Written versus unwritten: two views on the form of an international constitution

Item Type Book Section

Today, concepts of constitutionalism are widely used in international legal scholarship, both to describe and to promote changes in the international legal order in support of the rule of law, the protection of human rights and other common values of the international community. Against this background, the present chapter deals with a question so far addressed only cursorily — the “writtenness” of international constitutional law. Can we assume the existence of an “unwritten” international constitution, or does the very concept of a constitution in the modern sense require that a constitution is laid down in written form? The chapter discusses the importance of “writtenness” in modern constitutionalism and addresses the “English exception”, that is the absence, in the United Kingdom, of a document called “the constitution”. The chapter concludes with a plea for taking the constitutional character of the UN Charter more seriously, arguing that the idea of an unwritten constitution of the international community does not provide a viable alternative.

Authors Fassbender, Bardo
Editors Lang, Anthony F. & Wiener, Antje
Language English
Keywords United Nations Charter, international law, international community, international constitutional law, United Kingdom, British constitution
Subjects social sciences
political science
Institute/School FR - Research Institute for Legal Sciences
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Date 2017
Publisher Edward Elgar
Place of Publication Cheltenham, UK / Northampton, MA, USA
Series Name Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law
Volume 1. Auflage
Page Range 265-274
Number of Pages 10
Title of Book Handbook on Global Constitutionalism
ISBN 978-1-78347-725 8
Publisher DOI 10.4337/9781783477357
Depositing User Prof. Dr. Bardo Fassbender
Date Deposited 09 Dec 2017 19:25
Last Modified 09 Dec 2017 19:25
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/252821


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Fassbender, Bardo: Written versus unwritten: two views on the form of an international constitution. In: Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law. Cheltenham, UK / Northampton, MA, USA : Edward Elgar, 2017, S. 265-274.


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