Skip to site navigation

Press Release: Announcing the Launch of Constitute: The World’s Constitutions to Read, Search and Compare

23 September 2013

The Constitution Unit is pleased to announce the launch of Constitute, a website for reading, searching, and comparing the world’s constitutions. The site was launched at 2:00 p.m. (GMT) today at the New York Palace Hotel in New York City. Speakers at the launch event included His Excellency President Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia and Her Excellency Roza Otunbayeva (former President of the Kyrgyz Republic).

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. There is no single location that constitutional drafters can use to access and compare constitutional documents and language – which is critical to drafters – because these documents are locked up in libraries or on the hard drives of constitutional experts.

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, which range from the fairly general – e.g. the structure of the branches of government – to the very specific – e.g. voting rights for indigenous groups. For those interested in regional or temporal trends in constitution-making, the search results can be filtered by country and year.

Our hope is that Constitute will increase transparency in countries throughout the world by ensuring universal access to the world’s constitutions. We expect that access to these important documents will improve constitution-making. Such access will also empower the general public to learn about their countries’ constitution, enabling them to play a more active role in their country’s governance.

Notes for Editors

Contact Information

Google Ideas

University College London

University of Texas

University of Chicago

Join the Debate

Blog

News

New president, new ‘Constitution’?

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:00:50 +0000

Juncker’s election might mark a new phase of European construction. But the Union’s institutional, political and constitutional foundations need renovation, writes Yves Bertoncini. Jean-Claude Juncker’s election to the post of president of the Commission marks a new stage in the historic process of rebalancing the powers of member states and the European Parliament. Yet it […]

Read more...

Can Scotland trust Westminster to transfer enough powers to seal it for a No result?

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:00:50 +0000

Brian Walker explores whether the pro-Union parties can offer enough devolution to persuade voters Scotland will be given priority if they vote No. On September 18 voters in Scotland will take a momentous decision based on two sets of uncertainty: on independence which is on the ballot paper and on more devolution which is not. A recent […]

Read more...

Codifying the UK constitution: an exercise in reform or preservation?

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 09:00:48 +0000

If the UK gets a written constitution, will it seek simply to codify the current constitutional arrangement or will it present an opportunity for more fundamental changes? In light of a recent PCRC report assessing the desirability of a written constitution, Daniel Helen looks at recent codification proposals and considers the reforms they put forward. Behind the title […]

Read more...
Mailing List

Connect with us

RSSFlickr

Footer menu