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Constitutional Sunsets and Experimental Legislation

A Comparative Perspective Sofia Ranchordás, Chair of European and Comparative Public Law, Groningen Law School, the Netherlands
This innovative book explores the nature and function of ‘sunset clauses’ and experimental legislation, or temporary legislation that expires after a determined period of time, allowing legislators to test out new rules and regulations within a set time frame and on a small-scale basis. Sofia Ranchordás presents a thorough analysis of sunset clauses and experimental legislation from a comparative perspective, and offers a clear legal framework for their implementation.
Extent: 256 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978 1 78347 894 1
Availability: In Stock
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  • Law - Academic
  • Comparative Law
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Policy
  • Constitutions
This innovative book explores the nature and function of ‘sunset clauses’ and experimental legislation, or temporary legislation that expires after a determined period of time, allowing legislators to test out new rules and regulations within a set time frame and on a small-scale basis. Sofia Ranchordás presents a thorough analysis of sunset clauses and experimental legislation from a comparative perspective, and offers a clear legal framework for their implementation.

The author begins with a comprehensive history of sunset clauses and experimental legislation, along with a clear explanation of their characteristics and potential uses. She then analyzes the relationship between these legislative instruments and a number of fundamental legal principles, including legal certainty, equal treatment, proportionality and separation of powers. This thorough exploration of sunset clauses and experimental regulations places them within a broader legal context and makes a compelling case for their increased use.

Scholars and students of comparative law, regulation and public policy will all find this book a fascinating and useful resource.
‘This is a superb publication and a wonderful contribution to​ ​the literature. The book is thought-provoking and makes the reader reconsider the traditional perception of “permanent legislation compared​ ​to a more dynamic, flexible, and evidence-based lawmaking.​ ​The book is a must-have for anyone interested in legislation, and​ ​would be of great interest to those interested in regulation, constitutional​ ​law, comparative law, and legal theory. It will be useful not only​ ​for academics, but also for legislators and regulators.’
– American Journal of Comparative Law​

‘This rigorous and comprehensive study sheds light on an underappreciated tool of legal regulation. Using a comparative perspective that seamlessly integrates jurisprudential and policy analysis, Ranchordás has made a major contribution to our understanding of the interaction of law and time.’
– Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago Law School, US

‘At what point does a legislature's delegation of 'experimental' regulatory power to the executive constitute an abdication of the legislature's essential role in a representative democracy? At what point does it violate such crucial principles as legal certainty, equal treatment, or proportionality? What are the implications for this kind of experimentalist governance "beyond law"? These are just some of the questions that this important book seeks to answer. Using the German, Dutch and US experiences as her point of entry, Sofia Ranchordás has produced a deeply researched comparative study full of illuminating examples and rich insights into the phenomenon of sunset clauses and experimental legislation and regulation. Ranchordás's book will be a great resource to legal scholars, social scientists and historians who seek to understand the changing nature of the legislative function, as well as the crucial normative issues it raises.’
– Peter L. Lindseth, University of Connecticut, School of Law, US

‘This book provides a comprehensive look at sunset clauses and experimental legislation. Thorough and well-researched, the book makes a valuable contribution to the study of these important and controversial, yet understudied, legislative instruments. The book should be of great interest to scholars, students and practitioners in the fields of legislation, regulation, public law and public policy.’
– Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov, Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law, Israel

‘For lawyers and for jurisprudents especially, this is a book to explore, savour, analyse and discuss. . . As a valid, effortful and carefully researched contribution to the study of jurisprudence, this book merits a place in the professional library of many a practitioner, especially those specializing in international law.’
– The Barrister Magazine
Contents: PART I INTRODUCING SUNSET CLAUSES AND EXPERIMENTAL LEGISLATION 1. Lawmaking in a Time of Change 2. The Past and Present of Sunset Clauses and Experimental Legislation 3. Separation of Powers, Delegation and a Legality Framework PART II LEGAL FRAMEWORK 4. The Principle of Legal Certainty 5. The Principle of Equal Treatment 6. The Principle of Proportionality PART III BEYOND THE LAW 7. Sunset Clauses and Experimental Legislation beyond the Law PART IV CONCLUSION Index