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Due Post-legislative Process? On the Lawmakers’ Constitutional Duties of Monitoring and Revision

  • A. Daniel Oliver-LalanaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Legisprudence Library book series (LEGIS, volume 3)

Abstract

In a considerable series of rulings the German Federal Constitutional Court has construed the Bonn Basic Law as requiring lawmakers to monitor the impacts of statutes and to revise or adjust them in the light of evolving legislative facts, which mostly compensates for the Court’s deference to legislative prognoses under conditions of high epistemic uncertainty. The legisprudential tenets of retrospection and correction are thereby converted into legal-constitutional duties (supposedly) binding on legislatures. Drawing on German case law, this chapter discusses the rationale, scope and shortcomings of this strand of review, and underlines the difficult role of ex post evaluation in the judicial control of legislation. A twofold thesis is submitted. On the one hand, a post-legislative doctrine may be expected to provide a dynamic protection of fundamental rights by smoothing the way for the courts to second-guess the constitutionality of statutes in retrospect without intruding into lawmakers’ primary competences to deal with social complexities. But, on the other hand, the German experience illustrates that such a doctrine is not easy to apply and remains under-enforced for the most part, which casts doubts on whether it is an effective safeguard of fundamental rights over time or whether, instead, it has a merely rhetorical or dilatory function. Finally, I argue that approaches to the constitutionalization of ex post evaluation like that of the German Constitutional Court, while being positive on the whole, should not obscure the problems that arise from the ex ante perspective under which legislation is usually reviewed, and suggest making more space for evaluation and impact arguments in constitutional review.

Keywords

Constitutional Review Rational Lawmaking Monitoring and Revision Duties Ex-post Evaluation of Legislation Process Review 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de DerechoUniversidad de Zaragoza, Ciudad UniversitariaZaragozaSpain

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