Sujit Choudhry

  • I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law
  • Tel: 510-643-1075
  • 690 Simon Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720 MC:7200
Sujit Choudhry

Sujit Choudhry, the I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law, is an internationally recognized authority on comparative constitutional law, who combines a wide-ranging research agenda with in-depth field experience as an advisor to constitution building processes, including in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ukraine.

Professor Choudhry’s research addresses a broad variety of issues in comparative constitutional law, including constitutional design as a tool to manage the transition from violent conflict to peaceful democratic politics; constitutional design in ethnically divided societies; federalism, decentralization and secession; semi-presidentialism; constitutional courts; official language policy, minority and group rights; bills of rights and proportionality; constitutional design in the context of transitions from authoritarian to democratic rule; constitution building; security sector oversight; and basic methodological questions in the study of comparative constitutional law. He has also written extensively on Canadian constitutional law. He has published over ninety articles, book chapters, working papers and reports. His edited collections include The Migration of Constitutional Ideas (Cambridge, 2006), Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or Accommodation? (Oxford, 2008), The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution (Oxford, 2016) and Constitution Making (Edward Elgar, forthcoming). Choudhry is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Society of Public Law (ICONŸS), the Board of Editors of the International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON), the Editorial Board of the Constitutional Court Review, and the Editorial Advisory Board for the Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law.

Professor Choudhry is the Founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions, which generates and mobilizes knowledge in support of constitution building by assembling and leading international networks of experts to complete thematic research projects that offer evidence-based policy options to practitioners. It partners with a global network of multilateral organizations, think tanks, NGOs, and universities. In partnership with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Professor Choudhry is currently co-leading three global collaborative research projects: Dealing with Territorial Cleavages in Constitutional Transitions, Security Sector Reform and Constitutional Transitions in Emerging Democracies, and Security Sector Oversight: Protecting Democratic Consolidation from Authoritarian Backsliding and Partisan Abuse, which will yield a series of research and policy outputs to be published in 2017. Professor Choudhry is a member of the United Nations Mediation Roster, been a consultant to the World Bank Institute at the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program.

Prior to coming to Berkeley, Professor Choudhry was Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law, and Scholl Chair at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. In 2010, he was one of four Canadians to receive the Trudeau Fellowship, the Canadian equivalent of the MacArthur awards. In Canada, Choudhry was a member of the Governing Toronto Advisory Panel, which proposed major reforms to the structure of municipal government in Toronto, and sat on the Board of Directors of Legal Aid Ontario, one of the largest publicly funded legal assistance programs in the world; was counsel of record before the Supreme Court of Canada in Charkaoui (security certificates), and in Khadr 1 and Khadr 2 (Guantanamo detainees); and was actively involved in the fight for same sex marriage.

Professor Choudhry was Dean from 2014 to 2016, and developed a strategic agenda built around the pillars of Access, Innovation, Service and Globalization. He launched a series of specific initiatives to implement this agenda, including the Access for All fundraising campaign for need-based financial aid, the Berkeley Law Opportunity Scholarship for first generation college students to reaffirm Berkeley Law’s commitment to social mobility, and special recruitment efforts that increased the proportion of African American and Latino students in the 1L class by 50%; the Berkeley IP Lab, the Environmental Law Clinic and Startup@BerkeleyLaw to provide multi-disciplinary, experiential education opportunities for Berkeley Law students that leverage the unique opportunities afforded by UC Berkeley and our proximity to Silicon Valley; the enhancement of Public Interest Fellowships and Bridge Fellowships to enable Berkeley Law graduates to pursue careers in public interest and public service lawyering, and the proposal to create the President’s Public Service Law Fellowships. He also struck the Experiential Education Taskforce, the Globalization Taskforce, and the Equity and Inclusion Working Group, to chart a series of strategic initiatives for Berkeley Law in these areas.

Professor Choudhry holds law degrees from Oxford, Toronto, and Harvard, was a Rhodes Scholar, and served as law clerk to Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada.