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Title: Sunset clauses : a historical, positive and normative analysis
Author: Kouroutakis, Antonios
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 3700
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Sunset clauses are a commonly used statutory provision related to the temporary duration of various laws. Such clauses are scattered throughout the statute books. This thesis aims to shed light on the constitutional value of such clauses, in order to value them from the perspective of the separation of powers and the rule of law. We have an extant amount of literature on sunset clauses, especially regarding their utility in the United States. In the United Kingdom, we have a limited analysis with respect to specific fields, including emergency legislation. However, we lack a comprehensive analysis with regard to their constitutional value. This thesis’s analysis is conducted in three parts, separated into the historical, the positive, and the normative. All three parts of this thesis are interdependent, and the analysis of each subsequent part builds on the conclusion of its antecedent. The first part investigates the historical development of sunset clauses since the first Parliament in England. The positive analysis examines the contemporary utility of sunset clauses. Finally, the normative evaluation examines their interaction with several models of separation of powers as it values their impact on the rule of law. Depending on the separation of power model, such clauses play a role in the system of checks and balances. On the one hand, they impact the institutional relationship between the executive and legislative branches. On the other hand, they influence the interaction between the legislature and the courts. Although I acknowledge that their legislative use in limiting human rights diminishes the rule of law, they might have the exact opposite effect: on several occasions in the past, they were used to advance the rule of law, including the adoption of innovative legislation and the annulment of the death penalty. Indeed, this thesis attests to the constitutional value of sunset clauses.
Supervisor: Craig, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Constitutional & administrative law ; sunset clauses ; separation of powers ; rule of law