<i>The Interest of the State and the Rule of Law</i>

Neil MacCormick

in Questioning Sovereignty

Published in print October 1999 | ISBN: 9780198268765
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191713118 | DOI:

Series: Law, State, and Practical Reason

The Interest of the State and the Rule of Law

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This chapter examines how far any particular state does live up to the rule of law, thereby achieving the character of a law-state. It focuses on a case in the United Kingdom (UK) involving the Official Secrets Act of 1911. A key section of that act makes it an offence if a person who possesses state secrets passes them on to anyone else, except if authorized to do so, or if under ‘a duty in the interests of the state’ to do so. The chapter discusses law as a legal concept, the case of R. v Ponting and the theories of ‘perverse verdict’ and ‘unsound interpretation’, the case for the Perverse Verdict Theory and Unsound Interpretation Theory, Hans Kelsen's legal theory arguing that the existence of a legal order is necessary but not sufficient to the existence of a state, and the UK as a Rechtsstaat or state under the rule of law.

Keywords: R. v Ponting; rule of law; Rechtsstaat; United Kingdom; state secrets; Hans Kelsen; legal theory; perverse verdict; unsound interpretation; legal order

Chapter.  12544 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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