A limitation clause enables constitutional rights to be partially limited, to a specified extent and for certain limited and democratically justifiable purposes, while prohibiting restrictions that are harmful to democracy by reason on their purpose, nature or extent.

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 wise 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.

This revised and reformatted edition was published in October 2017.


Publication date
01 November 2014
Dawood Ahmed, Elliot W. Bulmer
Number of pages
978-91-7671-116-3 (Print)



1. Introduction

2. What is the issue?

3. Rights and their limits

4. Designing limitation clauses

5. Contextual considerations

6. Comparative jurisprudence

7. Decision-making questions

8. Examples



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Limitation Clauses

International IDEA Constitution-Building Primer 11
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