Title

Fundamental Constitutional Concepts and the Roles of the Branches of Government

Publication Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

8-2015

Abstract

The duty to uphold the Constitution of Singapore possessed by the branches of government suggests that each branch must, when exercising its powers, determine for itself what the Constitution requires it to do. This raises the issue of whether the determination of the meaning of a fundamental right by any particular branch of government ought to be binding on the other branches. In other words, should a pronouncement by any particular branch be authoritative?

This chapter examines of certain fundamental constitutional concepts, namely, the doctrine of the separation of powers, the rule of law, constitutionalism, the status of bills of rights as enforceable law, and the independent duty of the branches of government to interpret a bill of rights. This lays the groundwork for a discussion of the central question: whether one branch should have final say over the other branches as to the meaning of constitutional provisions, and in particular the provisions protecting fundamental rights. Finally, the concept of a constitutional conversation or dialogue is put forward as a practical model for the relationship between the branches of government as regards interpreting a bill of rights.

Keywords

constitutional dialogue, constitutionalism, roles of the branches of government, rule of law, separation of powers, Singapore constitutional law

Discipline

Administrative Law | Asian Studies

Research Areas

Law, Society and Governance; Others

Publication

The Legal System of Singapore: Institutions, Principles and Practices

First Page

47

Last Page

88

ISBN

9789814608404

Publisher

LexisNexis

City or Country

Singapore

Copyright Owner and License

Jack Tsen-Ta Lee

Additional URL

http://search.library.smu.edu.sg/SMU:Everything:SMU_ALMA2150610690002601

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