J.A.G. Griffith's normative positivism
This thesis provides a reinterpretation of J.A.G. Griffith’s lecture ‘The Political Constitution’—a reinterpretation that stresses the commitment Griffith expressed in that lecture to the normative dimension of legal positivism. I call this normative dimension ‘normative positivism’. Identifying Griffith as a normative positivist serves to clarify a number of debates surrounding Griffith’s arguments in ‘The Political Constitution’ and serves to clarify our understanding of the concept that has come to be known in UK public law scholarship in recent years as ‘political constitutionalism’, of which Griffith is regarded as a leading exemplar. The thesis argues that Griffith’s political constitutionalism is best understood as a form of normative positivism and is very different from some more recent defences of political constitutionalism available in the scholarly literature. The thesis also considers how the big constitutional questions of the age in the UK—questions relating, for example, to bills of rights and devolution—play out in the light of our discovery and appreciation of Griffith’s normative positivism.