The real case for judicial review

Most justifications for judicial review are instrumental, seeking to ground it in the better protection of rights, democracy or to bring about justice. While these aims are laudable, they are also unverifiable. What is needed, then, is a non-instrumentalist argument to support judicial review. That argument is that judicial review facilitates the hearing of (justified or unjustified) grievances. I examine to what extent contemporary constitutions can be explained in terms of this framework. Seeking to answer that question, I provide a comparative analysis of the ways in which different systems of judicial review succeed in protecting the right to a hearing. I examine three components of the right to a hearing: the opportunity to raise a grievance, willingness to address the grievance and the willingness to reconsider the decision giving rise to the conflict.