The content of a constitution provides a blueprint for the operation of a state, guarantees rights and outlines mechanisms for their enforcement, as well as shapes the future of a nation.

Constitutions that emerge after conflict are often a result of negotiated settlements and competition between many forces including identity-based groups, former parties to conflict, political and military actors and international actors.

This Handbook provides an essential foundation for understanding constitutions and constitution building. Full of world examples of groundbreaking agreements and innovative provisions adopted during processes of constitutional change, the Guide offers a wide range of examples of how constitutions develop and how their development can establish and entrench democratic values. 

Beyond comparative examples, the Handbook contains in-depth analysis of key components of constitutions and the forces of change that shape them. It analyses the adoption of the substantive elements of a new constitution by looking at forces for the aggregation or dissemination of governmental power, and forces for greater legalization or politicization of governmental power, and examining how these forces influence the content of the constitution. 

This handbook is designed as a box which includes seven separate chapters. Separate chapters are also available in print.  


Publication date
15 December 2011
Markus Böckenförde,Nora Hedling, Winluck Wahiu
Number of pages
978-91-86565-51-0 (E-Book)
978-91-86565-38-1 (Print)





Acronyms and abbreviations

1. An Introduction 
Winluck Wahiu

2. Principles and Cross-cutting Themes 
Nora Hedling

3. Building a Culture of Human Rights 
Winluck Wahiu

4. The Design of the Executive Branch 
Markus Böckenförde

5. The Design of the Legislature 
Markus Böckenförde

6. The Design of the Judicial Branch 
Nora Hedling

7. Decentralized Forms of Government 
Markus Böckenförde


About the authors

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A Practical Guide to Constitution Building

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