A good introduction to the methodology of undertaking comparative work in constitutional law is: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law: A Primer by Axel Tschentscher (2009) (open access article on SSRN)
The Global Review of Constitutional Law began in 2017 with the publication of the 2016 volume. It is an annual publication published by I-CONnect and the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy. The Global Review assembles detailed but relatively brief reports on constitutional developments and cases during the past calendar year. The reports are authored by academic and/or judicial experts, and are often co-authored by judges and scholars.The Global Review is available on open access on SSRN.
Individual global and comparative constitutional law journal titles held by the Library (UniMelb staff & student access) include the following:
The sites and databases listed below are all open access.
Warning - many of the sites & databases listed in this box may not include the current version of a country's constitution. If it is important that you refer to the current version, ensure you access constitutions from the individual countries' official government legislation websites. Also note that English translations will rarely be official.
The University of Richmond's Constitution Finder links to the constitutions of every country. This database includes historical and current versions. All are available translated into English.
Library of Congress Guide to Law Online (open access) provides links to full text constitutions on official government websites.
The Constitutional Documents pages of the International Constitutional Law site (hosted at the Institut für öffentliches Recht at the University of Bern) provides the texts of around 90 constitutions in English, together with constitutional background summaries and both historic and current versions of the constitutions and related documents.
WorldLII by Country – click on the Constitutional law link under a specific country to access open access resources.
Constitutions of EU member countries are collected at the European Constitutional Law Network's website (open access).
Holzinger, Katharina, Florian Kern, and Daniela Kromrey (2013) Database of the Constitutions of Sub-Saharan Africa (DCSSA) (open access).
The Political Database of the Americas - Constitutions and Constitutional Study (open access) contains the original and amended constitutions of the 35 nations of the Americas. The site also has a bibliography of reference materials on constitutional law in the Americas.
Warning - the databases listed in this box may not include the current version of a country's constitution. If it is important that you refer to the current version, ensure you access constitutions from the individual countries' official government legislation websites. Also note that English translations will rarely be official.
Oxford Constitutions of the World (UniMelb staff & student access)
This database contains regularly updated, fully-translated English-language versions of all of the world’s constitutions. The constitutions are accompanied by individual commentaries and supplementary materials, including foundation documents, historical constitutions, and amendment Acts/laws, and a collection of scholarly monographs.
The International Encyclopaedia of Laws: Constitutional Law (UniMelb staff & student access)
The constitutions of over 40 countries are reproduced in full, and the Encyclopaedia is in the process of publishing all of the constitutions of the world in English translations. Sub-national Constitutions are also included for many countries such as
This encycopaedia presents a country-by-country survey of constitutional law throughout the world. Each national monograph includes detailed information of the country’s political system, historical background, sources of constitutional law, form of government (outlining the legal status, the competence and the working of central state powers, etc.), citizenship (especially nationality and the legal position of aliens), and specific problems such as the power of the military and the constitutional relation between Church and State.
World Constitutions Illustrated on HeinOnline (UniMelb staff & student access)
This collection contains the current and historic versions of the constitutions of every country in the world in its original language and in English, as well as original source documents, scholarly articles, commentary, full text classic books, external websites, and select bibliographies of other constitutional books covering specific countries and regions as well as general constitutional topics.
The Comparative Constitutions Project collects data on the formal characteristics of written constitutions, both current and historical, for most independent states since 1789 to today, to inform research into the origins and consequences of constitutional law and the design of constitutions in developing and transitioning democracies. Its Constitute website (open access) includes:
The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (UniMelb staff & student access) contains analytical coverage of constitutional law topics in a comparative context, arranged alphabetically by topic. The encyclopedia articles provide analysis of key cases that have contributed to or advanced constitutional law concepts on a global scale, and key instruments in constitutional law history such as the Magna Carta, the Charter of Medina, and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. The Encyclopedia can be browsed by subject and searched by keywords. It provides navigation between encyclopedia articles and commentaries and instruments from the Oxford Constitutions of the World and the Oxford Law Citator.
The Political Database of the Americas - Constitutions and Constitutional Study (open access) "compares the constitutions of countries in the Americas with presidential regimes...it provides a set of constitutional articles in a comparative framework organized by over 200 substantive themes such as human rights, decentralization, separation of powers and electoral systems."
Democratic Decay Resource (DEM-DEC) is a global resource containing a range of materials related to the incremental deterioration of democratic rule worldwide ('democratic decay').
The site includes a very useful bibliography of published research on democratic decay. The bibliography spans constitutional, international and transnational law, political science, and policy, but has a strong focus on research by public lawyers. The bibliography is updated regularly based on new additions and suggestions from users of the site. See the bibliography updates here.
The annual Global Constitutionalism Seminar is a forum where some of the world’s foremost jurists discuss the most important legal issues of the day with leading academic lawyers. The Seminar brings together a small group of Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges from around the world and Yale Law School faculty members. More on the Seminars.
Publications from the Seminars are available in full text on open access:
Judith Resnik and Clare Ryan (eds), Reconstituting Constitutional Orders (Yale Global Constitutionalism 2017)
Judith Resnik (ed), Acts of State, Acts of God (Yale Global Constitutionalism 2016)
Judith Resnik (ed), The Reach of Rights (Global Constitutionalism 2015)
Judith Resnik (ed), Sources of Law and of Rights (Global Constitutionalism 2014)
Judith Resnik (ed), Government’s Authority (Global Constitutionalism 2013)
Judith Resnik (ed), Law's Borders (Global Constitutionalism 2012)
The Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne (CCCS) undertakes and promotes research on the constitutional law and government of Australia and of other countries and provides a focal point for scholars and practitioners interested in these areas. The Centre seeks to focus greater attention on Australian constitutional law and government and of other countries whose systems are most relevant to Australia. This is reflected in the Centre's current objectives which it pursues through its many activities.
The Centre publishes a quarterly Newsletter.
This Research Guide was created and is maintained by Robin Gardner, MLS Academic Research Service, Melbourne Law School. Please contact Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org with corrections, suggestions or comments about the Guide.