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Arguably no political principle has been more central than the separation of powers to the evolution of constitutional governance in Western democracies. In the definitive work on the subject, M. J. C. Vile traces the history of the doctrine from its rise during the English Civil War, through its development in the eighteenth century—when it was indispensable to the founders of the American republic—through subsequent political thought and constitution-making in Britain, France, and the United States. The author concludes with an examination of criticisms of the doctrine by both behavioralists and centralizers—and with "A Model of a Theory of Constitutionalism." The new Liberty Fund second edition includes the entirety of the original 1967 text published by Oxford, a major epilogue entitled "The Separation of Powers and the Administrative State," and a bibliography. M. J. C. Vile is Professor of Politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury and author also of The Structure of American Federalism.
The Constitution incorporates human rights as a dominant feature of its order pervading every aspect of the law and has been the sole source of authority, with the Judiciary cast as a watchdog trusted to ensure that no branch of the State transgresses the boundaries of its powers. The book chronicles through the case law of the Supreme Court, a precedent of constitutionalism worthy of the attention of every scholar of constitutional law.
The new series Stellenbosch Handbooks in African Constitutional Law will engage with contemporary issues of constitutionalism in Africa, filling a notable gap in African comparative constitutional law. Separation of Powers in African Constitutionalism is the first in the series, examining one of the critical measures introduced by African constitutional designers in their attempts to entrench an ethos of constitutionalism on the continent. Taking a critical look at the different ways in which attempts have been made to separate the different branches of government, the Handbook examines the impact this is having on transparent and accountable governance. Beginning with an overview of constitutionalism in Africa and the different influences on modern African constitutional developments, it looks at the relationship between the legislature and the executive as well as the relationship between the judiciary and the political branches. Despite differences in approaches between the different constitutional cultures that have influenced developments in Africa, there remain common problems. One of these problems is the constant friction in the relationship between the three branches and the resurgent threats of authoritarianism which clearly suggest that there remain serious problems in both constitutional design and implementation. The book also studies the increasing role being played by independent constitutional institutions and how they complement the checks and balances associated with the traditional three branches of government.

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