Seventeen-part Tests Are Not Rules

Today’s insightful “Perspective” article by Richard Epstein, ‘The rule of law can only survive where there are rules that guide and limit government conduct’, includes the comment:

The rule of law can only survive where there are rules that guide and limit government conduct.  Seventeen-part tests are not rules.  In many cases, they are not even intelligible standards

Epstein illustrates the point by referring to convoluted provisions in the US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010 (the ‘PPACA’ in the last paragraph of his article), colloquially known as Obamacare.  Plenty of New Zealand examples immediately spring to mind.  See for example, section 17 of the Overseas Investment Act in the context of this article and the Crafar Farms case.

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