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What is the partial separation of power theory?

An approach to the separation of powers that says each branch of government should check and balance the powers of the other institutions of government.


How does the partial separation theory differ from the pure theory?

This theory suggests that each branch should be able to exercise a degree of influence over the powers of the other branches. According to this approach the political and legal autonomy of one branch may be legitimately limited by one or more of the other branches.


What was Madison's view on the partial separation of power approach?

Madison supported this view, suggesting that liberty would be better protected were the branches able to exercise coercive power over one another. Indeed, Madison rejected the ideas of complete independence and instead promoted the sort of thinking that is now known as checks and balances.


What is an example of a constitutional arrangement based on checks and balances?

This can be seen in the arrangements of the US Constitution where each branch has a degree of discretion to influence the power/decisions of others. The ability of one branch to control or influence the activities of another is therefore seen as being central, rather than antithetical, to the partial separation theory.


What is the relationship between the separation of powers and rule of law doctrines?

They are mutually supportive doctrines. They both seek to protect the individuals right to liberty and prevent the development of oppressive governments, however, the key distinction lies in the fact that the separation of powers prescribes specific measures to ensure this – dividing and allocating specific powers between the various branches – while the rule of law is more vague – prescribing characteristics of ‘good law’.