Laurence Morel

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199578610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law


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The referendum is a classical issue in constitutional law and political science, but its importance in liberal democracies has increased a lot in the recent period. Both its provisions and regulations in constitutions or other legislative texts, and its effective practice, at the national, but most of all subnational level (e.g., state or region), have greatly increased, albeit substantial country differences persist. Before considering these developments of the provisions and the practice of referendums, this article first reviews what most prominent constitutionalists and democratic theorists have said about the referendum. It then considers the question of judicial control, which, following the general trend, has dramatically gained relevance in the specific case of referendums in the past two or three decades.

Keywords: constitutional law; referendums; liberal democracy; judicial control

Article.  14168 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Comparative Law ; Constitutional and Administrative Law

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