Please join us on Tuesday March 28, 2023 at 12:30pm for an Asper Centre Constitutional Roundtable with Professor Aileen Kavanagh on her forthcoming book, The Collaborative Constitution.
The David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights’ Constitutional Roundtables are an annual series of lunchtime discussion forums that provide an opportunity to consider developments in Canadian constitutional theory and practice. The Constitutional Roundtable series promotes scholarship and aims to make a meaningful contribution to intellectual discourse about Canadian constitutional law.
All are welcome. No Registration or RSVP required. Light lunch will be provided.
The Collaborative Constitution by Aileen Kavanagh
Which branch of government should we trust to protect rights in a democracy? Some take a court-centric approach to this question, arguing that the courts provide a ‘forum of principle’ which makes them uniquely situated to protect rights against the feared and fabled ‘tyranny of the majority’. Others put their faith in the democratic legislature, as a supremely dignified, diverse, and deliberative forum which can protect our rights against the oligarchic offensive of an ermined elite. Rejecting the binary options of either the courts or the legislature, this book argues that protecting rights is a collaborative enterprise between all three branches of government where each branch has a distinct but complementary role to play, whilst working together with the other branches in constitutional partnership. Instead of advocating the hegemony and supremacy of one branch over another, this book articulates a collaborative vision of constitutionalism where the protection of rights is a shared responsibility between all three branches. On this vision, protecting rights is neither the solitary domain of a Herculean super-judge, nor the dignified pronouncements of an enlightened legislature. Instead, it is a complex, dynamic, and collaborative enterprise, where each branch of government has a valuable role to play, whilst treating the other branches with comity and respect.
The Collaborative Constitution is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in June 2023. Please see the Introduction and Ch 3 of the book, which have been graciously shared by the author in advance of this Roundtable.
Aileen Kavanagh is Professor of Constitutional Governance at Trinity College Dublin and Director of TriCON, the Trinity Centre for Constitutional Governance. Formerly Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Oxford, Aileen Kavanagh has written widely on comparative constitutional law, human rights and constitutional theory. Her previous books include Constitutional Review under the UK Human Rights Act 1998 (CUP, 2009).