Interpreting Constitutions: A Comparative Study

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24 Citations (Scopus)


This book describes the constitutions of six major federations and how they have been interpreted by their highest courts, compares the interpretive methods and underlying principles that have guided the courts, and explores the reasons for major differences between these methods and principles. Among the interpretive methods discussed are textualism, purposivism, structuralism, and originalism. Each of the six federations is the subject of a separate chapter written by an authority in the field: Australia, Canada, Germany, India, South Africa, and the United States. Each chapter describes not only the interpretive methodology currently used by the courts, but the evolution of that methodology since the constitution was first enacted. The book also includes a concluding chapter which compares these methodologies, and attempts to explain variations by reference to different social, historical, institutional, and political circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
Number of pages384
ISBN (Electronic)9780191706707
ISBN (Print)9780199226474
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Constitutions
  • Germany
  • India
  • Purposivism
  • South africa
  • Structuralism
  • Textualism
  • United states

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