Matinées Constitutionnelles: "Four questions about unwritten constitutional principles"


Chancellor Day Hall Salle Stephen Scott (OCDH 16), 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

The Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP) invites you to the second conference of its Les matinées constitutionnelles 2012-2013 series, which will be presented by Professor Han-Ru Zhou, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal.

For more information: isabelle.lemelin.1 [at]; (514) 343-7670.


It is often said that most legal systems have a “partly written, partly unwritten” constitution. The written part typically refers to the “Constitution”, a foundational document (or set of documents) sitting at the apex of a country's hierarchy of legal norms. However, these constitutional documents are often considered as incomplete in the sense that their Framers did not and could not conceivably foresee all the situations for which each section may apply, nor how it should apply.

Moreover, the Framers themselves probably intended to address only a limited number of matters. It follows that (the interpretation of) these constitutional documents would need to be complemented with law that many judges and legal scholars characterise as “unwritten”.

This presentation will discuss four interrelated questions concerning the notion of unwritten constitutional principles. Firstly, what are unwritten constitutional principles? Secondly, do they exist? Thirdly, how can (or how do) they operate? And fourthly, how should they operate?

See the poster [.png].

A request for accreditation for CLE purposes has been made to the Barreau du Québec.