How Constitutions are Changed

by Professor Christer Karlsson, Uppsala University.

Constitutional change has emerged as a prominent topic in the research on constitutional politics and comparative law. In practice, constitutional change can be brought about in two fundamentally different ways: either by changing the wording of the constitutional document, or by changing the meaning of the constitution while leaving the constitutional text itself unaltered. The distinction between explicit and implicit constitutional change is certainly not a new one. Georg Jellinek published his seminal work Verfassungsänderung und Verfassungswandel as early as 1906 and more recent studies have shown that both kinds of constitutional change occur regularly in modern democracies.

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