SOAS University of London

Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS)

Thailand's Crisis: Finding a Path to Constitutionalism

Professor Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago Law School) | Sumit Bisarya  (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance)

Date: 6 December 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 6 December 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: S108, Wolfson Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Seminar

Thailand’s constitutional history is tumultuous, but involves the cycling among a relatively small number of models. The watershed constitution-making experience of 1997 has continued to influence the country long after that constitution’s demise. However, the 2017 document marks a significant break in some ways, away from what might be called a “Madisonian” faith in institutions, and toward a model of paternalistic moralism. Tom Ginsburg examines factors that have contributed to the present situation, and a narrow basis for optimism, if any.

At the same, military regimes elsewhere often promulgate constitutions at the outset of their interventions in politics. Sumit Bisarya offers comparative analysis of military constitutions and ask whether they tell us about commonalities and idiosyncrasies of the 2017 constitution of Thailand.


Professor Tom Ginsburg  (University of Chicago Law School)

Sumit Bisarya  (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance)


Professor Peter Leyland  (SOAS School of Law)

About the Rule of Law in Thailand Project

In the SOAS’ Centenary year, the Centre of East Asian Law (‘CEAL’) at SOAS, University of London is pleased to launch the Rule of Law in Thailand Project. The project seeks to engage academically with rule of law definitions and legal issues in contemporary Thailand such as constitutional changes, justice system, human rights as well as broader issues that affect social ordering from family law to environmental protection. Its aim is to encourage research on law in Thailand, including supporting the efforts of early career researchers and PhD candidates who are working on issues relating to the rule of law and Thailand.

The event is free to attend and open to students, scholars, and members of the public.