Centre for Legal Theory

New Theories of the State’s Authority: Beyond the Separation of Powers
(funded by Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier1)


Workshop was held at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore
31 Oct – 1 Nov 2016

This workshop placed the spotlight on a series of recent, new, or emerging theories that seek to explain and/or justify relationships between authorities exercising public power inside the state. It addressed themes that either bolster or challenge the orthodoxy of the 'separation of powers' approach to relationships between courts, legislatures, and executives, as well as exploring the range of forms and locations of state authority that exist outside of those branches of government.

Questions addressed include:

  • should state authority be understood and valuated monolithically or pluralistically?
  • what explains the relationships between bearers of the state's authority? Does 'separation of powers' suffice or is there promise in models such as 'Shared Authority' (Kyritsis, 2014) 'Diffusion or Concentration' (Cane, 2016) and 'Relative Authority' (Roughan 2013)
  • What is the promise of models of integration and interdependence, as opposed to separation or demarcation?
  • what forms does/should the state's authority take, and do those forms have implications for the way in which authority is exercised or evaluated?
  • what institutions can legitimately exercise state authority, in what combinations, with what impact for questions of institutional design?
  • what is the role of state authorities vis-à-vis non-state authorities?
  • what (if anything) distinguishes public from private authority, and how does this map on to theorizing about the state's authority?

Participants in the Workshop include

Dean Knight (Victoria University of Wellington)
Dimitrios Kyritsis (University of Reading)
Peter Cane (The Australian National University, Canberra)
Arie Rosen (The University of Auckland)
Kristen Rundle (The University of Melbourne)
Farrah Ahmed (The University of Melbourne)
Greg Weeks (University of New South Wales)
Nicole Roughan (National University of Singapore)
Swati Jhaveri (National University of Singapore)
Michael Dowdle (National University of Singapore)

  Programme Schedule
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