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Article

From Uneasy Compromises to Democratic Partnership

The Prospects of Central European Constitutionalism

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords Central Europe, parliamentarism, freedom of religion, Roma people, discrimination
Authors Gábor Attila Tóth
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Central European constitutional democracies were created by the political and constitutional transition of 1989. However, twenty years later, in the light of antidemocratic, authoritarian and intolerant tendencies, it is far from clear whether the negotiated revolution is a story of success or failure. This paper first outlines the constitutional background of revolutionary transition. It shows that the achieved structures and rules do not prevent political communities from realizing the full promise of democracy. Second, this analysis attempts to explore how the century-old historical circumstances, the social environment, and the commonly failed practice of constitutional institutions interact. This section focuses on the constitutional features of presidential aspirations, the privileges of churches and certain ethnic tensions. Finally, the paper argues that the chances of success of liberal democracies depend significantly on extraconstitutional factors. It seems that Hungary is in a more depressing and dangerous period of its history than for example Poland.


Gábor Attila Tóth
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Debrecen, former senior adviser, Constitutional Court of Hungary. The author welcomes comments via email: tga818@law.unideb.hu.
Article

Methods and Materials in Constitutional Law

Some Thoughts on Access to Government Information as a Problem for Constitutional Theory and Socio-Legal Studies

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords Citizenship, democracy, government information, representative government, secrecy
Authors Barry Sullivan
AbstractAuthor's information

    To be subject to law, Hobbes argued, is to be deprived of liberty, as we understand it. In this respect, democratic governments are no different from others. Hobbes’s insight has not caused us to abandon our commitments to democracy, but it still challenges us to think hard about the nature of representative government, the nature of citizenship in a democratic society, and the conditions necessary for fulfilling the promise of democratic citizenship. Two recent trends are evident. Some citizens have embraced a more active sense of citizenship, which necessarily entails a more insistent need for information, while governments have insisted on the need for greater concentration of governmental power and a higher degree of secrecy. Much is to be learned from the approaches that various national and transnational regimes have taken with respect to this problem. This essay will consider the problem of access to government information from a comparative perspective and as a problem for constitutional theory and socio-legal studies.


Barry Sullivan
Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy and Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Article

The Problems and Promises of a Legal Constitution

The Constitutional State and History

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords constitutional state, legitimacy, progressive history, legal constitution, political constitution
Authors Davit Zedelashvili
AbstractAuthor's information

    Nowadays, in the West, especially on the European Continent, the legitimacy of the modern state is once again subject to multifarious challenges. Against this background, the article revives one of the most important, though often overlooked themes of the constitutional theory, the relevance of the concept of progressive history for the legitimacy of the constitutional state. It is suggested, that the reappearance of the progressive history brings the supposedly forgotten themes of the objectivist metaphysics, back into the constitutional theory. The conclusion points that, only the accounts of a legal constitution, which reject the connection with progressive history, have the potential to deal with the problematic consequences that the reemergence of the metaphysically charged concept of progressive history may entail, given the contemporary socio-political conditions, characterized by the value and ideological pluralism.


Davit Zedelashvili
SJD Candidate in Comparative Constitutional Law, Central European University, Budapest.
Article

The Combination of Negative with Positive Constitutionalism in Europe

The Quest of a ‘Just Distance’ between Citizens and the Public Power

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords democracy, constitutionalism, totalitarism, fundamental rights, judicial review
Authors Cesare Pinelli
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article is focused on European constitutionalism as resulting from the transformations following the experiences of totalitarian states. The notion of democracy was then significantly re-shaped, to the extent that democratic devices (federalism and sometimes referendum) were introduced with a view to balance the excesses of a purely representative democracy. The recognition of social rights and of human dignity reacted against totalitarism and, on other hand, against the individualistic notion of rights affecting the XIX century’s constitutionalism. Constitutional review of legislation was introduced, thus overriding the myth of parliamentary sovereignty, particularly the idea of parliament as the sole authority capable of granting fundamental rights.


Cesare Pinelli
Cesare Pinelli is Professor of Constitutional Law in the Faculty of Law, La Sapienza University of Rome.
Article

The Importance of the Symbolic Role of the Head of State

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords head of state, monarchy, democracy, symbolic, Sarkozy
Authors David Marrani
AbstractAuthor's information

    Why do we need, in a society that we assume to be democratic, someone that reminds us of the archaic organisation of humanity, someone like a head of state? We know that the ‘powerful’ heads have now been transformed, most of the time, in ‘powerless’ ones, with solely a symbolic role, often not recognised. So why do we need them and how important are they? Because they are part of our archaic memory, images of the father of the primitive hordes, and because they ‘sit’ above us, the symbolic role of the head of state can be read with the glasses of a psychoanalyst and the magnifier of a socio-legal scholar. This paper is a journey in time and space, looking at the move from the sovereign-monarch to the president-monarch, unfolding the question of authority and its link to ‘distance’ but also the connection to ‘the Father’ and the notion of the two bodies.


David Marrani
Dr. David Marrani, Senior Lecturer, University of Essex, School of Law, UK.
Article

Comparative Aspects on Constitutions

Theory and Practice

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords Constitutions, EU legal order, EU member states, EU enlargement
Authors Alfred E. Kellermann
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper will investigate for the influence of international legal developments on the drafting and implementation of constitutions, especially the impact of the European Union on the texts of the national constitutions of the EU Member States and its acceding countries.
    We will look also at:

    1. the influence of history (EU Enlargement) and tradition in the drafting and implementation of constitutions;

    2. assessment (especially in the case of the Netherlands) of whether constitutional texts actually serve to achieve the practical implementation of expressed purposes.


