- Peter Ferdinand, Peter FerdinandEmeritus Reader in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick
- Robert GarnerRobert GarnerProfessor of Politics, University of Leicester
- and Stephanie LawsonStephanie LawsonProfessor of Politics and International Studies, Macquarie University
This chapter explores the interrelationships between law, constitutions, and federalism. It first explains the importance of constitutions in shaping the basic structure of the state and the fundamental rights of citizens that they establish before discussing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular asking whether it is Western-centric. It then considers the ways in which states may attempt to realize justice in applying the law, with emphasis on the distinction between Islamic and Western practice. It also examines the role of constitutional courts and judicial review, legal adjudication of political problems, how the institution of federalism is used to contain the powers of the state and to manage diverse societies, and consociationalism as an alternative approach to handling social diversity. Finally, it analyses the increasing legalization of political life.