Constitutional Duties

The idea that citizens possess duties, in addition to rights, appears to be growing in popularity. As we are witnessing a growing backlash against the liberal constitutional model that heavily emphasizes individual rights, religious and conservative voices are calling for an emphasis on individual duties and responsibilities. This Article shows that duties for individuals have always been common in national constitutions. No less than 64 percent of all constitutions include at least one duty; such as the duty to “respect the constitution,” “defend the country,” and “pay taxes.” Drawing on original data that captures the historical trajectory of constitutional duties in national constitutions, we document the first instances of adoption and their global spread. We code what type of duties are most common and their evolution. Although legal scholarship has had little to say about constitutional duties, they have long been part of a liberal constitutionalism enforced by many courts.

Internally imposed constitutions

The paper explores the use of animal symbolism and references to the treatment of animals in constitutional systems across the globe. It argues that the study of “constitutional zoology” provides key insights into the role of animal symbolism in constitutions for manufacturing the identity of the nation, which often masks forms of ethnocultural nationalism. Constitutional references to animals through directive principles of state policy and constitutional provisions regulating the treatment of animals sheds light on the state’s identity as a developmental state, environmentally conscious state or animal-friendly state. The paper presents a taxonomy of ‘constitutional zoology’ that classifies the different ways in which constitutional systems refer to animals and regulate their treatment. It reveals that the symbolic use of animals often has a concrete impact on people’s lives and that such clauses contain a degree of symbolism aimed at promoting a certain identity of the state.

Courts and Constitutional Adjudication in Contemporary Malaysia and Singapore

This paper explores constitutional adjudication in the contemporary constitutional contexts of Malaysia and Singapore. It focuses on judicial decisionmaking in these post-colonial constitutional systems on issues engaging fundamental liberties and judicial articulation of the basic structure of these constitutions. The role of the courts can only properly be understood by situating their judgments in the wider political and historical context of these dominant ruling party states. The weight of executive dominance in these developing democracies has meant that the political branches have had little incentive to subordinate themselves willingly to principles of legality. Institutional arrangements of power in these states highlight the significance, and the fragility, of the judicial role in upholding and negotiating the constitutional boundaries of power.