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Article

New Sales and Contract Law in Argentina and France:

Models for Reform Inspired by the CISG and the PICC?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords contracts, sales, law reform, CISG, UNIDROIT Principles, Argentina, France, comparative law
Authors Edgardo Muñoz and Inés Morfín Kroepfly
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Argentine and the French civil codes have recently undergone substantial modifications to their contract law provisions. These novel statutes could serve as models for future B2B contract law reforms in Latin American jurisdictions and beyond, as former Argentine and French laws have done in the past. The authors offer a contribution that paves the way in that direction with a systematic comparative analysis. As a starting point, this article unveils the influence that the modern unified laws on contracts (UNIDROIT Principles on International Commercial Contracts (PICC) and United Nations Convention for the International Sale of Goods of 1980 (CISG)) have in Argentina’s and France’s new contract law. It also highlights the most obvious similarities and differences in both sets of rules. This contribution goes beyond simple tertium comparisons; the authors analyse which of the two laws offers better, or more effective, rules to achieve the desired contract law functions in various matters. Readers are provided with the best rule or solution to address the problem in question and, as the authors hope, they should conclude that both models provide for a range of complementary solutions for modern contract law reforms.


Edgardo Muñoz
Professor of Law, Universidad Panamericana. School of Law. Calzada Álvaro del Portillo 49, Zapopan, Jalisco, 45010, Mexico. Ph.D. (Basel), LL.M. (UC Berkeley), LL.M. (Liverpool), LL.B. (UIA Mexico), DEUF (Lyon), emunoz@up.edu.mx.

Inés Morfín Kroepfly
J.D., Universidad Panamericana, Guadalajara.
Article

Gender and Language

A Public Law Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords gender language, drafting, language, coercion, linguistic policies
Authors Maria De Benedetto
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article adopts a public law perspective in order to focus on Gender-Fair Language (GFL) policies and drafting, by considering both language neutralization and language differentiation in some legal systems characterized by different languages.
    The article argues that the real problem is whether it is possible to coerce legislative and administrative language as a tool for policies. In fact, coercion of language produces administrative costs and side effects on freedoms (such as freedom of speech and freedom to teach); controls and sanctions are needed for enforcement; but, overall, language (as an institution) is not a proper object of regulation.


Maria De Benedetto
Full Professor, Roma Tre University, Roma, Italy.
Article

A Linguistic Insight into the Legislative Drafting of English-Speaking Jurisdictions

The Use of ‘Singular They’

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords gender neutrality, ‘singular they’, linguistic insight, legislative drafting, English-language jurisdictions
Authors Giulia Adriana Pennisi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Gender specificity in legislation started being questioned in the late 20th century, and the need to reform the way in which laws have been written for more than one-hundred years has been particularly evident in English-language jurisdictions. In the 1990s and 2000s, the adoption of a plain English style forced legislative drafters to avoid sentences of undue length, superfluous definitions, repeated words and gender specificity with the aim of achieving clarity and minimizing ambiguity.
    Experts in the legal field have suggested reorganizing sentences, avoiding male pronouns, repeating the noun in place of the pronoun, replacing a nominalization with a verb form, resorting to ‘the singular they’. This article gives a linguistic insight into the use of ‘singular they’ in English, beginning with a historical background and going on to assess the impact of its use in the primary legislation issued in a selection of English-language jurisdictions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, the US) in the last decade (2008-2018). Given the environment of legislative drafting techniques, where considerable reliance on precedent is inevitable, proposals to change legislative language may produce interesting results in different jurisdictions.


Giulia Adriana Pennisi
Associate Professor (field of research, English Language and Translation) at the University of Palermo, Department of Political Science and International Relations; Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Sir William Dale Centre, University of London.
Article

Gender-Neutral Drafting

A View from Wales

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords gender, legislation, English, Welsh, LGBTQIA+
Authors Thomas Glyn Watkin
AbstractAuthor's information

    The gender classification of words in English is different from that in many other languages, including Welsh. The approach in Welsh is more closely aligned to that in languages such as French, Spanish or Italian, but there are also differences. The differences include the manner in which possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives are employed. These differences pose difficulties for bilingual drafting in English and Welsh.
    This article will consider some of those difficulties, their root causes and some possible solutions as well as look at issues that may or may not complicate matters further in the future.


Thomas Glyn Watkin
Queen’s Counsel (honoris causa); Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales; Honorary Professor of Law, Bangor University. First Welsh Legislative Counsel (2007-2010); Professor of Law, Bangor Law School (2004-2007); Professor of Law, Cardiff Law School (2001-2004).
Article

Language and Gender

The Importance of Including a Gender Perspective in the Language of the Constitutional Reform in Spain

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords language, gender, Constitution, reform, Spain
Authors Ana Marrades
AbstractAuthor's information

    Language is a reflection of culture, and at the same time it helps to build that culture. In the same way, it can be used to transform it. Language serves for describing a culture, to show what we see, but at the same time, it strengthens the relationships of power that exist on the basis of male power. In this way, we can use language to build other kinds of relationships based on equality.
    The Spanish Constitution is written in the masculine. Although it is based on equality, masculine language shows that the power relations lean towards men, and this hides women’s participation. When a text or a legal message uses structures or words that hide or discriminate against one gender, it can be said that linguistic sexism exists, and this violates the principle of equality. This is a reflection about what is happening in our society because language describes cultural values. This exclusion of women in the constitutional text is in itself a denial of them as subjects of rights and as citizens. This is not only a denial of the part of power that corresponds to them, but also the consolidation of a collective story of female subordination.
    Therefore this article aims to focus on the need to carry out a revision of the Spanish Constitution in female and inclusive language that, in parallel to the recognition and guarantee of parity democracy, makes women visible as autonomous subjects. In addition, it also breaks with the male universality of the language and the monopoly of male language to define the sources of the law, as well as rights, powers, institutions, values and policies.


Ana Marrades
Senior lecturer in Constitutional law, University of Valencia.
Article

Gender Neutrality in EU Legislative Drafting

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords legislative drafting, EU legislation, EU treaties, multilingualism, gender neutrality
Authors William Robinson
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the English-speaking world the issue of gender-neutral drafting in legislation has been a much discussed topic for many years, and there are few legislative drafting manuals in the English-speaking world that do not address the issue.
    The EU and its institutions also attach great importance to gender issues, as is shown by the solemn commitments in EU texts to gender equality, by the establishment at the EU level of bodies or committees to focus on those issues, and by the EU actions and policies that seek to address them. But the issue of gender-neutral drafting in legislation is not even mentioned in the guidance drawn up by the legislative drafting experts of the EU institutions.
    This contribution, therefore, looks at how gender issues are dealt with in practice in the EU Treaties and in EU legislation. It finds signs of a traditional approach that is beginning to evolve but only slowly and somewhat unevenly.
    The contribution considers some of the reasons behind the approach taken by the EU institutions to gender neutrality in drafting and the impact of the important EU principles of multilingualism and multiculturalism before seeking to draw some conclusions.


William Robinson
Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London; formerly a coordinator in the Quality of Legislation Team of the European Commission Legal Service.
Article

The European Union and Space

A ‘Star Wars’ Saga?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords EU space competence, EU Space Policy, Galileo, Copernicus, Framework Agreement ESA-EU
Authors Rebecca-Emmanuela Papadopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the complex relationship between the European Union (EU) and space, alias space’s ever-growing place and role in the EU legal order. Two distinct paths are identified in this respect. On the one hand, as from the mid-1980s and despite the lack of an express ‘space competence’, space policy parameters were introduced in EU acts regulating telecommunications, satellite communications and electronic databases, but only to the extent necessary to serve the functioning of the single market. On the other hand, an autonomous EU Space Policy has been progressively elaborated as from the late 1990s through several initiatives, namely the strengthening of the collaboration with the European Space Agency and the setting up of the Galileo and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES)/Copernicus programmes. This tendency was corroborated by the conferral of an express space competence on the EU by the Lisbon Treaty, whose constitutional and institutional implications are explored in this article. It is submitted that the new space competence shall allow the EU to reach a stage of maturity and claim a greater degree of autonomy at the international level and, at the same time, to project its own governance model, thus enhancing the quality of international cooperation in space.


