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Emergencies and the Limits of Legality


Victor V. Ramraj, David Dyzenhaus, Oren Gross, Terry Nardin, R. Rueban Balasubramaniam, Mark Tushnet, Nomi Claire Lazar, Colm Campbell, Tom Campbell, Kent Roach, William E. Scheuerman, A. P. Simester, Simon Chesterman, Johan Geertsema, Kanishka Jayasuriya, C. L. Lim
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  • Date Published: January 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107403901

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About the Authors
  • Most modern states turn swiftly to law in an emergency. The global response to the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States was no exception, and the wave of legislative responses is well documented. Yet there is an ever-present danger, borne out by historical and contemporary events, that even the most well-meaning executive, armed with extraordinary powers, will abuse them. This inevitably leads to another common tendency in an emergency, to invoke law not only to empower the state but also in a bid to constrain it. Can law constrain the emergency state or must the state at times act outside the law when its existence is threatened? If it must act outside the law, is such conduct necessarily fatal to aspirations of legality? This collection of essays - at the intersection of legal, political and social theory and practice - explores law's capacity to constrain state power in times of crisis.

    • Confronts the fundamental question of law's ability to constrain state power in an emergency, whilst providing sophisticated analysis of the issues raised by emergency powers
    • Includes a substantive introduction to the issues and the essays
    • Helps readers understanding by offering interdisciplinary perspectives on the challenges posed by emergency powers
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Combining a subtle appreciation of the complexities with brilliant insights into their resolution, together these essays form an important contribution and an intellectual feast.' Lucia Zedner, University of Oxford

    Review of the hardback: 'This is an unusually fine collection of essays on one of the most important questions in legal and constitutional theory - the propriety of violating legal norms in times of emergency. What makes it especially illuminating is the way that the various essays are very much in dialogue - and sometimes in tension - with one another, as well as the ability of the international cast of essayists to draw from a very broad range of examples.' Sanford Levinson, University of Texas, Austin

    Review of the hardback: 'Not only are the various chapter[s] linked and readable as one critical contribution, but they also tend to advance the previous scholarship of the authors themselves. … this is a collection whose contributions truly advance the theoretical landscape in this area and that must surely be attributed to the editorial hand of Ramraj. The quality and depth of the contributions remain uniformly strong throughout. … What distinguishes this volume … is the inclusion of perspectives from outside of the usually dominant Euro-American experiences. … Emergencies and the Limits of Legality successfully distinguishes itself as an essential collection for scholars and students interested in the serious normative and operative challenges posed by state responses to perceived emergencies.' The Irish Jurist

    Review of the hardback: '… an extremely well-produced volume. It achieves a level of thematic integrity which is remarkable in collections of essays. … It clearly succeeds in [its] endeavour; it covers a wide range of perspectives, and in substantial depth. … it may be recommended to anyone who seeks insights into the theoretical considerations behind emergency laws.' The Singapore Year Book of International Law

    Review of the hardback: 'Emergencies and the Limits of Legality is one of the more intellectually substantial of the many edited collections of scholarship that have been generated by the international academic community in response to the way in which governments have reacted to the terrorist attacks on the United States of 2001 and subsequent acts of political violence. … this book was conceived by its editor with an admirably precise focus upon which leading scholars in the field have contributed essays which, while offering a range of diverse and competing perspectives, come together as a collection with a most satisfying coherence.' Public Law

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107403901
    • length: 428 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. No doctrine more pernicious? Emergencies and the limits of legality Victor V. Ramraj
    Part I. Legality and Extralegality:
    2. The compulsion of legality David Dyzenhaus
    3. Extralegality and the ethic of political responsibility Oren Gross
    Part II. Conceptual and Normative Theories:
    4. Emergency logic: prudence, morality, and the rule of law Terry Nardin
    5. Indefinite detention: rule by law or rule of law? R. Rueban Balasubramaniam
    Part III. Political and Sociological Theories:
    6. The political constitution of emergency powers: some conceptual issues Mark Tushnet
    7. A topography of emergency power Nomi Claire Lazar
    8. Law, terror and social movements: the repression-mobilisation nexus Colm Campbell
    Part IV. Prospective Constraints on State Power:
    9. Emergency strategies for prescriptive legal positivists: anti-terrorist law and legal theory Tom Campbell
    10. Ordinary laws for emergencies and democratic derogation from rights Kent Roach
    11. Presidentialism and emergency government William E. Scheuerman
    Part V. Judicial Responses to Official Disobedience:
    12. Necessity, torture and the rule of law A. P. Simester
    13. Deny everything: intelligence activities and the rule of law Simon Chesterman
    Part VI. Post-Colonial and International Perspectives:
    14. Exceptions, bare life and colonialism Johan Geertsema
    15. Struggle over legality in the midnight hour: governing the international state of emergency Kanishka Jayasuriya
    16. Inter arma silent leges? Black hole theories of the laws of war C. L. Lim.

  • Editor

    Victor V. Ramraj, National University of Singapore


    Victor V. Ramraj, David Dyzenhaus, Oren Gross, Terry Nardin, R. Rueban Balasubramaniam, Mark Tushnet, Nomi Claire Lazar, Colm Campbell, Tom Campbell, Kent Roach, William E. Scheuerman, A. P. Simester, Simon Chesterman, Johan Geertsema, Kanishka Jayasuriya, C. L. Lim

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