Alfred E. Kellermann
Senior Legal and Policy Advisor, Visiting Professor in the Law of the EU, T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague.
Article

The European Law from Grundnorm towards the Cathedral

Constitutional Features of a Complex Legal System

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2011
Keywords economic analysis of legal remedies, state liability for breach of the EU law, judicial dialogue in the EU, self-referring legal rules, efficiency of the EU law
Authors Mariusz Jerzy Golecki
AbstractAuthor's information

    Many hopes of the adherents of constitutional reform in the EU remained in vain after the enactment of the Lisbon Treaty. Meanwhile the creeping constitutionalisation of the EU law leads to the empowerment of the UE quasi constitutional court – the Court of Justice of the European Union. This kind of constitutionalism is albeit firmly grounded on judicial cross-border cooperation. The main purpose of this paper is to address the question of whether and how the concept of judicial control based on transactional framework developed in law and economics could effectively supplement if not substitute the notion of constitutional democratic legitimacy. In order to demonstrate that it is logically possible and institutionally feasible to build a system based on circularity, self-referentiality and privatization of legal remedies, the paper contains the economic analysis of the recent development of the EU law which at least partially takes this direction.


Mariusz Jerzy Golecki
PhD, LL.M. Cantab. Associate Professor, University of Łódź (Poland).
Article

Judicial Activism

Usurpation of Parliament’s and Executive’s Legislative Functions, or a Quest for Justice and Social Transformation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2011
Keywords judicial activism, separation of powers, constitutional interpretation
Authors Reyneck Matemba
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the concept of judicial activism in relation to the courts’ role of interpreting legislation, particularly focusing on the courts’ function of interpreting the Constitution. It specifically examines modes of constitutional interpretation obtaining in RSA and Nigeria, by focusing on selected judicial decisions by superior courts in the two countries. It also examines constitutional provisions governing the interpretation of the Constitution (Bill of Rights) and legislation as provided for in the Constitution of RSA and that of Nigeria. It also makes a comparative examination of judicial approaches to the interpretation of socio-economic rights enshrined in the Constitution of each of the two countries, specifically focusing on the rights to health and housing.The article observes that the concept of judicial activism is a necessary tool for attaining justice and achieving social transformation.


Reyneck Matemba
Reyneck Thokozani Matemba is a member of the Malawi Law Society and the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC) and works as an Assistant Chief Legislative Counsel for the Ministry of Justice, Malawi.
Article

Instructions to Draft Legislation

A Study on the Legislative Drafting Process in Malaysia

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2011
Keywords legislative drafting process, role of instructing officer and drafter
Authors Rozmizan Muhamad
AbstractAuthor's information

    The importance of legislation is beyond any dispute. Legislation governed us perhaps even before our birth, certainly during our life and until our death. Even after our death there is still the Estate Duty Act to worry about, although of course the burden passes on to our executors or administrators. But day after day, many more new laws have been proposed and many existing laws have been revised and amended for various reasons and motives. The need for legislation has never diminished but continues to increase. Governments need legislation to govern, by which they achieve their political objectives and public policies. In other words, legislation is needed to affect changes in the law, to interfere with vested rights and interests, and to impose taxes, duties, excise and imposts. Such need originates from one or more of a great many sources such as a commission of inquiry, politicians, a particular pressure group or the public as a whole and also a reaction to social situations which seemingly develop independently or deliberately


Rozmizan Muhamad
Rozmizan Muhamad is a drafter at the Malaysian Attorney-General’s office.

    Le droit uniforme de l’OHADA réglemente quelques contrats spéciaux des affaires: le bail; le courtage; la commission; le mandat de l’agent commercial; la société commerciale; le transport des marchandises par route; la vente commerciale. Hormis la société commerciale, seule la vente entre commerçants est longuement régie par 87 Arts. de l’acte uniforme relatif au droit commercial général (AUDCG) dans tous les détails de sa formation, son exécution, son dénouement. L’intérêt du législateur OHADA pour ce contrat se comprend pour, soit plusieurs raisons.


Joseph Issa Sayegh
Docteur en droit, ancien Professeur aux Universités de Dakar (Sénégal), de Nice (France) et d’Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire).
Article

Is Africa Ready for Electronic Commerce?

A Critical Appraisal of the Legal Framework for Ecommerce in Africa

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2011
Authors Nnaemeka Ewelukwa
AbstractAuthor's information

    It remains a daunting but not insurmountable challenge to actualize broad-based long term economic development in Africa. Statistics indicate that the poverty level in the continent is very high and the continent’s contribution to global trade remains very low in terms of export outflows. While acknowledging the negative aspects of Africa’s development however, it is important to note that the future may yet become brighter if key steps are taken by law and policy makers in the continent to put in place laws and policies that can facilitate the development process. One of the ways in which economic development can be facilitated is to significantly boost Africa’s contribution to global trade. In this regard, it has been noted that ‘After falling by 2.5% in 2009, export volumes of African countries are expected to increase on average by 3.2% in 2010 and by 5% in 2011.


Nnaemeka Ewelukwa
Dr. iur. (Queen Mary, London), Senior Teaching Fellow, International Trade Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS).

Ousmane Bougouma
LL.M., Candidat au Doctorat.
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