Edited by Anthony F. Lang and Antje Wiener
Chapter 20: Written versus unwritten: two views on the form of an international constitution
The chapter deals with a question so far addressed only cursorily in the literature about concepts of international constitutionalism – the ‘writtenness’ of an international constitutional law. Can we assume the existence of an ‘unwritten’ international constitution, or does the very concept of a constitution in the modern sense require that a constitution is laid down in written form? The chapter discusses the importance of ‘writtenness’ in modern constitutionalism and addresses the ‘English exception’, that is, the absence, in the United Kingdom, of a document called ‘the constitution’. It concludes with a plea for taking the constitutional character of the UN Charter more seriously, arguing that the idea of an unwritten constitution of the international community does not provide a viable alternative.
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