Scottish Legal Philosopher, Regius Professor at University of Edinburgh, Politician, Member of Parliament
Can we think of a world in which our normative existence and our practical
life are anchored in, or related to, a variety of institutional systems, each of
which has validity or operation in relation to some range of concerns, none of
which is absolute over all the others, and all of which, for most purposes, can
operate without serious mutual conflict in areas of overlap? If this is possible
practically as it clearly is conceptually, it would involve a diffusion of political
power centres as well as of legal authorities. It would depend on a high degree
of relatively willing co-operation and a relatively low degree of coercion in its
direct and naked forms. It would create space for a real and serious debate
about the demands of subsidiarity.
State Courts have no right to assume an absolute superiority of state
constitution over international good order, including the European dimensions
of that good order. This is not the same as saying that they must simply defer
to whatever the ECJ considers to be mandated by the European constitution.
For its reading of that constitution and the state Court’s reading of its own
constitution ought both to have regard to the international obligations which
still subsist notwithstanding, or indeed because of, the fact that Community
law is a ‘new legal order sui generis’.
I believe in law... Simply: there is such a thing as law, and where it exists it tends to improve
the lives of those who live by it. Law exists, and has prima facie positive value.
When we say that law ‘embodies’ values we are talking metaphorically. What does it mean? Values are only ‘embodied’ in law in the sense that and to the extent that human beings approve of the laws they have because of the state of affairs they are supposed to secure, being states of affairs which are on some ground deemed just or otherwise good. This need not be articulated at all.