A Theory for the Comparative Study of Informal Constitutional Change

It has been recently suggested that ‘comparative constitutional change’ has developed into a distinct field of constitutional law. In parallel, there has been a growing recognition amongst constitutional scholars of an important distinction between the formal and informal aspects of a constitution. The informal constitution is now understood to comprise those aspects of a constitution that are ‘beyond’ or ‘outside’ the formally recognised sources of a constitution, such as the institutional practices of the state (i.e. ‘constitutional conventions’), or ‘quasi-constitutional’ legislation that carries out the function of regulating the fundamental governance structures of the state.

This paper hopes to provide a conceptual framework for future comparative inquires into informal constitutional change, paying particular attention to the mechanisms behind informal constitutional change and the interaction between formal and informal aspects of constitutional change.