PRAVNI ZAPISI • Year V • No. 2 • pp. 432-447
FUNCTIONS OF THE PREAMBLES OF MODERN CONSTITUTIONS
Dr Vladimir Mikić
Stručni saradnik, Sektor za studije i nauku Univerziteta u Beogradu
Pravni zapisi, No. 2/2014, pp. 432-447
The article has the purpose to examine the typical content of the preamble of modern constitutional documents, as well as to underline the catalogue of functions a constituonal preamble may have. Since preambles tend to serve to fulfil both legal and extra-legal tasks, it is of particular interest to remind the reader of possible legal effects of preambles in comparative constitutional law, especially in the field of constitutional interpretation (by competent judicial bodies). Therefore, preambles may help to give a specific meaning to certain legal notions contained in the so-called operative (directly applicable) norms of constitutions. However, some preambular texts seem much anachronistic, i.e. they provide little help in interpreting a constitution, or giving meaningful aid in nonconflictual application of its norms. This does not only apply to religious discours or manifestly political phrases that may occupy the wording of a preamble. Other type of content may be helpful in promoting the protection of individual rights, rule of law, or international legal cooperation. It may be concluded, however, that the results of the comparative methodology used in the article suggest that preambles usually provide a useful tool in explaining (reading) the constitution, even if which often happens to be the case their content is not easily explainable (readable). The analysis includes numerous positive national constitutional texts adopted throughout the world.