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Constitutional Preambles

A Comparative Analysis Wim Voermans, Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law, Leiden Law School, Maarten Stremler, Researcher and Lecturer in Constitutional Law, Tilburg Law School and Paul Cliteur, Professor of Jurisprudence, Leiden Law School, the Netherlands
While their use and significance have increased in recent decades, constitutional preambles have received only scant attention in academic literature. This presents a uniquely quantitative and qualitative analysis of all the preambles currently in force around the world and addresses fascinating questions concerning their occurrence, content, style, function and legal status. Studying preambles not only helps us understand the phenomenon itself, but also teaches us more about constitutions and the constitutional systems in which they are situated.
Extent: 320 pp
Hardback Price: $140.00 Web: $126.00
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78536 814 1
Availability: In Stock
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  • Law - Academic
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • Politics and Public Policy
While their use and significance have increased in recent decades, constitutional preambles have received only scant attention in academic literature. This presents a uniquely quantitative and qualitative analysis of all the preambles currently in force around the world and addresses fascinating questions concerning their occurrence, content, style, function and legal status. Studying preambles not only helps us understand the phenomenon itself, but also teaches us more about constitutions and the constitutional systems in which they are situated.

Constitutional Preambles illuminates the great variety that constitutional preambles display. The authors discuss the different styles, legal and non-legal functions, and content of the preambles, as well as their use in the courts. This work also contains a carefully curated anthology of the world’s preambles in English.
‘Preambles are sometimes called the “mission statements” of the Constitution, but are rarely examined in comparative perspective. In this comprehensive study, Voermans, Stremler and Cliteur integrate quantitative and qualitative analysis to explore the world of constitutional preambles across time and space. The result is a fascinating and entertaining survey that will enlighten students of comparative constitutionalism as well as political idiom and discourse. Highly recommended.’
– Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago Law School, US

‘[The authors] have written the definitive guide to preambles. This book answers so many of the questions we might have about preambles – why and how they are written and by whom, when and where they emerged, and what they contain – and it moreover suggests new ones that will enliven the study of constitutional preambles for many years to come.’
– Richard Albert, Boston College Law School, US

‘What emerges from this crisp and comprehensive account is an appreciation of how the constitutional preamble, perhaps more than any other legal form, declares the existence of the people who commit to abide by a set of collective, public principles. By excavating and elucidating these anchoring constitutional commitments, the book is as much a resource for constitutional theory as for comparative constitutional law.’
– Kevin M. Stack, Vanderbilt University Law School, US
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Preambles: a Stocktaking 3. The Content of Preambles 4. The Language of Preambles 5. The Functions of Preambles 6. Two Prototypes: the US and France 7. Preambles from Other States 8. By Way of Conclusion: the Mystery and End of Preambles Index