The Law of Deliberative Democracy: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Law of Deliberative Democracy

1st Edition

By Ron Levy, Graeme Orr


239 pages

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Laws have colonised most of the corners of political practice, and now substantially determine the process and even the product of democracy. Yet analysis of these laws of politics has been hobbled by a limited set of theories about politics. Largely absent is the perspective of deliberative democracy – a rising theme in political studies that seeks a more rational, cooperative, informed, and truly democratic politics. Legal and political scholarship often view each other in reductive terms. This book breaks through such caricatures to provide the first full-length examination of whether and how the law of politics can match deliberative democratic ideals.

Essential reading for those interested in either law or politics, the book presents a challenging critique of laws governing electoral politics in the English-speaking world. Judges often act as spoilers, vetoing or naively reshaping schemes meant to enhance deliberation. This pattern testifies to deliberation’s weak penetration into legal consciousness. It is also a fault of deliberative democracy scholarship itself, which says little about how deliberation connects with the actual practice of law. Superficially, the law of politics and deliberative democracy appear starkly incompatible. Yet, after laying out this critique, The Law of Deliberative Democracy considers prospects for reform. The book contends that the conflict between law and public deliberation is not inevitable: it results from judicial and legislative choices. An extended, original analysis demonstrates how lawyers and deliberativists can engage with each other to bridge their two solitudes.





"Anyone who cares about democracy should also care about the ways law can promote, impede, or regulate public deliberation. The Law of Deliberative Democracy is a masterful treatment of the ways in which lawyers and deliberative democrats can learn from each other in thinking about these key issues. As such it is essential reading for those concerned with the legal and democratic underpinnings of the quality of governance in contemporary societies."

Professor John Dryzek

"Ultimately, however, the arguments made throughout the book are persuasive. The authors go to lengths to iterate and reiterate their arguments in engaging ways, and readers who seek to engage with the complexity of the key claims - and others interested in how law and democracy interact - should read this book."

Jonathan W. Kuyper, University of Oslo, Global Policy Journal

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction 1. Deliberation in a Juridifying World Part II: Foundations 2. Deliberative Democracy and Elections 3. Deliberative Democracy and the Law of Politics Part III: Three Problems in the Law of Deliberative Democracy 4. Liberty V Deliberation 5. Equality V Deliberation 6. Integrity V Deliberation Paty IV: Conclusion 7. Deliberative Democracy as an Holistic Value

About the Authors

Ron Levy is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University, Australia.

Graeme Orr is a Professor of Law at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Constitutional
LAW / Jurisprudence
LAW / Election Law
LAW / Government / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Elections
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / General