Course: Constitution-Making 2018
Melbourne Law Masters 7-13 November 2018
Cheryl Saunders and Christina Murray taught an intensive course on Constitution Making this year. Currently, constitution-making is actively underway in a range of states and pending in others. This concentrated burst of activity has given rise to a range of new ideas about the nature and purpose of constitutions, constitutional solutions to contemporary problems, the processes of constitution-making and the role of international actors.
The course explores the process of constitution making, by reference to a range of topical case studies with which one or both of the instructors have had direct experience, including Fiji, Iraq, Kenya, Nepal, Timor l’Este and Yemen.
Cheryl Saunders is a Laureate Professor Emeritus at Melbourne Law School and co-convenor of the Constitution Transformation Network. She works in the fields of comparative constitutional law and comparative public law more generally. She is a President Emeritus of the International Association of Constitutional Law and a former President of the International Association for Centres of Federal Studies. She is a senior technical advisor to the Constitution Building Program of International IDEA and a former Board Member of International IDEA.
Cheryl’s work in the field is characterised by two assumptions. The first is that comparative constitutional law should be as global as possible in its reach, in both theory and practice. The second is the importance of context in comparative constitutional law, including recognition and appreciation of difference, despite the realities of globalisation. Both inform her involvement in the activities of the Constitution Transformation Network. She participates in networks of constitutional scholars and practitioners throughout the world. She has written widely on aspects of comparative constitutional law, with a particular focus on constitution transformation in Asia and the Pacific. She has had practical involvement in constitution making and change in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and the middle east as an advisor with comparative expertise and an appreciation of how that can effectively be shared.
Current projects in which Cheryl is engaged that relate to the work of Constitution Transformation Network include an examination of the processes of constitutional transition in the face of territorial cleavages (with International IDEA, Center for Constitutional Transitions); an examination of the appropriate use of external advice in constitution building processes (with International IDEA, IACL, Venice Commission); and the concept of a constitution in an age of transnational practice (for Center on Globalization, Law and Society, UCI).
Christina Murray is Professor of Human Rights and Constitutional Law at the University of Cape Town and has served three terms as a senior member of the United Nations Standby Team of Mediation Experts, with a focus on constitution-making process and constitutional design. Between 1994 and 1996 she served on a panel of seven experts advising the South African Constitutional Assembly; in 2009 and 2010 she was a member of the Committee of Experts that prepared the 2010 Constitution of Kenya; and in 2012 she served on the Constitution Commission of Fiji. She has advised on constitutional matters in other countries including Yemen, Libya, Nepal, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. She has taught and written on human rights law (particularly issues relating to gender equality, violence against women, constitutional rights for women and African customary law), international law, constitution-making and constitutional law, including systems of government, multi-level government, fiscal federalism and traditional leadership.