edmund Burke and says that trustee model of the government is most reliable as it solely focuses on the welfare of its people by laws enacted by state's representatives. Subsidiarity, the sixth principle, is proposed as a manual to answer the question in the creation and structure of fair democratic units. It "speaks both to the constituency that votes for a legislature and, also, to the powers that the legislature should possess."

Barber has gone to form a full a circle in the conclusion of the book wherein he has emphasized the nexus between all the above stated six principles. The book begins with a proper urge to comply to constitutionalism completely for a better, organized and civilized society but in its conclusion, the aspects of why it is vital to deviate from constitutionalism occasionally is prompted. It is needful to "embrace, or at least tolerate, 'good enough' constitutionalism."

The book gives a brief prologue to constitutionalism and a nitty-gritty record of the nature and ramifications of every one of the six standards being referred to, just as an assessment of the methodological test of the rules that a fruitful understanding of these standards would fulfil. The centre of contention of the basic hypothesis is clarified by methods with an investigation of works by various public law researchers. The quintessence of the hypothesis is the reconfiguration of constitutionalism as a type established by the six stated principles which focus on the happiness of the state and its people as also stated above.

Barber's masterpiece is a must for basic perusing by public law professionals and understudies or students of constitutional law and political theory, just as researchers in related orders can make use of doctrine described here towards speculations of the state. The hypothesis establishes, it is recommended, an endeavour to turn inwards, towards the natural type of the constitutional law, revitalized as an expanding site of normativity by using the principles of constitutionalism. This book provides an opportune commitment to the discussion on constitutional structures and the collaboration of legislators and society. It is a multifaceted methodology that draws on crafts by protected legal counsellors, political scholars, and political researchers. It would be a refreshing treat for people seeking answers to various aspects of the constitution and the principle of constitutionalism.

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