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Law General

Democracy and Constitutions

Putting Citizens First

by (author) Allan C. Hutchinson

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2021
General, General, Canadian
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2021
    List Price

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As things stand, a commitment to weak democracy and strong constitutionalism ensures that a range of elite groups, actors, and institutions – political, economic, intellectual, and legal – hold considerable sway over constitutional matters, leaving less room for the participation of ordinary people. With the continued primacy of liberal constitutionalism, constitutional law has come to represent and facilitate the centrality of judicial power and authority. In Democracy and Constitutions, Allan C. Hutchinson warns against this deference to a legal elite on questions of constitutional meaning. For Hutchinson, an over-reliance on constitutional law, and a lack of attention to democratic politics, keeps people from influencing the moral and political character of society; it saps civic energies and relegates ordinary people to the sidelines.


Engaging and provocative, Democracy and Constitutions charts a course away from the elitism of the present and toward a more democratic future, one that re-balances society’s commitment to both democracy and constitutions. Advocating for a strong democracy and weak constitutionalism, this book places ordinary people at the institutional heart of government and politics, arguing that such a re-calibration is better for democracy and for society.

About the author

A member of Osgoode Hall Law School's faculty since 1982, Allan Hutchinson was recently elected to the Royal Society of Canada and made a distinguished research professor of York University. He is currently associate dean (research, graduate studies and external relations). Professor Hutchinson is a legal theorist with an international reputation for his original and provocative writings. As well as publishing in most of the common-law world's leading law journals, he has written or edited many books, including The Civil Litigation Process (Toronto: Emond-Montgomery, 2005). Much of his work has been devoted to examining the failure of law to live up to its democratic promise. His most recent publications are Evolution and the Common Law (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), The Companies We Keep: Corporate Governance for a Democratic Society (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005), and Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility, second edition (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2006).

Allan C. Hutchinson's profile page

Other titles by Allan C. Hutchinson