Elgar Research Handbook on Constitutional Interpretation

Accounts of constitutional interpretation in comparative constitutional law consist of literatures drawing on Bobbitt’s account of US constitutional interpretation rooted in interpretive tools (text, purpose, history & precedent, principle, structure) & describing constitutional court jurisprudence in strategic terms in which interpretation is secondary. This paper bridges these different approaches & builds a contemporary account around: (a) the overarching political & legal context of the court (peace & transitional justice, federalism, aversive constitutionalism, democratic backsliding, social transformation, popular constitutionalism & the dominant legal professional culture), (b) internal aids (statutory v. constitutional interpretation, living constitutionalism, text/history/precedent, purposive/teleological interpretation, founding provisions & preambles, directive principles, unamendability) & (c) external aids (regional human rights treaties & courts, & international law).