Law 796:  Comparative Constitutional Law

The course will tackle three main aspects of contemporary constitutionalism in Western democracies, countries in transition to democracy and beyond, namely: 

  • “Constitution-building”, which treats fundamental subjects such as transitions to democracy, constitution-making and implementation processes, actors and factors of the transitions, constitution v. constitutionalism. Focus will be put on the processes of transition taking place in North Africa and in the Middle East following the Arab uprisings. 
  • “The Division of Governmental Powers”, which explores the ways in which limitations on governmental powers have been pursued in different constitutional systems (presidential v. parliamentary democracy, federalism and regionalism, secession and self-determination…). Focus will be put on institutional and territorial transformations in some Western consolidated democracies such as in Italy, Spain and United Kingdom. 
  • “Protection of Fundamental Rights”, which examines some of the most relevant instruments of protection of fundamental rights and freedoms both in consolidated and new democracies (e.g. lustration laws/political isolation laws; militant democracy and party banning; the unconstitutional-constitutional amendments doctrine…).

Course requirements include regular class attendance, active participation in class discussion and final examination. Students are expected to have read the assigned materials before each class. Class time will be divided between lectures and discussion. Each topic will be introduced by the instructor. The readings will be provided some weeks before the start of the course.

Sequence and Prerequisites: None.

Evaluation: Grades will be based on an administered final exam, class participation and discussion.

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