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Protection of Fundamental Rights and Constitution-amending Process: A Theoretical Hypothesis about Constitutional Borrowing

2015 / Vol. 27, No. 4, (98)
Digital Edition

Protection of Fundamental Rights
and Constitution-amending Process:
A Theoretical Hypothesis about Constitutional Borrowing

Andrea Cardone

Associate Professor of Constitutional Law, Department of Law, University of Florence,


This article aims to explore the role that may be played by foreign constitutional experience in relation to the protection of fundamental rights within constitution-amending processes. To this end, it discusses the conditions under which foreign constitutional law can be properly borrowed both from the point of view of the constitutional theory and the method of public comparative law. The study intends to demonstrate that both disciplines converge in requiring the application of at least three conditions to assume that the imitation of a foreign Constitution can contribute to raise the level of protection. In particular, the paper concludes that the imitation of foreign constitutional law within the constitution-amending processes is supposed to respect three elements: the historical, economic and social back­ground, the structure of the judicial system and the role of the doctrine. Only through this approach can the actual content of foreign Constitutions (instead of abstract models) really contribute to enhance the protection of fundamental rights in contemporary pluralistic legal systems.


Cet article vise à explorer le rôle que pourrait jouer lexpérience constitutionnelle étrangère en matière de protection des droits fondamentaux dans les processus damendement constitutionnel. A cette fin, il discute les conditions dans lesquelles le droit constitutionnel étranger pourrait être correctement emprunté du point de vue à la fois de la doctrine constitutionnelle et de la méthode du droit public comparé. Cette étude tend à démontrer que les deux disciplines saccordent à exiger lapplication dau moins trois conditions garantissant que limitation dune Constitution étrangère pourra contribuer à élever le niveau de protection. En particulier, larticle conclut que limitation dun droit constitutionnel étranger dans les processus damendement constitutionnel est supposée respecter trois éléments: larrière-plan historique, économique et social, la structure du système judiciaire et le rôle de la doctrine. Seule cette approche peut permettre au contenu réel des Constitutions étrangères (au lieu de modèles abstraits) de contribuer à accroître la protection des droits fondamentaux dans les systèmes juridiques pluriels contemporains.


[* This article develops a paper presented at the IXth World Congress of Constitutional Law Constitutional Challenges: Global and Local (June 2014, University of Oslo) and it is published in the ERPL upon the Conference organizers authorization.]

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