Separation of Powers: The Minimal View

In his recent book Political Political Theory, Jeremy Waldron observes that despite the fact that the principle of the separation of powers is widely invoked in political and constitutional debates, it is still unclear what sort of requirements it imposes, and what are the reasons that ground this principle. In my paper I will offer an account of the principle of the separation of powers — one that I call “the minimal view”. For this account, the principle separation of powers imposes some modest requirements of institutional design and institutional behavior. Crucially, administrative agencies that perform lawmaking, adjudicative, and executive functions are not necessarily suspect of violating the separation of powers under this view. In this sense, the minimal view opposes a rather prominent strand of critiques of the administrative state. This account, I believe, is useful and relevant, as it can make better sense of the separation of powers in modern governance.