LAW4539 - Modern constitutionalism: A comparative perspective - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Not offered in 2017


In the beginning of the 21st century, it seems that the age of parliamentary democracy had passed and that the concept of constitutional democracy had swept the world. Yet, closer study reveals that the picture is not uniform. First, substantively different versions of the constitutional model may be identified. Second, it is already possible to see the first signs of a shift to a stage of synthesis in which a new constitutional model is being generated which integrates the principle of the supremacy of the legislature with that of the supremacy of the judiciary.

This course will concentrate on presenting various constitutional models and examining their advantages and disadvantages. The course will be divided into three parts. In the first part we shall describe the 'traditional constitutional model' and its underlying rationale. In addition, we shall distinguish between various versions of this model and illustrate them by describing and comparing the constitutional mechanism in a number of countries (United States, Germany, France and Italy). In the second part, we shall examine several arguments against the traditional constitutional model and various proposals made to resolve those argument. In the third part, we shall describe the 'synthesized model', explain its rationale and illustrate it by describing the constitutional mechanism in a number of countries which have apparently adopted it (Canada, New Zealand and Great Britain).


  1. Present various constitutional models.
  2. Examine the advantages and disadvantages of each model.
  3. Present and compare constitutional mechanism in a number of countries.


Take-home examination - 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)