Posted by / Tuesday, 5 July 2016 / No comments

The sources of a constitution


A constitution can be defined as rules, regulations, customs and conventions according to which a country is governed. A constitution may be written or unwritten one. It is called a written constitution when all the laws are codified into a single document but where it is made up mainly of conventions and customs with a few written ones, and then it is called an unwritten constitution.

Constitutions of other countries
Framers of a country's constitution may study the constitution of other countries and pick up best practices which are then incorporated into the new constitution. It is believed that parts of the I960 Constitution of Ghana were derived from the content of the American, French and British Constitutions. 

Opinions of political and constitutional writers
Another source of country's constitution is the writings of great political thinkers. Concepts such as Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, Rule of Law, Socialism, Capitalism etc, were were proposed by great writers on politics. The writings of Karl Marx, for example, influenced the constitution of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.

Previous constitutions
Another source of a constitution is a previous constitution. In coming out with a new constitution after a previous one has failed or after a long period of military rule, the earlier constitution is studied and aspects that are relevant are incorporated into the new one. It is believed that 1960 constitution of the republic of Ghana, influenced the some of the provisions of the 1969 constitution. 

Customs and conventions
The customs and practices of the people can also be the source of a constitution. These are the portions of the constitution that have not been written down but which over the years have been accepted as aspects of the constitution.

Judicial Precedents
These are ruling of the courts that have found their ways into the constitution. In constitutional cases, especially, whenever a judiciary rules on a matter before it, that then becomes the new law. That decision is used was the bases of another decision in the future, especially where the cases are similar.

Decisions of a constituent Assembly
Another source of a constitution is the decision of a constituent Assembly that has been put together to draft a constitution for a country. Proposals are forwarded to the constituent assembly from various quarters of the country and these proposals are thoroughly discussed and decisions arrived at as to what to include and what not to include in the proposed constitution.

Related Posts