Reconciling Legal Pluralism and Constitutionalism: New Trajectories for Legal Theory in the Global Age—Questionnaire

Conference paper
Part of the Ius Comparatum - Global Studies in Comparative Law book series (GSCL, volume 41)


In constitutionalism today, the constitution is understood as a type of law that prescribes what agents should do. Like any other norm, a constitution cannot be automatically efficient. Only a system of implementation can guarantee that its prescriptions are complied with. In Marbury v. Madison, John Marshall established the necessity for a jurisdictional guarantee of constitutions in order for constitutional norms to really impose themselves as “the supreme law of the land”. From a formal point of view, the constitution closes the legal system. It defines the characteristics that all the other elements of the system must have to belong to it. Moreover, it presents itself as a superior norm because of both its active capacity to repeal other norms and its passive capacity to resist being repealed by other norms. From a substantive point of view, the constitution is considered to be a document in which the most important values, main commitments and most fundamental principles that society wants to protect are established and guaranteed. It is indeed in that respect that human rights protection is provided for in it. Today however, the link that used to connect all those concepts is distended. It is not exceptional nor illegitimate anymore to think of a multiplicity of non state-related contexts through the ideas of constitution, constitutionalisation, constitutional law etc.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sciences Po Law SchoolParisFrance

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