A Theory 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 carry out the function of regulating the fundamental governance structures of the state.

This paper will offer 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 a constitution.