Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition
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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition

Edited by Jan M. Smits

Written by leading authorities in their respective fields, the contributions in this accessible book cover and combine not only questions regarding the methodology of comparative law, but also specific areas of law (such as administrative law and criminal law) and specific topics (such as accident compensation and consideration). In addition, the Encyclopedia contains reports on a selected set of countries’ legal systems and, as a whole, presents an overview of the current state of affairs.
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Chapter 18: Constitutional law*

Monica Claes


The last decade or two have witnessed a tremendous reinvigoration of comparison in the area of constitutional law, both in the real world of legal and judicial practice and as a field of legal scholarship. While the discipline of constitutional comparison is old and can be traced back to Aristotle’s Politeia, legal comparative scholarship has for a long time favoured the field of private law. Comparative lawyers perhaps ascribed to public law a particularism and responsiveness to local values, while private law was seen as embodying common and universal features (Ginsburg and Dixon, 2011, p. 2). Yet, more recently, quite a few new journals have been launched which take comparative constitutional law as their focus of attention (European Public Law in 1995, International Journal of Constitutional Law in 2003, European Constitutional Law Review in 2005, Global Constitutionalism – Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, 2012), and several regional and international associations and networks convening scholars of comparative constitutional law have been set up. A number of casebooks (Jackson and Tushnet, 2006; Dorsen et al., 2003), and textbooks on comparative constitutional law (Grewe and Ruiz Fabri, 1995; Prakke et al., 2004; Carozza et al., 2009; Ginsberg and Dixon, 2011; Ponthoreau, 2010) have seen the light over the past few years, and leading publishing houses have launched new series in comparative constitutional law.

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