This Primer discusses independent regulatory and oversight institutions. These are public bodies, politically neutral and independent from the three main branches of government, whose purpose is to ensure the integrity—and improve the quality and resilience—of democratic governance.

International IDEA’s Constitution-Building Primers are designed to assist in-country constitution-building or constitutional-reform processes by helping citizens, political parties, civil society organizations, public officials and members of constituent assemblies make informed constitutional choices. They also provide guidance for staff of intergovernmental organizations and other external actors working to provide well informed, context-relevant support to local decision-makers.

Each Primer is written as an introduction for non-specialist readers, and as a convenient aide-memoire for those with prior knowledge of, or experience with, constitution-building. Arranged thematically around the practical choices faced by constitution-builders, the Primers aim to explain complex constitutional issues in a quick and easy way.


Publication date
24 September 2019
Elliot Bulmer
Number of pages
978-91-7671-263-4 (PDF)
978-91-7671-262-7 (Print)



1. Introduction

2. What is the issue?

3. Basic design choices

4. Contextual considerations

5. Disadvantages and alternatives

6. Discussion questions

7. Examples

References and further reading

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Independent Regulatory and Oversight (Fourth-Branch) Institutions

International IDEA Constitution-Building Primer 19
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