This collection documents, analyses, and reflects on the Icelandic constitutional reform between 2009 and 2017. It offers a unique insight into this process by providing first-hand accounts of its different stages and core issues. Its 12 substantive chapters are written by the main actors in the reform, including the Chair of the Constitutional Council that drafted the 2011 Proposal for a New Constitution.

Part I opens with an address by the President of the Republic and positions the constitutional reform in its full complexity and longer-term perspective, going beyond the frequent portrayal of that process in international discussion as being solely a result of the 2008 financial crisis. Part II offers a nuanced and contextualised reflection on Iceland’s innovative approach to consultation and drafting involving lay participants, including its twenty-first-century digital take on ‘the people,’ which attracted international attention as ‘crowdsourcing.’ Part III analyses the main constitutional amendment proposals, and focuses on natural resources and environmental protection, which lie at the heart of Iceland’s identity. The final part reflects on the reform’s wider significance and includes an interview with the current Prime Minister, who is now taking the reform forward.

The volume provides a basis for reflection on a groundbreaking constitutional reform in a democratic context. This long and complex process has challenged and transformed the ways in which constitutional change can be approached, and the collection is an invitation to discuss further the practical and theoretical dimensions of Iceland’s experience and their far-reaching implications.

chapter 1|18 pages


Making sense of the Icelandic constitutional reform 1

part II|73 pages

Drafters and drafting processes

chapter 6|25 pages

The work of the 2011 Constitutional Council 1

A democratic experiment in constitution-making

chapter 7|20 pages

Crowdsourcing the 2011 Proposal for a New Constitution

When experts and the crowd disagree

part III|74 pages

Constitutional proposals and bills

chapter 8|20 pages

The 2011 Proposal for a New Constitution

Analysis and critical comments

chapter 9|14 pages

The 2016 Bill of the Constitutional Committee

Three proposals for reforming the 1944 Constitution

chapter 11|16 pages

Would Article 79 of the 2016 Bill make much difference?

Some considerations on the legal consequences of the proposed constitutional environmental provision

part IV|34 pages


chapter 14|5 pages


What has changed?