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A critique on legal analysis of local government and the central-local relationship

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2005
JournalNorthern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Number of pages21
Original languageEnglish


This paper will argue that analysis on local government and the central-local relationship is generally confined to context and that a consequence of this approach is that theory, within this area of scholarship, is viewed as being mutually incompatible. Specific examples of this incompatibility can be found in respect of the works of Loughlin, Vincent-Jones and Cooper. It will be argued that by juxtaposing the work of these three writers, it is possible to connect their analyses, beyond the context within which they write, but that such a connection cannot be achieved through the mechanism of theory. The connection can however be achieved through the use of concepts and the resulting analysis is a form of meta-explanation of a particular period of decision making in local government and the central-local relationship.