Constitutional Law From a Comparative View

There are four major legal systems in the world namely common law, civil law, customary law and religious law. However, civil law is more widespread compared to the others. Countries have differences in the law making process and consequently laws are not the exact same in different countries. Comparative law studies involve the study of various countries’ laws in order to understand how they are formed and how they operate.

Constitutional law sets out the fundamental principles to which a state is governed and also defines the relationships between the branches of government within the state. Comparative constitutional law is limited to the study of the constitutions of a given set of sub-countries to determine their differences and similarities. There is no consensus as to whether it is a study of similarities or differences but some authors approach it as an analysis in which patterns are observed to determine convergence or differences in the constitutions of a particular sub-group of countries.

Comparative constitutional law gained popularity in the 21st Century as it was a newly energized field that had a broad range of interdisciplinary interest. Comparative constitutional law has seen lawyers, political scientists, sociologists and economics provide contributions on the collective understanding on how constitutions are formed and how they operate. The boundaries of comparative constitutional law are not clearly defined although scholars agree that the study of comparative constitutional law is clearly distinct from the study of comparative private law or comparative non-constitutional law.

Among the notable individuals in the field of comparative constitutional law is Sujit Choudhry. He holds degrees from Oxford, Toronto and Harvard and was a Rhodes Scholar. He is an internationally recognized authority on comparative constitutional law and comparative constitution law development. His main focus is on the basic methodological questions in comparative constitutional law. He has written constitutional design as a tool to manage the transition from violent conflict to peaceful democratic politics and he has worked as a foreign constitutional expert in support of constitutional transitions in Egypt Jordan, Libya, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.

Choudhry is also a founding director of the Center of Constitutional Transitions which generates and mobilizes knowledge in support of constitution building. This is the world’s first university-based center of its kind. His other achievements include his role as a consultant to the World Bank Institute at the World Bank and his membership at the United Nations Mediation Roster.

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