Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Courts and Democracies in Asia

$116.00 (C)

Part of Comparative Constitutional Law and Policy

  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107192621

$ 116.00 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • What is the relationship between the strength of a country's democracy and the ability of its courts to address deficiencies in the electoral process? Drawing a distinction between democracies that can be characterised as 'dominant-party' (for example Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong), 'dynamic' (for example India, South Korea, and Taiwan), and 'fragile' (for example Thailand, Pakistan ,and Bangladesh), this book explores how democracy sustains and is sustained by the exercise of judicial power. In dominant-party systems, courts can only pursue 'dialogic' pathways to constrain the government's authoritarian tendencies. On the other hand, in dynamic democracies, courts can more successfully innovate and make systemic changes to the electoral system. Finally, in fragile democracies, where a country regularly oscillates between martial law and civilian rule, their courts tend to consistently overreach, and this often facilitates or precipitates a hostile take-over by the armed forces, and lead to the demise of the rule of law.

    • Goes beyond traditional scholarship's focus on human rights issues in Asia
    • Compares a wide range of democratic systems in Asia
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Po Jen Yap's new book is a must-read in the growing literature on the role of constitutional courts in democratic stabilization. Its fine-grained analyses demonstrates that the political power and vulnerability of courts in protecting democratic processes as well as their own independence is not fixed or prescribable in the abstract, but varies with the state of democratization and party contestation in which they operate.' Stephen Gardbaum, MacArthur Foundation Professor of International Justice and Human Rights, University of California, Los Angeles

    ‘A fascinating tour through the fraught relations between courts and political power. Professor Yap provides a nuanced account of how constitutional courts in Asia balance precariously between semi-authoritarian dominant regimes and the live wire of electoral politics. A magnificent, sophisticated contribution that enriches our understanding of judicial politics in an era of weak democratic institutions.' Samuel Issacharoff, Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University

    ‘Po Jen Yap's analysis of the role of Asian courts in three types of democracies illuminates how the possibilities for effective judicial action in connection with major political issues varies according to the type of democracy in which the courts are located. It is an important contribution to the project of integrating comparative constitutional law with comparative political studies.' Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard University, Massachusetts

    'Professor Yap’s elegant, concise book is an important contribution to comparative constitutional studies … Yap’s book is a major advance in integrating Asian constitutionalism into comparative constitutionalism more generally and into the comparative law of democracy in particular.' Richard H. Pildes, ICON

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107192621
    • length: 244 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Dominant-Party Democracies:
    2. Supreme Court of Singapore and the promise of enforceable constitutional conventions
    3. Malaysian courts and electoral fraud
    4. Hong Kong Courts and constitutional contradictions
    Part II. Dynamic Democracies:
    5. Supreme Court of India and criminality in politics
    6. Constitutional court of Taiwan and calibrated judicial review
    7. Constitutional court of Korea and systemic electoral barriers
    Part III. Fragile Democracies:
    8. Constitutional court of Thailand and partisan judges
    9. Supreme Court of Pakistan: accommodation and defiance of military authority
    10. Supreme Court of Bangladesh and defensive judicial review
    Part IV. Democratic Values and Courts in Comparative Perspective:
    11. Democratic values and the conundrum of unconstitutional constitutional amendments
    12. Conclusion

  • Author

    Po Jen Yap, The University of Hong Kong
    Po Jen Yap is an Associate Professor at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), Faculty of Law, where he specialises in comparative constitutional law. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with an LL.B. degree and he obtained LL.M. qualifications from both Harvard Law School and University College London. He also has a Ph.D. degree from the University of Cambridge. He is an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore and an Attorney at Law in the State of New York (USA). His publications include Constitutional Dialogue in Common Law Asia (2015).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.