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Constitutionalism and Approaches to Rights in the Nordic Countries

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Chapter Summary

It is possible to distinguish three separate processes through which the Nordic countries have undergone a process of 'Europeisation' within their legal ideology and approach to individual rights. First, during the 1990s it was recognised in all of the Nordic countries that international human rights treaties influence the application of the law, including the operation of courts. Through a series of constitutional amendments Sweden adopted a new Constitution in the 1970s. Although the new Constitution Act includes a lengthy catalogue of fundamental rights the reform did not mean big changes in the legal thinking on rights. The third process that has brought about changes in the legal thinking and conception of rights is European economic integration. Some say that the growing role of the courts means that the judiciary is obtaining more political power, while others think that what is moving is the dividing line between politics and law.

Keywords:constitutional amendments; European economic integration; international human rights; legal ideology; Nordic countries; political power



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