Liberal legalism
Liberal legalism is a political and legal theory which can be defined as a belief that politics should be constrained by legal constitutional boundaries. Liberal legalism has also been called legal constitutionalism, such as is found in United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, with political constitutionalism, which is more typical of Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, by British constitutional scholar Adam Tomkins
Adam Tomkins
Professor Adam Tomkins is a British legal scholar and John Millar Professor of Public Law at the School of Law of the University of Glasgow.Tomkins was educated at the University of East Anglia and the London School of Economics...

. He argues in his book Our Republican Constitution that the British system of governance, in which Parliament controls government ministers, provides a better check on executive power than a system like that of the United States, where courts and laws are used to check executive power.
Loughlin argues that the aim of legal-liberalism is to "confine politics to the straight-jacket of law". Tomkins argues that courts and constitutions are a poor check on executive or legislative authority since they must wait for court decisions to bubble up from lesser courts before they can act; since this process can take years, even decades, to happen, the court is usually slow to act. Tomkins prefers a parliamentary system like Britain's as being "more suitable and more effective" at restraining governments, and sees flaws in the American system of having courts check executive power.

See also

  • Constitutionalism
    Constitutionalism has a variety of meanings. Most generally, it is "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law"....

  • Constitutional economics
    Constitutional economics
    Constitutional economics is a research program in economics and constitutionalism that has been described as extending beyond the definition of 'the economic analysis of constitutional law' in explaining the choice "of alternative sets of legal-institutional-constitutional rules that constrain the...

  • Rule according to higher law
    Rule according to higher law
    The rule according to a higher law means that no written law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain unwritten, universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice...

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