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Jan-Erik Lane begins by examining the origins and history of constitutionalism, the doctrine that the state must be regulated by means of a set of institutions that guarantee citizen rights and procedural accountability. He then examines the structure of the state in order to identify the essential elements that constitutional institutions regulate. Lane asks why constitutions exist, and how they matter for society. Finally he seeks out the requirements for a fair and democratic constitution by referring to three key concepts in political theory: justice, equality and the rule of law. The book also offers a comparative survey of formal constitutional arrangements in different countries, and an analysis of how constitutions develop in practice, through the implementation of constitutional and administrative law in a country's courts.