4 Potchefstroom Elec. L.J. 1 (2001)

handle is hein.journals/per2001 and id is 1 raw text is: UTILIZING CONSTITUTIONAL VALUES IN CONSTITUTIONAL
Francois Venter
1. Constitutional comparison
We are living in an era in which constitutional law has become a comparative science.
This is not true only for developing constitutional states, but for the constitutional law
of all constitutional states.  The reason for this is that the history of modem
constitutionalism has reached a global fullness of development, from which emanates
a distinct set of commonalities, principles, standards and values that have gained
currency in constitutional dialogue all over the world. Perhaps the best proof of this
ripeness of constitutionalism is to be found in the signs that new, postmodem thinking
about the state, the law and the sustainability of the established tenets of
constitutionalism is pushing at the gates of globally received constitutional doctrine.1
Despite this push for a postmodem replacement of modernist constitutional thinking,
which is essentially the product of Euro-American thinking over many centuries, the
contemporary constitutionalist inevitably continues to operate with this product. It
entails constitutionally enshrined values, entrenched fundamental rights, judicial
review, the separation of powers, democratic processes, etc. Exactly because these
and similar constitutional notions share a multi-national history and universal
acceptance as standards for sound constitutional structuring, the constitutional lawyer
cannot but be a comparatist. The practice of constitutional comparison has become
the norm in some, especially European, jurisdictions. There are however many
jurisdictions where this is not the case and where the basic principles of the
comparative practice are not well known. It is therefore worth the exercise to briefly
introduce some of these principles before proceeding.
1  Cf Venter 257-262
2  The approach to constitutional comparison followed here, is more extensively dealt with in
Venter F Constitutional Comparison (Juta and Kluwer Cape Town, Cambridge (MA) and
Dordrecht 2000) Chapter 1.

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