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  • Cited by 8
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2018
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Book description

Constitutions worldwide inevitably have 'invisible' features: they have silences and lacunae, unwritten or conventional underpinnings, and social and political dimensions not apparent to certain observers. The Invisible Constitution in Comparative Perspective helps us understand these dimensions to contemporary constitutions, and their role in the interpretation, legitimacy and stability of different constitutional systems. This volume provides a nuanced theoretical discussion of the idea of 'invisibility' in a constitutional context, and its relationship to more traditional understandings of written versus unwritten constitutionalism. Containing a rich array of case studies, including discussions of constitutional practice in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Indonesia, Ireland and Malaysia, this book will look at how this aspect of 'invisible constitutions' is manifested across different jurisdictions.


‘The invisible constitution, the small-c constitution, extraconstitutional rules, conventions and norms - these and similar ideas occupy a large space in contemporary thinking about constitutions. The essays in this collection wrestle with these protean concepts, using tools from legal theory, political science, and sociology. The concepts may remain elusive after one reads the essays, but the reader will undoubtedly have a better and more sophisticated grasp on their possible meaning.'

Mark Tushnet - William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Massachusetts

‘Dixon and Stone have assembled a world-class group to investigate a subject of deep importance to all scholars of public law. Unseen but neither unknown nor uncontested, the invisible constitution raises serious challenges for constitutional design, constitutional interpretation and constitutional change. This volume addresses each of these and more, and does so with rich comparative perspectives that leave the reader asking foundational questions about the nature of higher law, the limits of codification, and the necessary and sufficient conditions for constitutionalism - the mark of an outstanding study in public law.'

Richard Albert - University of Texas, Austin

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