Lectures on the Relation between Law & Public Opinion in England: During the Nineteenth Century

By A. V. Dicey | Go to book overview

LECTURE X
COUNTER-CURRENTS AND CROSS-CURRENTS OF LEGISLATIVE OPINION

WE have hitherto traced the connection between the development of English law and different dominant currents of opinion. 1 To complete our survey of the relation between law and opinion, we must now take into account the way in which the dominant legislative faith, and therefore the legislation, of a particular time may be counteracted or modified either by the existence of strong counter-currents or cross- currents of opinion, 2 or by the difference between parliamentary and judicial3 Logically the results of this difference are merely an illustration of the effect produced by a particular cross- current of opinion, namely, the legislative opinion of the judges, but the distinctions between the legislative opinion of Parliament and the legislative opinion of the Courts, and the way in which these two kinds of opinion act and react upon one another, is so noteworthy as to deserve separate consideration. legislation.

Concerning counter-currents little need here be said. The topic has been amply illustrated in the foregoing pages. The story of Benthamite liberalism is specially instructive; the increasing force of liberalism was long held in check by the survival of old toryism; the authority of liberalism, when it

____________________
1
See pp. 62-301, ante.
2
See pp. 36-41, ante.
3
See Lecture XI., post.

-310-

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