The Constitution and the System of Values: a Source of Law and Constitutional Interpretation Cover Image

Устав и вредносни поредак - извор и уставносудска интерпретација
The Constitution and the System of Values: a Source of Law and Constitutional Interpretation

Author(s): Irena Pejić
Subject(s): Constitutional Law
Published by: Правни факултет Универзитета у Источном Сарајеву
Keywords: Constituent power; Constitutional interpretation; Constitutional Court; System of values; Fundamental constitutional principles;
Summary/Abstract: The Constitution is not only the major source of positive law but also the cornerstone of the value system resting on the basic principles of liberal representative democracy, human rights’ guarantees, and the rule of law. However, the constituent power decision about the elements of the value system embodied in the Constitution is not final, nor is it finished by the formal act of adopting the constitutional document as the fundamental and supreme general legal act, because ample issues related to the envisaged constitutional values arise from the elaboration, implementation and interpretation of the basic constitutional principles. In the context of considering the value system, the Constitution is the foundation for developing value-driven conceptions and value judgments, and citizens’ perceptions and understanding of values enshrined in the Constitution.This paper is an attempt to shed light on the correlations between three distinctive aspects of constitutional framework: the system of values – the constituent power – the constitutional court. Firstly, we consider the conditions governing the constituent power decision to design a constitution and establish a constitutional value system, and underscore the role of non-legal factors that contribute to shaping these values and have a significant effect on the interpretative evolution of the fundamental constitutional principles. The designing of the initial constitutional document is only a normative framework for developing the fundamental values of a new legal system. Therefore, these two dimensions (the constitutional document and the constitutional values) could not be considered separately because they are cor- related and mutually complementary. Despite this fact that the fundamental principles of the constitutional state are envisaged in all constitutional documents adopted at the end of the 20th century, it certainly does not mean that the citizens in those states have the same value judgments about their importance. In addition to the constitutional legitimacy, it is important to consider the constitutional interpretation by the constitutional court and its importance in preserving and developing the constitutional values.