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

Behind the surge: Who are Green Party’s parliamentary candidates?

Fri, 01 May 2015 09:00:49 +0000

A surge in Green Party support over the last year has the potential to impact the outcome of next week’s election. Sally Symington explores how the candidates put forward by the party reflect their supporters and contrast with other parties. The surge in support for the Green Party in the 2015 general election has not […]

Read more...

Designing a Constitutional Convention for the UK: Getting the details right really matters

Thu, 30 Apr 2015 08:10:34 +0000

Following the Scottish referendum, most of the main political parties committed to holding a citizen-led constitutional convention to deal with questions over the future structure of the UK. Alan Renwick welcomes these commitments, but argues that a convention will only be effective if it satisfies certain key requisites. The prospects for a citizen-led constitutional convention […]

Read more...

Could tactical voting dilemmas in 2015 revive calls for AV?

Mon, 27 Apr 2015 09:00:11 +0000

The growth in minor party support in the 2015 general election looks set to create very difficult tactical voting dilemmas in some constituencies. Meg Russell reflects on how a move to the Alternative Vote (AV), which was rejected in a referendum in 2011, might have eased such dilemmas – suggesting that a messy election result […]

Read more...
Mailing List

Connect with us

RSSFlickr

Footer menu