Modernization of the material Constitution: Norwegian experience

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Professor at the Department of Constitutional Law
Affiliation: Moscow state Institute of International Relations (University) MFA Russia
Address: Moscow, Russia
Journal nameGosudarstvo i pravo
EditionIssue 1

Norwegian Constitution is a unique example of the document that has been working for more than 200 years. During this time the country has come the way from the absolutistic system of power just up to the modern industrial society. The steps on this way were consecutively imprinted in the text of constitution. These steps were: liberal freedom, the rule of the parliament, Welfare state, the nazi occupation (1940 - 1945) and the foundation of the modern sozialer Rechtsstaat. These changers were dramatically some times for instance: the disunion with Sweden and the declaration of independence – all of them were reflected first in material constitution (rem publicam constituere), and after in the formal text of the constitutional act. Normativizm of H. Kelsen and “Scandinavian legal realism”, as it was called by Th. Geiger, were two bricks in the ground of the theoretical base for the constitutional act classification as material and formal. In Scandinavia the doctrine of Grund Norm has taken the bright form of its customary nature. This norm has definite context that permits the legislator to change and to add constitution. This norm in that way is the motive force and instrument of codification of the whole constitutional corps: the movement in from material to formal substance. It’s important to stress out, that the ideology of this codification has here (in Scandinavia) a firm tradition of the “progressive development of law”. The essence of this development is being understood here as a notion of modernization. For example, we have taken the last one reform of the Norwegian constitution, that was done in conjunction with the spirit of modernization (2006–2016). This reform develops the institute of “the rule of the parliament”, the structure of the parliament, human rights and freedoms, place and role of the Supreme court etc. The main trend in this process of modernization is the Europeanization of the Norwegian legal system. Formally Norway is not a member of the EU, but the country concluded an associative agreement with the EU in 1992 (EØS-avtalen). The practice of an agreement’s realization proves our main thesis

KeywordsConstitution, material and formal constitution, Constitution of Norway, Grund Norm, reality of law and law in force, codification of Constitutional Law, progressive development of law
Publication date05.02.2021
Number of characters55248
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