Dissonant Constitutionalism and Lady Hale

Brian Christopher Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
156 Downloads (Pure)


Stories of constitutional struggle almost always revolve around power and self-interest: the legislature looking to make its mark, or the executive overstepping certain bounds. It is the commonplace story of the separation of powers, each entity desiring more clout and none of them willing to concede any. These tired examples are external and overt, and align well with our thoughts on constitutional politics in contemporary democracies. Rarely do such accounts involve internal—personal—struggle. Additionally, constitutional struggles are almost always borne out in formal settings: the judiciary issuing a judgment, or a ministerial department issuing a new regulation. Rarely do such struggles involve more informal settings. The latter, in both these examples, is the struggle of Lady Hale, now President of the United Kingdom Supreme Court. This piece argues that Lady Hale, much like many constitutional actors in the UK (lawyers, judges, scholars, etc), is experiencing cognitive dissonance about the current state of the UK constitution, and especially its underlying principles. However evidence of her dissonance has played out not in formal settings, such as judgments, but in extra-judicial speeches, as will be shown below.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-186
Number of pages10
JournalKing's Law Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2018


  • UK Supreme Court
  • Constitutional law
  • Separation of powers
  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Jurisprudence
  • Judicial supremacy
  • Dissonant Constitutionalism
  • Constitutional guardians
  • Lady Hale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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