Skip to site navigation

Video: James Melton - Exploring Constitute: A New Tool for Searching National Constitutions

22 January 2014

Approximately 5 constitutions are replaced and 30 are amended each year. This year has already witnessed new constitutions in Fiji and Zimbabwe and constitutional amendments in Brazil, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Mexico, Switzerland and Tonga. Despite the high frequency of constitutional change, constitutional drafters often lack systematic information on the contents of other countries’ constitutions that could help them decide what topics should be addressed in their constitution and how to address those topics. Constitute addresses this problem by putting searchable copies of the world’s constitutions online. However, Constitute is more than just a repository of constitutional texts. The project draws on data collected by the Comparative Constitutions Project over the last 8 years to assign topic tags to provisions within constitutions. This allows powerful, topic-based searches of those texts. There are more than 300 topics for users to choose from on the site, and for those interested in regional or temporal trends in constitution-making, the search results can be filtered by country and year.

Dr James Melton is a Lecturer in British and Comparative Politics at the Constitution Unit in the School of Public Policy. His expertise in cross-national constitution making strengthens the comparative aspect of the Constitution Unit’s research. James uses this expertise to understand the effect of constitutional text on economic, political, and social development. He contributes a regular column to the Monitor on “Worldwide Constitutional Developments” and feeds into the comparative dimensions of the Unit's research projects. James's interest in comparative constitutional design stems from his involvement with the Comparative Constitutions Project (CCP). The CCP is an effort to investigate the sources and consequences of constitutional choices.

Related Links

Join the Debate

Blog

News

How should parliament decide who will be the next Prime Minister: by a nomination vote, or the Queen’s Speech?

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:00:22 +0000

Robert Hazell weighs up options for establishing who can command the confidence of the House of Commons, which will be particularly significant in the likely event of another coalition. This is the fourth in a series of posts about government formation after the election. The Cabinet Manual explains the rules as follows: ‘… the Sovereign will invite the person […]

Read more...

Farewell to the Commons: Reflections on parliamentary change over 40 years

Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:00:47 +0000

On 4 March Jack Straw and Sir George Young spoke at a Constitution Unit valedictory event where they considered how parliament has changed since the 1970s. Sam Sharp offers an overview of the discussion. Jack Straw and Sir George Young have 77 years of parliamentary experience between them – Straw was first elected in 1979, […]

Read more...

Codification of the UK Constitution is not essential

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 10:00:29 +0000

The Constitution Unit is pleased to announce the launch of a new report To Codify or Not to Codify: Lessons from Consolidating the United Kingdom’s Constitutional Statutes. James Melton, the report’s lead author, offers an overview of the report, which reflects on some lessons learned about the UK Constitution while consolidating the texts of 18 […]

Read more...
Mailing List

Connect with us

RSSFlickr

Footer menu