Rebecca-Emmanuela Papadopoulou
Rebecca-Emmanuela Papadopoulou is Assistant Professor, Law School, NKUA.
Article

Law Reform in Ireland

Implementation and Independence of Law Reform Commission

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords law reform, statute law revision, better regulation, access to legislation, lawyer’s law
Authors Edward Donelan
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the origins and work of the Law Reform Commission in Ireland. The model follows that in Common Law countries. Its work includes both substantive law reform and statute law revision (weeding out spent or unused statutes and undertaking consolidation or other work to make statute law more accessible.) The work of the Commission focuses on ‘lawyers’ law’ and, therefore, avoids subjects that could be politically controversial. Consequentially, the bulk of its recommendations are accepted and translated into legislation.


Edward Donelan
Edward Donelan, PhD, M.A., Barrister-at-Law (Kings Inns, Dublin, Middle Temple, London), Dip. Eur. Law, Dip. Arb. Better Regulation and Legislative Drafting Expert, currently working on projects with the Attorney General in Botswana to develop a programme of law reform for the newly established Law Reform Unit in the Chambers of the Attorney General.
Article

The New Regulation Governing AIR, VIR and Consultation

A Further Step Forward Towards ‘Better Regulation’ in Italy

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords regulation, RIA, regulatory impact analysis, impact assessment, evaluation, consultation
Authors Victor Chimienti
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the scope and contents of the newly adopted regulation governing regulatory impact analysis (RIA) and ex post evaluation of regulation (ExPER) in the Italian legal system. The article shows that this regulation has the potential to improve regulatory governance in Italy. Not only does it introduce innovations designed to increase transparency and participation, especially through strengthened consultation and communication mechanisms, but it also aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of regulatory analysis and evaluation activities. How the new regulation will be applied in practice, however, remains to be seen. In the meantime, the new set of rules are a welcome addition to Italy’s Better Regulation policy.


Victor Chimienti
Victor Chimienti is an international and EU lawyer currently working as a free-lance consultant on donor funded projects. In 1997, he graduated in Law with full marks at the University of Bari “Aldo Moro” (Italy), and, in 2006, obtained his Ph.D in International and EU Law from the same university. Meanwhile, he had attended post-graduate legal studies at LUISS University in Rome, Italy, specialising in international and EC business law. Dr. Chimienti has also served as Lecturer in International and Trade Law at the University of Foggia, Italy, and as Research Scholar in International & Comparative Law at the University of Michigan, USA. Among others, he specialises in Better Regulation tools and procedures, such as Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), Ex-Post Evaluation of Legislation, Monitoring, and Public Consultation.
Article

Law Reform and the Executive

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords law reform, parliamentary counsel, legislative drafting, Australia, Victoria
Authors Adam Bushby
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article comments on the process of law reform in Australia from the perspective of a legislative drafter. After a description of the Australian political and parliamentary system and a discussion of the role of the legislative drafter, a brief summary of the formal law reform processes in Australia is provided, including a discussion of how legislative drafting offices participate in the law reform process. Participation includes the drafting of Bills giving effect to law reform proposals based on drafting instructions approved by Cabinet, providing for the undertaking of statutory reviews, as well as the remaking of legislation. It is the role of the legislative drafter to assist the government by turning policy into legislation, so the focus here is on the practical implementation of law reform rather than the independence of law reform bodies.


Adam Bushby
Senior Parliamentary Counsel, Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria, Australia. This article reflects the opinions of the author only, and should not be taken as representing the stance of the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Victoria, Australia. I would, of course, welcome any feedback from anyone with an interest in law reform.
Article

Parliamentary Control over Delegated Legislation in Japan

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords statutory instruments, sole law-making organ, supplementary resolution, legislative veto, Committee on Oversight of Administration
Authors Katsuhiro Musashi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The delegation of legislation from the parliament to the administration plays an important role in a modern administrative state. In Britain, parliamentary control – whereby the parliament has the right to approve or veto a delegated legislation – has been institutionalized and implemented. On the other hand, the Japanese parliament is powerless to approve a delegated order beforehand or ex post. Therefore, improper procedures such as the deviation of the delegated order from the enabling act by a governmental agency, or the introduction of arbitrary administrative measures, have been carried out under insufficient supervision by the parliament in Japan. The National Diet of Japan should, ideally, also hold the power to control the administrative order on the basis of the legal principles formulated by the Diet. Therefore, we propose the introduction of a parliamentary control system that invalidates the ex post enactment of a cabinet order if both Houses of parliament refuse the order within 40 days of its submission. These procedures would have increased efficacy when augmented with a political check function on the proposed cabinet orders by the parliament’s Committee on Oversight of Administration, or their standing committees.


