Constitutional advice involves the fitting of general propositions about institutions to specific contexts. This involves an exchange of sorts, with international advisors supplying knowledge that is demanded by drafters and their audiences. What is the epistemic basis for this knowledge? How can we know what will work or not? This essay considers these issues.
What is international influence? Is it colonial or post-colonial legacies? Is it international donors? Neighbouring countries? How has the international influenced the seemingly intertwined constitution making cultures and processes of South Asia, especially in India, Pakistan and Nepal. Each of these countries have had a British influence. But, equally India's constitution crafters were intent on keeping out 'British experts' while their constitution was being drafted between 1946 to 1949. Meanwhile, Pakistan's constitution making project attracted the attention of foreign scholars. And Nepal had international donors deeply invested in their constitution making processes. What are the lessons learned from the experiences of these three countries? And what are the implications of these lessons for South Asia in particular and the world more generally?
National constitution is an important legal instrument in the establishment of constitutional order and democratic governance in post-conflict societies. Constitution making in any country let alone a post conflict one is a major exercise. It presents a myriad of challenges both in terms of expertise, resources and logistical support required for the process. Invariably in the drafting of post conflict constitutions external actors play an important role. This paper looks at the role of external actors in the process. External actors can illuminate the constitution making process with lessons from elsewhere, and empower local actors by providing independent and non-partisan support for constitutional principles. They can, however, also play a negative role and be guilty of imposing their preferred constitutional models. This paper, without being prescriptive, looks at lessons learned from various constitutional making processes.
Since the end of the cold war, we have witnessed a significant growth in the number of international organizations and constitutional specialists consulting national processes of constitutional drafting. Scholars have recognized the increasing institutionalization and professionalization of the field, yet we know little about the scope of foreign advising organizations, their activities, and the impact they make on domestic processes of constitutional drafting. This paper begins to address this lacuna by systematically exploring, for the first time, the growing field of international constitutional advising. Based on an original dataset of 45 organizations involved in 690 projects of external advising to constitution making in 144 countries between 1989-2017, the paper maps the landscape of players involved in the business of international constitutional advising and theorizes the interplay between foreign and domestic actors.