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The New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism
Theory and Practice

Part of Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law

  • Date Published: January 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107401990

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  • Stephen Gardbaum argues that recent bills of rights in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia are an experiment in a new third way of organizing basic institutional arrangements in a democracy. This 'new Commonwealth model of constitutionalism' promises both an alternative to the conventional dichotomy of legislative versus judicial supremacy and innovative techniques for protecting rights. As such, it is an intriguing and important development in constitutional design of relevance to drafters of bills of rights everywhere. In developing the theory and exploring the practice of this new model, the book analyses its novelty and normative appeal as a third general model of constitutionalism before presenting individual and comparative assessments of the operational stability, distinctness and success of its different versions in the various jurisdictions. It closes by proposing a set of general and specific reforms aimed at enhancing these practical outcomes.

    • Comprehensive study of an important recent constitutional experiment to forge a new way of protecting rights in a democracy will appeal to those who are dissatisfied with the two existing approaches and are looking for an alternative
    • Analysis of the theory and practice of the new Commonwealth model of constitutionalism includes and integrates normative and empirical, legal and political approaches to the subject
    • Systematic comparative analysis of the recent rights revolutions in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia suggests what can be learned or borrowed from each
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Stephen Gardbaum's The New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism: Theory and Practice is one of the most important books about comparative judicial review and constitutional design published in recent years.' Ran Hirschl, International Journal of Constitutional Law

    '[This book] is a must-read in the growing literature on comparative constitutional law and deserves a broad international audience.' Sujit Choudhry, International Journal of Constitutional Law

    '[A]n impressive piece of constitutional scholarship, offering a cogent, sophisticated account of the third paradigm.' Scott Stephenson, Modern Law Review

    'In this excellent comparative study of rights protection, Stephen Gardbaum argues that a 'new model of constitutionalism' has emerged from Commonwealth countries … This is a book that deserves a very wide readership. It is written and structured with beautiful clarity. … [It is] a valuable contribution to the literature and should become a key point of reference from which the theory and practice of rights protection and constitutionalism might continue to be understood.' Lawrence McNamara, International and Comparative Law Quarterly

    '[A]n impressive and valuable contribution that pushes the boundaries of the debate … [and] invites scholars to do no less than reassess how they conceive the very function of a bill of rights.' Janet Hiebert, Public Law

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107401990
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Theory:
    2. What is the new Commonwealth model of constitutionalism and what is new about it?
    3. The case for the new Commonwealth model
    4. An internal theory of the new model
    Part II. Practice:
    5. Canada
    6. New Zealand
    7. United Kingdom
    8. Australia
    9. General assessment and conclusions.

  • Author

    Stephen Gardbaum, University of California, Los Angeles
    Stephen Gardbaum is the MacArthur Foundation Professor of International Justice and Human Rights at UCLA School of Law. He is currently a Fellow at New York University's Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice and was the 2011–12 Guggenheim Fellow in constitutional studies. An internationally recognized constitutional scholar, his research focuses on comparative constitutional law, constitutional theory, and federalism. Having previously identified 'the new Commonwealth model of constitutionalism' as a novel general approach to bills of rights, he was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Protecting Human Rights conference in Australia, part of the major debate in that country about adopting this model through a national human rights act. Other recent work includes a series of articles on the comparative structure of constitutional rights, which have just been collected and published as a book by the European Research Center of Comparative Law. His scholarship has been cited by the US and Canadian Supreme Courts and widely translated.

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