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CONSTITUTIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
LAWS 1112 Y (1)
UNIVERSITY OF MAURITIUS
ACADEMIC YEAR 2011/2012
Lecture 1

DEFINITION AND SCOPE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW * The role of law

* “Law is not merely a matter of the rules which govern relations between private individuals (for example between the employer and employee or between landlord and tenant). Law also concerns the structure and powers of the state.” A W Bradley and K D Ewing: Constitutional and Administrative Law

* Constitutional Law has the basic role of governing the structure and the powers of the state. It therefore organises the powers of the state in an attempt to prevent abuses of power by those in power.

* Emergence of Constitutional Law - Enlightenment

* The term “constitution” was coined recently with the emergence of the new nation state. During the 18th of century, political revolutions in France and the US led to the emergence of the new nation state and the need was felt for a document reflecting the beliefs and the political aspirations of the heralders of the new political and legal order.

* Major ideologies (constitutionalism, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke) started perceiving power of the state and freedoms of individuals as being conflicting such that only a proper balance between the two would lead to political and social stability. According to those ideologies, to maximise individual freedoms and liberties, the power of the state had to be curtailed by constitutional norms. This is how the written constitution, in its modern appellation, came about. These constitutions are also called “enlightenment constitutions”.

* Written Constitution

* Also known as the narrow definition of “constitution” * “a document having a special legal sanctity which sets out the framework and the principle functions of…...

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