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Comparing Constitutions

The Comparative Constitutions Project (CCP) is an ongoing data collection project directed by Zachary Elkins (University of Texas at Austin), Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago Law School), and James Melton (formerly of the Constitution Unit). The goal of the project is to catalogue the content of all constitutions written in independent states from 1789 to the present. The project has produced several important publications, and the data collected in the course of the project will be useful to answer a wide range of research questions by scholars throughout the social sciences and humanities.

Full details of the CCP, including publications and data downloads, are available at ComparativeConstitutionsProject.org.

During his time at the Constitution Unit, James Melton, with others, completed several CCP publications relating specifically to constitution-making in the UK:

  • Magna Carta and Its Modern Legacy : This book, edited by Robert Hazell and James Melton and published by Cambridge University Press in 2015, analyses the influence of Magna Carta in the UK and internationally.
  • To Codify or not to Codify? Lessons from Consolidating the United Kingdom’s Constitutional Statutes: This report, written by James Melton, Christine Stuart, and Daniel Helen, compares the UK’s existing constitutional statutes with written constitutions in other countries in order to draw lessons for how and to what degree the UK’s constitution might best be codified.

Videos

James Melton's seminar on 'Exploring Constitute: A New Tool for Searching National Constitutions'

Google Ideas supported the Comparative Constitutions Project to build Constitute, a new site that digitizes and makes searchable the world's constitutions. Constitute enables people to browse and search constitutions via curated and tagged topics, as well as by country and year. The Comparative Constitutions Project cataloged and tagged nearly 350 themes, so people can easily find and compare specific constitutional