UCL Institute for Human Rights


The New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism: Theory and Practice

04 June 2013, 12:00 pm

Event Information

Open to



UCL Faculty of Laws


UCL Faculty of Laws, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, London, WC1H 0EG



Professor Stephen Gardbaum (MacArthur Foundation Professor of International Justice and Human Rights, UCLA)


Dr Jeff King (UCL Laws)

About the Event

Stephen Gardbaum will present an adapted and abridged version of Part I (‘Theory’) of his book 'The New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism: Theory and Practice', which was recently published by Cambridge University Press.  The book argues that recent bills of rights in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia are an experiment in a new third way of organizing basic institutional arrangements in a democracy.  This ‘new Commonwealth model of constitutionalism’ promises both an alternative to the conventional dichotomy of legislative versus judicial supremacy and innovative techniques for protecting rights.  As such, it is an intriguing and important development in constitutional design of relevance to drafters of bills of rights everywhere.  Part I develops the theory of the new model by (1) analyzing its novelty, (2) presenting the general case for it and (3) articulating an ‘internal’ normative account of how a well-functioning version should operate. 

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