Dawn Oliver and Carlo Fusaro (eds), How Constitutions Change: A Comparative Study, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011, 510 pp, hb £55.00.

AuthorYaniv Roznai
Publication Date01 Sep 2012
demarcations. The commitment to an identical analytical framework for most
chapters also means that the content is occasionally fairly abstract and specu-
lative. For much of Chapter 2, the conclusion is that international treaties really
have very little to say about overlaps and permit them through inadvertence.
Similarly certain sub-categories of overlaps (negative and a posteriori in par-
ticular) have not been considered by courts or scholars in any detail, yet they
appear repetitively across the chapters. However, if one were to approach
this as a reference work or something akin to a treatise which is to be dipped
into, then these would be unfair criticisms; perhaps that is the intention
here. Finally, one prominent and controversial overlap – that of Trade Marks
and Geographical Indications, where both regimes regulate the use of geo-
graphical signs used in commercial contexts – has been questionably denied
overlap status (5).Yet these are minor quibbles as this book will be a genuinely
valuable addition to the bookshelves of both practitioners and academics.
It responds to a gap in the current scholarship by identifying rules and prin-
ciples to mediate overlaps, is exceptionally well researched, meaningfully
comparative and clearly structured. It should become the established reference
point on this topic and one hopes that an updated second edition is being
Dev Gangjee*
Dawn Oliver and Carlo Fusaro (eds),How Constitutions Change:A Comparative
Study, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011, 510 pp, hb £55.00.
In 1895, Charles Borgeaud’s Adoption and Amendment of Constitutions in Europe
and America was published. This ambitious attempt to explore the theory and
practice of constitutional amendment in a comparative perspective was wel-
comed in Britain with great pleasure due to the importance of its subject. In a
review of the book,A. V. Dicey contended that ‘the plain truth is that a thinker
who explains how constitutions are amended inevitably touches upon one of the
central points of constitutional law’ (‘Constitutional Revision’ (1895) 11 LQR
387, 388).This is no less true today.The question‘how constitutions change’ goes
to the core of constitutionalism and democracy.The‘rule of change’, to use Hart’s
terminology, is not merely a technical apprehension of balancing constitutional
stability and flexibility; rather it directly implicates the nature of system of
government. It touches upon critical topics such as ‘sovereignty’, ‘constitutional
rights’ and ‘judicial review’. It is relevant both to old and new constitutions,
monarchical and republican, parliamentary and presidential, federal and unitary,
written and unwritten. Raising practical issues as well as theoretical concerns, it
goes to the very foundation of any legal system.A great deal could be achieved,
then, by a comparative study.
*Law Department, London School of Economics.
© 2012 TheAuthors. The Modern Law Review © 2012The Modern Law Review Limited. 945
(2012) 75(5) MLR 936–950

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