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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
April 2020
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Book description

Proportionality in Action presents an empirical and comparative exploration of the proportionality doctrine, based on detailed accounts of the application of the framework by apex courts in six jurisdictions: Germany, Canada, South Africa, Israel, Poland and India. The analysis of each country is written and contextualized by a constitutional scholar from the relevant jurisdiction. Each country analysis draws upon a large sample of case law and employs a mixed methodological approach: an expansive coding scheme allows for quantitative analysis providing comparable and quantifiable measurements, which is enriched by qualitative analysis that engages with the substance of the decisions and captures nuance, contextualizing the data and providing it with meaning. The book concludes with a comparative chapter that synthesizes some of the most interesting findings. Focusing on deviations of the practice of proportionality from theory, the authors conclude their argument in support of an integrated approach to the application of proportionality.


‘It lifts the discussion on proportionality out of the theoretical plane and places in squarely in the realm of the empirical. Their contribution is in other words exceptionally important, in steering the normative debate from a spiral of theoretical debates lifting ever further from the ground, to one shaped by the reality of practice. It is in short a considerable feat of comparative empirical constitutional scholarship.’

Liora Lazarus - Associate Professor in Law, University of Oxford

‘Originally developed by the German Constitutional Court, proportionality as a tool to examine limitations or infringements of fundamental rights is today discussed worldwide and practiced in more and more countries, albeit in different ways. The comparison of six leading jurisdictions makes this book a foremost source of information on the proportionality principle and a valuable guide for its practical use.’

Dieter Grimm - Professor of Law, Humboldt University Berlin and Former Justice of the German Constitutional Court

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