Constitutional change: a new facet of comparative constitutional law

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Authors: Elena Gladun, Marius van Staden

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2023-1-146-171

Keywords: comparative constitutional law; comparative constitutionalism; constitutional change; development of the constitution; constitutional processes; amendments


Book review: Routledge Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Change / ed. by X. Contiades, A. Fotiadou. London : Routledge, 2020

No constitution can remain unchanged for an extended period of time. This fact has long been recognized by constitutional scholars and shown by the practice of numerous states. Objective and subjective conditions, including political, financial, and biological crises as well as internal socio-economic problems of states lead to the inability of constitutions to fulfill their main functions and to their changing with the needs of the times. Changes may concern both individual provisions in the text of the constitution and constitutional identity and values. The consequences of constitutional changes taking place in specific states also vary. In an effort to develop common approaches to understanding this phenomenon, the academic discipline of constitutional law is increasingly contributing to the study of the factors that bring about constitutional changes as well as the processes and results of those changes. The circumstances of 2020 showed that constitutional amendments have become a natural and justified stage in the constitutional formation of many states, including Russia. Changes in the constitutions of different states, for instance, are becoming a subject of research in the field of comparative constitutional law. Constitutional amendments and other forms of constitutional change, as well as their prerequisites, justifications, procedures and consequences, currently underlie constitutional theory and practice, especially in the international context. The basic rules and values embodied in a constitution presuppose the effective exercise of state power and the guarantee of fundamental human rights, even while constitutional norms inevitably develop in accordance with current realities. Sometimes even significant changes to the constitution are justified if this is important for the legitimacy of the constitutional order as a whole, preservation of the democratic foundations of government, or adaptation to political, economic and social transformations. Therefore, a new task of scholars in the field of comparative constitutional law is to thoroughly study the processes of constitutional change, which may be even more important than the processes of adopting constitutions. Both the conceptualization and the systematization of constitutional change, as well as practical recommendations based on the experience of various countries, could contribute to effective amendments and other instruments of constitutional change, thereby assisting in the creation of effective and stable constitutions.

About the authors: Elena Gladun – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Professor, Tyumen State University, Tyumen, Russia; Marius van Staden – Doctor of Laws, Professor, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Citation: Van Staden M., Gladun E. (2023) Konstitutsionnye izmeneniya: novaya gran’ sravnitel’nogo konstitutsionnogo prava: Retsenziya na knigu: Routledge Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Change / ed. by X.Contiades, A.Fotiadou. London: Routledge, 2020 [Constitutional change: a new facet of comparative constitutional law: Book review: Routledge Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Change / ed. by X.Contiades, A.Fotiadou. London: Routledge, 2020]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 146–171. (In Russian).


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