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School of Law

LAW6160 Comparative Constitutional Law

This module introduces students to key themes and controversies in the vibrant field of contemporary comparative constitutional law and design. The module starts by charting the historical development of the field of comparative constitutional law as well as some of its core uses and purposes. The legal structures and concepts typically found in constitutions will then be examined including:

  • why new constitutions emerge and how they are made
  • how constitutions are amended as well as the controversial issue of unamendable constitutional provisions  
  • different models of constitutional review including strong form review where courts can strike down legislation, as contrasted with weaker forms of review such as in the UK where judges do not have such power
  • the distinction between parliamentary (e.g. the UK), presidential  (e.g. the United States and much of Latin America) and semi-presidential  (France) systems and their significance
  • controversies  over fundamental rights such as the enforcement of socio-economic rights in e.g. South Africa and India
  • the relationship between constitutions and international law.

A wide range of constitutional systems will be engaged with in relation to specific themes including amongst other systems:  Australia; Brazil; Canada; the EU; Finland; France; Germany; Hungary; India; Japan; New Zealand; Poland; South Africa; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom; United States.

Method of assessment

  • 100% exam


  • Public Law (or relevant constitutional law module for visiting students)

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