book review

Review of Robert Leckey, Bills of Rights in the Common Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, 256 pp, pb £24.99

Paul Daly


In his timely and carefully crafted new book, Dean Robert Leckey asks how far the introduction of ‘bills of rights’ has moved common law judges from their traditional role. Three jurisdictions, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa, form the basis of his comparative study. In answering the question, Leckey eschews sensationalism about ‘bill-of-rights exceptionalism’ (7). Taking a different tack from political scientists who engage in quantitative studies of ‘judicial activism’ and legal theorists who distinguish between ‘strong-form’ and ‘weak-form’ judicial review, Leckey adopts an ‘internal, legal approach’ that closely hews to the how rather than the what of judicial implementation of rights-protecting instruments (7-17) and exposes the ‘perils of unsubtle reliance on notions of “weak” and “strong”’ forms of judicial review (166).

Published November 2016
Frequency Bi-monthly
Volume 79
Issue 6
Print ISSN 0026-7961
Online ISSN 1468-2230