Our project examines a question that is fundamental to systems of constitutional government: from where do public institutions get their authority?
Constitutional law tends to assume that authority comes from the law: that people comply with an instruction because it comes from an official designated by law.
The goal of the research is to investigate this issue by talking directly to the people whose views shape institutional authority: political leaders, government officials and – most importantly – ordinary people. By asking people their views on the institutions that govern them, the project team hopes to build a better understanding of how constitutional systems actually operate.
The Foundations of Institutional Authority (FIAT) is an interdisciplinary research project based at the Centre for Constitutional Studies in the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin and funded by a European Research Council Consolidator grant.