Katsuhiro Musashi
Katsuhiro Musashi is Professor of Law and Policy at the Faculty of Policy Studies, Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan.
Article

Reunification, Integration and Unification of Law

Germany and Korea

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords reunification, Korean nation, integration, Constitution, human rights, social market economy
Authors Ulrich Karpen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The meetings of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on 12 June 2018 in Singapore, as well as of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un, on 18 and 19 September 2018 in Pyongyang, intensified hopes of a step-by-step process aimed at the reunification of Korea. This development may follow the patterns of (West) German Chancellor Willy Brandt’s ‘East Policy’ with the Soviet Union and the (East) German Democratic Republic in 1970-71, which led to the reunification of Germany under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, in 1990. This article deals with similarities and differences in regard to Germany’s and Korea’s recent histories. It analyses the political, economic and legal aspects of a possible way to achieve Korean unity.


Ulrich Karpen
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Karpen, Faculty of Law, University of Hamburg, Germany.
Article

Economic Inequality, Capitalism and Law

Imperfect Realization of Juridical Equality, the Right to Property and Freedom of Contract

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords capitalism, inequality, juridical, law, property
Authors Shabir Korotana
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is a general unease among the public across all jurisdictions about the progressive economic inequality that seems to define the new normal, and this phenomenon has been succinctly documented in numerous prominent studies. This trend of capitalism has been supported by the existing structures of the common law, albeit contrary to the aim and purpose of its original principles. The studies show that the modern capitalist societies display a persistent trend of increasing inequality, and this is summed up by the observation that modern capitalism generates progressive and intense economic inequality.
    Capitalism as a socio-economic system is structured and sustained by the law and by socio-economic systems of institutions. Capitalism is not only a social ordering; essentially, it is a legal ordering. At the heart of this legal ordering are private laws, and tort law, but the most important is contract law: freedom of contract. It is common law, similar to the private law in other jurisdictions, that is responsible for the extreme inequality because it allows the institutions of capitalism to function freely and without much control. The open-ended capitalism that allows accumulation of wealth without ceiling causes progressive inequality in society and consequently works against the very freedom and individualism that are supposed to be the ideals of common law and capitalism. Because of the existing institutions of capitalism and the legal construct, freedom, fairness and the intended progress of the individual were not properly realized; the understanding of the ideas and principles of freedom, individualism, juridical equality, the right to property and freedom of contract have been imperfectly realized. With rising inequality, it is this imperfect realization, particularly of juridical equality that is in question.


Shabir Korotana
Shabir Korotana is Senior Lecturer in Commercial Law at Brunel Law School, Brunel University London.
Article

Independence and Implementation

In Harmony and in Tension

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Law Commission, law reform, legislation, independence, implementation
Authors Matthew Jolley
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the factors that have influenced the independence of the Law Commission of England and Wales and the implementation of its recommendations. It discusses innovations in Parliamentary procedure for Law Commission Bills, the Protocol between Government and the Law Commission; and the requirement for the Lord Chancellor to report annually to Parliament on the implementation of the Law Commission’s proposals. It makes the case that the relationship between independence and implementation is complex: at times the two pull in opposite directions, and at times they support each other.


Matthew Jolley
Matthew Jolley is Head of Legal Services and Head of the Property, Family and Trust Law Team at the Law Commission of England and Wales. This article is written in a personal capacity – with thanks to Christine Land, Rachel Preston and Sarah Smith for their assistance with background research.
Article

Constitutional Resilience and Unamendability

Amendment Powers as Mechanisms of Constitutional Resilience

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords constitutional change, constitutional resilience, unamendability, constitutional identity
Authors Xenophon Contiades and Alkmene Fotiadou
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article aims to explore the relationship between unamendability and constitutional resilience. Inspired by Roznai’s theory on the limits of amendment powers, this article seeks to examine how such limits may function as a mechanism of constitutional resilience exploring how unamendability may impact the resilience of a constitution, allowing it to withstand crises while retaining its core functions. The key question is whether entrenchment enhances resilience through its protective shield or, by contrast, fetters resilience by foreclosing adaptability – what does not bend often breaks. The complex relationship between unamendability and constitutional resilience unfolds in the context of different amendment patterns.


