1st Edition

Law, Localism, and the Constitution A Comparative Perspective

By John Stanton Copyright 2023
    322 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Local government affects us all. Wherever we live, in towns, cities, villages, or the smallest of communities, there are locally elected councils tasked with representing people’s interests in the running of the local area. This involves, inter alia, providing public services, maintaining local spaces, and acting as a level of democratic governance within the broader constitutional and executive structure of the state. To fulfil these responsibilities, though, local government must be democratically legitimate; it must have at its disposal reasonable means and resources to function; and it must enjoy a healthy and balanced relationship with centralised government.

    This book explores and analyses the extent to which local government in the different parts of the United Kingdom is able to function effectively and democratically. It draws from local councillors’ views in analysing the state of local government under the current constitutional and governmental arrangements, discussing issues such as councils’ relationships with central government; citizen engagement; finance and public services; and the impact of recent reforms. It contrasts and compares the different approaches adopted in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, also setting out and discussing possible reforms of local government across the United Kingdom. While the focus is on the United Kingdom, the work includes a comparison with other relevant jurisdictions.

    PART I – HISTORY, LAW, AND CONSTITUTIONAL FOUNDATION. 1 Introduction. 2 A legal and constitutional history of local government. 3 Local government, subsidiarity, and the Constitution. PART II – LOCAL GOVERNMENT STRUCTURES, DEMOCRACY, AND MONEY. 4 Councils, councillors, and mayors. 5 Local elections and citizen engagement. 6 Local government finance. PART III – CENTRAL-LOCAL RELATIONS AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM. 7 Relations between central, devolved, and local government. 8 A new constitutional settlement for local government. APPENDICES – THE SURVEYS AND THE COUNCILS


    John Stanton is a Senior Lecturer in Law at City, University of London, UK. He lectures on constitutional law and comparative constitutional law and is the co-author of a leading public law textbook. John’s first monograph – Democratic Sustainability in a New Era of Localism was published by Routledge in 2014. John is regularly invited to speak internationally on local government, democracy, and devolution, and was recently asked to give oral evidence to the parliamentary Select Committee on Housing, Communities, and Local Government. John is also interested in the Constitution of Malta.