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Constitutional interpretation

Constitutional Law

2010

Singapore Management University

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When The Text Runs Out: The Role Of The Court In Constitutional Construction, Jack Tsen-Ta Lee May 2010

When The Text Runs Out: The Role Of The Court In Constitutional Construction, Jack Tsen-Ta Lee

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

Constitutions in Westminster-style legal systems in Asia such as India, Malaysia and Singapore feature bills of rights with provisions phrased at a high level of abstraction. As a consequence, at some stage a particular constitutional text ‘runs out’ and ceases to provide a court with substantive guidance as to how fundamental liberties should be applied to specific factual scenarios. Nonetheless, as it remains the court’s duty to understand the implications of the constitutional text in order to determine the dispute before it, the judge must necessarily engage in constitutional construction. This may be described as the process of articulating rules …