The City of London: dominance, democracy, and the rule of law?

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London was, for centuries, the unchallenged cultural, political, and legal centre of power in the UK. Yet, despite its historical dominance, it was unable to dominate the processes associated with the UK’s departure from the EU. I argue that the inability of the city to dominate can, and should, be seen in Rule of Law positive terms.
After recounting the historical and long-standing agglomeration of power in London, I consider Greater London’s clear desire to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum, and suggest that direct democracy was able to breach the city’s general and historical dominance. This, however, leaves an unanswered question: is this breach a beneficial situation? To answer this question, I adopt a Rule of Law perspective. I argue that if London is not able to dominate (all of the time), then the UK’s Rule of Law landscape is enhanced. I conclude that fundamental Rule of Law ideas—for example, the equal application of the law and a block on the arbitrary exercise of power—are, at present at least, enhanced through the check created by the relatively infrequent recourse to direct democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Yearbook of Constitutional Law 2020
Subtitle of host publicationThe City in Constitutional Law
EditorsErnst Hirsch Ballin, Gerhard van der Schyff, Maarten Stremler, Maartje De Visser
Place of PublicationBerlin Germany
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789462654310
ISBN (Print)9789462654303
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameEuropean Yearbook of Constitutional Law
ISSN (Print)2405-6111
ISSN (Electronic)2405-612X

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