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The Oxford Handbook of Caribbean Constitutions



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The Oxford Handbook of Caribbean Constitutions offers a detailed and analytical view of the constitutions of the Caribbean region, examining the constitutional development of its diverse countries. The Handbook explains the features of the region’s constitutions and examines themes emerging from the Caribbean’s experience with constitutional interpretation and reform.

Beginning with a Foreword from the former President of the Caribbean Court of Justice and an Introduction by the lead editor, Richard Albert, the remainder of the book is divided into four parts. Part I, ‘Caribbean Constitutions in the World’, highlights what is distinctive about the constitutions of the Caribbean. Part II covers the constitutions of the Caribbean in detail, offering a rich analysis of the constitutional history, design, controversies, and future challenges in each country or group of countries. Each chapter in this section addresses topics such as the impact of key historical and political events on the constitutional landscape for the jurisdiction, a systematic account of the interaction between the legislature and the executive, the civil service, the electoral system, and the independence of the judiciary.

Part III addresses fundamental rights debates and developments in the region, including the death penalty and socio-economic rights. Finally, Part IV features critical reflections on the challenges and prospects for the region, including the work of the Caribbean Court of Justice and the future of constitutional reform.

This is the first book of its kind, bringing together in a single volume a comprehensive review of the constitutional development of the entire Caribbean region, from the Bahamas in the north to Guyana and Suriname in South America, and all the islands in between. While written in English, the book embraces the linguistic and cultural diversity of the region, and covers the Anglophone Caribbean as well as the Spanish-, French-, and Dutch-speaking Caribbean countries.

About the Authors

Richard Albert is the William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. He has published more than one dozen books, including Constitutional Amendments: Making, Breaking, and Changing Constitutions. He has held visiting appointments at Yale University, the University of Toronto, the Externado University of Colombia, and the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel. Richard Albert holds law and political science degrees from Yale, Oxford and Harvard, and is a former law clerk to the Chief Justice of Canada.

Derek O’Brien is a Reader in Public Law at Oxford Brookes University. Following qualification as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales he has held lecturing positions in the United Kingdom, France, and the Caribbean. O’Brien has written numerous journal articles and book chapters on issues relating to Caribbean constitutional law and regional integration, and he is the author of a monograph, Constitutional Law Systems of the Commonwealth Caribbean. He has previously served on the editorial board of the Commonwealth Human Right Digest and is presently a member of the editorial boards of the Caribbean Law Review and the Cayman Islands Law Review.

Se-shauna Wheatle is an Associate Professor of Public Law at Durham Law School. She received her Bachelor of Laws at the University of the West Indies before attending the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar to read for the Bachelor of Civil Law and Doctor of Philosophy in Law. Her research interests include comparative constitutionalism, unwritten constitutional principles, Commonwealth Caribbean constitutional law, and UK public law. Her monograph, Principled Reasoning in Human Rights Adjudication, was shortlisted for the Society of Legal Scholars Birks Prize in 2018. She has also published articles in journals such as Public Law, the Journal of Comparative Law and the European Human Rights Law Review.

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