Xenophon Contiades
Xenophon Contiades is Professor of Public Law, Panteion University; Managing Director of the Centre for European Constitutional Law, Athens, Greece.

Alkmene Fotiadou
Alkmene Fotiadou is Research Fellow, Centre for European Constitutional Law.
Article

The Eternity Clause

Lessons from the Czech Example

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords eternity clause, constitutional amendment, Czech Republic
Authors Ondřej Preuss
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents lessons from the Czech example of the so-called Eternity Clause’ i.e. a legal standard declaring certain principles, values or specific constitutional provisions to be unalterable and irrevocable. The Eternity Clause is viewed and applied in the Czech Republic as a substantive legal ‘instrument’ that enables society to preserve its values. It is used to limit practical ‘power’ and to maintain desired values and the political system.
    That the Eternity clause is a practical instrument has already been proved by the Czech Constitutional Court in its famous ‘Melcák’ decision. However, recent developments show that the Czech Constitutional Court is no longer open to such a ‘radical’ approach. Nonetheless, it still seems that the court is prepared to defend the values of liberal democracy, just not in such a spectacular way. It is, therefore, more up to the political actors or the people themselves to use Eternity Clause arguments to protect liberal democracy and its values.


Ondřej Preuss
Faculty of Law, Charles University (preuss@prf.cuni.cz). This article was written under the “Progress 04: Law in a Transforming World” programme.
Article

From Supra-Constitutional Principles to the Misuse of Constituent Power in Israel

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords unconstitutional constitutional amendment, constitutional law, constitutional principles, constituent power, Israel, judicial review
Authors Suzie Navot and Yaniv Roznai
AbstractAuthor's information

    Israel has no one official document known as ‘the Constitution’ and for nearly half a century was based on the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. Still, since the ‘constitutional revolution’ of the 1990s, Israel’s supreme norms are expressed in its basic laws and laws are subject to judicial review. This situation is the result of the enactment of two basic laws dealing with human rights in 1992 – which included a limitation clause – and of a judicial decision of monumental significance in 1995, the Bank Hamizrahi case. In that decision, the Supreme Court stated that all basic laws – even if not entrenched – have constitutional status, and therefore the currently accepted approach is that the Knesset indeed dons two hats, functioning as both a legislature and a constituent authority. The novelty of the Bank Hamizrahi decision lies in its notion of a permanent, ongoing constituent authority. The Knesset actually holds the powers of a constitutional assembly, and legislation titled ‘Basic-Law’ is the product of constituent power. Though it is neither complete nor perfect, Israel’s constitution – that is, basic laws – addresses a substantial number of the issues covered by formal constitutions of other democratic states. Furthermore, though this formal constitution is weak and limited, it is nonetheless a constitution that defends the most important human rights through effective judicial review.
    Still, given the ease with which changes can be made to basic laws, the special standing of basic laws differs from the standing generally conferred on a constitution. Most basic laws are not entrenched, which means that the Knesset can alter a basic law by a regular majority. Over the past few years, there has been a tendency towards ad casum amendments of basic laws. These amendments are usually adopted against a background of political events that demand an immediate response on the part of the Knesset. The latter then chooses the path of constitutional – not regular – legislation, which is governed by a relatively smooth legislative passage procedure. Even provisional constitutional amendments were passed with relative ease followed by petitions presented to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Knesset’s constituent power is actually being ‘abused’.
    These petitions, as well as Israel’s peculiar constitutional development, presented the Supreme Court with several questions as to the power for judicial review of basic laws. Thus far, the Court’s endorsement of judicial review was based on the limitation clause found in both basic laws on human rights, but limitation clauses do not establish the criteria for a constitutional violation by constitution provisions. Does this mean that the Knesset’s constituent power is omnipotent?
    This article examines the almost unique position of Israeli jurisprudence in relation to the doctrine of ‘unconstitutional constitutional amendments’. It focuses on the possibility of applying the doctrine in the Israeli case laws, the often-raised notion of ‘supra-constitutional’ values that would limit the Knesset’s constituent power, and a third – newly created – doctrine of abuse (or misuse) of constituent power. A central claim of this article is that in light of the unbearable ease with which basic laws can be amended in Israel, there is an increased justification for judicial review of basic laws.


Suzie Navot
Suzie Navot is Full Professor, the Haim Striks School of Law, College of Management Academic Studies, Rishon Lezion.

