CONSTITUTIONS, CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM AND CONSTITUTIONAL conflict are once again commanding attention. The celebrations of the bicentennial of the American constitution, the implementation of constitutional reform in Canada, the Labour government's programme for constitutional change in the United Kingdom, the seemingly intractable conflict in Northern Ireland, and transfers of sovereignty to the European Union from its constituent states, testify to this. Equally, if not more challenging, have been the upheavals in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and its reconstituted states, the ‘third’ wave of democratization across the developing world, the experiment in participatory constitutionalism in South Africa and the return of Hong Kong to China. Of the 179 countries that elect their governments out of a total of 192 countries in the world, 176 have codified constitutions. Constitutions, however, that are not fully mature or operative and are not based on the principles or drafted with the advice of those nations that have developed and entrenched their constitutions tend to be disregarded, or even dismissed. Moreover, writing a constitution is one exercise, implementing, and interpreting it is a far more complex and delicate undertaking. So how are social scientists to evaluate the process?