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Many established Constitutions of the world of the 21st century provide for federalism or related forms of territorial devolution, as do many of the more recent Constitutions, especially those drawn up in the aftermath of conflict. This subject examines federal Constitutions as a sub-set of comparative constitutional law. It takes a global perspective that encompasses federal-type systems in all regions of the world, whether formed by aggregation or devolution. It canvasses the theories that underpin federal arrangements, the principal design options, the interface between federalism and the protection of individual or group rights, federal Constitutions in operation over time, judicial interpretation of federal Constitutions and the methodological problems that arise in comparing federal constitutions. Professors Jackson and Saunders, the lecturers in the subject, come respectively from the United States and Australia. They bring to the subject deep knowledge of their own federations and considerable expertise in comparative federalism and comparative constitutional law.
Principal topics include:
- Mapping the federal-type systems of the world
- Key features of federal constitutional systems: power; resources; institutions; other
- Interface between federalism and other constitutional arrangements, including rights protection and the form of government
- Judicial interpretation of federal constitutions
- Methodological challenges in comparative federal constitutional law.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have a sophisticated understanding of the range and variety of federal and federal-type systems of the world
- Appreciate, at an advanced level, the distinctive features of federal constitutional systems, their variety, the reasons for choice and their interface with other aspects of constitutional systems
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the challenges of comparative federal constitutional law and the methodological options for dealing with them
- Be able to plan and undertake comparative federal constitutional projects in at a sophisticated level.
- Be well placed to evaluate the writings of other scholars on comparative federal constitutional theory, design and practice.
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the benefits and insights to be derived from comparative study of federal constitutional systems.
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently engage in research on comparative federal constitutional law.
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding comparative federal constitutional law to specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a scholar and practitioner of comparative federal constitutional law.
Last updated: 10 November 2023