Yaniv Roznai
Yaniv Roznai is Senior Lecturer, Harry Radzyner Law School, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.
Article

Limited Constitutional Amendment Powers in Austria?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords total revision, amendment, constitutional principles
Authors Manfred Stelzer
AbstractAuthor's information

    In Austria, constitutional amendments can be attained rather easily. A two-thirds majority in parliament allows for engineering constitutional amendments. The Austrian constitution only knows one exception to its flexibility: the principles of the constitution (‘Verfassungsprinzipien’). When the constitutional principles were to be affected by formal amendment in terms of a ‘total revision’ (‘Gesamtänderung’), a higher threshold needs to be met in order to engineer an amendment. In addition to a two-thirds majority in parliament, a referendum is required. Two questions are of particular interest: First, when does a constitutional amendment amount to a total revision and what are its limits? Second, and even more important, which core principles are recognized by the Austrian constitution and what is their content? These questions may be briefly outlined.


Manfred Stelzer
Manfred Stelzer is Professor of Public Law at the University of Vienna.
Article

Unamendability and Constitutional Identity in the Italian Constitutional Experience

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Unamendability, constitutional identity, republic, counterlimits, European integration, Italy
Authors Pietro Faraguna
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article explores the historical roots of the explicit unamendable clause(s) in the Italian Constitution. Following, it explores the scholarly debate over the interpretation of unamendable provisions. The article investigates theories of implicit unamendability of the Italian Constitution, and, in particular, it analyses the crucial role played by the Constitutional Court of Italy (ICC) and the principles that characterize Italian constitutional identity. Furthermore, the article explores the other side of constitutional identity, namely the theory of ‘counterlimits.’ The ICC specified that constitutional identity not only sets a limit to constitutional amendment powers but also sets ‘counterlimits’ to the entry of external norms (i.e., supranational and international law) in the domestic legal system. Finally, the article draws some conclusions and argues that the two sides of constitutional identity, although legally and logically independent, mutually reinforce each other and, ultimately, reinforce the counter-majoritarian nature of unamendability.


Pietro Faraguna
Pietro Faraguna is Assistant professor of constitutional law, University of Trieste.
Article

Constitutional Narcissism on the Couch of Psychoanalysis

Constitutional Unamendability in Portugal and Spain

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords unamendable/ eternity clauses, de jure and de facto constitutional change, constitutional narcissism, foundational design, helicopter founding fathers, constitutional alma mater
Authors Catarina Santos Botelho
AbstractAuthor's information

    Comparing the Portuguese Constitution, which has the longest unamendable clause in the world, with the silence of the Spanish Constitution regarding the language of eternity is indeed a fascinating exercise. Each state’s quantum of constitutional change seems to be quite different. One can wonder how two neighbouring states that share a heavy history of right-wing dictatorships and transitioned to democracy forty years ago opted for such dissimilar constitutional designs. However, appearances are often misleading, and an effort should be done to unveil this curious mismatch.
    Both legal orders suffer from what I call constitutional narcissism, which manifests itself through the urge to perpetuate the foundational constitutional moment. Unamendable clauses (Portugal) and quasi-unamendable clauses (Spain) recast one of constitutional theory’s inner paradoxes: Can the constituent power of the people be petrified in one historical constituent decision and constrain future democratic transitions? And what if a volatile contemporary majority seeks to undermine the democratic process and run against the constitutional DNA achievements of the last centuries?
    Even if the original version of the Portuguese Constitution prohibited several provisions from ever being amended, some of these provisions were indeed modified or removed in the 1989 constitutional amendment process. This occurred without major disagreement from the political organs, scholars, or the judiciary. Therefore, the vexata quaestio remains unanswered: Given their obsolescence or hindrance towards good governance, should entrenchment clauses be eliminated de jure (through a channelled constitutional amendment process, such as the double amendment procedure) or de facto (through a revolutionary process materialized outside of the constitutional framework)?


Catarina Santos Botelho
Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Constitutional Law at the Porto Faculty of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Email: cbotelho@porto.ucp.pt. I thank Paul Kahn, Nuno Garoupa, Richard Albert, Gonçalo Almeida Ribeiro, Yaniv Roznai, Ana Teresa Ribeiro, and Luís Heleno Terrinha for their very helpful comments.
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