Forthcoming in the Peer-Review Edited Collection by Richard Albert, Xenophon Contiades, Alkmini Fontiadou (eds), The Foundations and Traditions of Constitutional Amendment (Hart Publishing 2017)
34 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2016
Date Written: July 25, 2016
This chapter explores the use of sunrise clauses as instruments of constitutional change. These dispositions allow the constituent power to defer the coming into effect of constitutional provisions. Contrary to by-law clauses, which delegate constitutional decisions to the legislator, sunrise clauses do not always require legislative or executive interference. The delayed commencement of sunrise provisions can be either automatic (e.g., ratification by all provinces) or contingent upon the verification of legal or factual conditions imposed by the constituent power (e.g., a referendum).
While these provisions are relatively unknown in the literature on comparative constitutional law, this chapter suggests that multiple constitutions contain automatic or contingent sunrise clauses. This is the case of the Belgian, Georgian, Indian, Irish, and the U. S. constitutions. While the constitutionality of sunrise clauses has been challenged in Ireland and South Africa, I argue that the inclusion of sunrise clauses is a legitimate form of the exercise of the constituent power.
Keywords: sunrise clauses; constitutional change; constitutional amendment; constituent power; sunset clauses; comparative law
JEL Classification: K1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation