The Constitution as an Instrument of Change

Eivind Smith (ed.)

In countries like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, it seems evident to regard the Constitution as an instrument of change away from their time as Soviet republics. In countries with a less painful past, it is rather seen as a symbol of past achievements (Norway) or as a description of how the polity regards itself as governed (Sweden).

Lawyers tend to regard the Constitution as a set of legal norms, but often neglect the political setting. Politicians see the constitution as a political instrument, but often fail to take a legal approach into account. None of these perspectives alone can provide a good understanding of the functioning of the constitution in any given society. It rather depends on the blend that we may call the constitutional culture.

This book studies the role of constitutional arguments in politics and in adjudication. Scholars, prominent judges and political actors discuss the interaction between the two main focuses in new-born and more settled democracies.

Eivind Smith is a Professor of Public Law at the University of Oslo.

Other authors: TomaBirmontiene, Lars Oftedal Broch, Aivars Endzins, Liia Hänni, Andrius Kubilis, Egidijus Kuris, Gunars Kusins, Uno Lõhmus, Rait Maruste, Janis Penikis, Bjørn Erik Rasch, Peeter Roosma, Stasys Staciokas, Gintaras Steponavicius, Caroline Taube, Tom Thoresen and Anita Usacka.