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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

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.
Article

A View on the Future of Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments in Turkey

An Invitation to Judicial Dialogue

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords basic structure doctrine, Constitutional Court of Turkey, constitutional identity, judicial dialogue, immunity amendment, unconstitutional constitutional amendments
Authors Ali Acar
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, I discuss and analyse the Turkish case concerning judicial review of constitutional amendments in light of a recent decision by the Constitutional Court of Turkey (CCT). In the said decision, the CCT rejected carrying out judicial review over a controversial constitutional amendment, which lifted MPs’ parliamentary immunity. This decision urges to consider its implications for the possible future cases. I refer to comparative constitutional law with the hope to shed more light on the Turkish example and grasp it comprehensively. In this respect, I illustrate the most crucial arguments developed by the Supreme Court of India (SCI), the Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVG), and the Conseil Constitutionnel (FCC) in their case law. Based on the comparative account, I draw some lessons for the CCT and invite it to get into a judicial dialogue with other supreme/constitutional courts with regard to the issue.


Ali Acar
Cankaya University Faculty of Law and visiting researcher at Osgoode Hall Law School. I thank Richard Albert, Vicente F. Benítez-Rojas, and Mehmet Turhan for their comments and critiques, which were insightful to develop the ideas in this article.
Article

Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments in Turkey

The Question of Unamendability

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords judicial review of constitutional amendments, constitutional unamendability, judicial activism, competitive authoritarianism, abusive constitutionalism
Authors Ergun Özbudun
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article deals with the judicial review of constitutional amendments, which has been a hotly debated constitutional and political issue in Turkey, particularly with regard to the unamendable provisions of the constitution. Since its creation by the Constitution of 1961, the Turkish Constitutional Court has followed a markedly activist and tutelarist approach regarding this issue and annulled several constitutional amendments arguing that they violated the unamendable provisions of the Constitution. Recently, however, the Court adopted a self-restraining approach. This shift can be explained as part of the political regime’s drift towards competitive authoritarianism and the governing party’s (AKP) capturing almost total control over the entire judiciary.


Ergun Özbudun
Ergun Özbudun is Professor of Constitutional Law at İstanbul Şehir University. This is an enlarged and updated version of my article ‘Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments in Turkey’, European Public Law, Vol. 15, No. 4, 2009, pp. 533-538.
Article

Access_open Constitutional Norms for All Time?

General Entrenchment Clauses in the History of European Constitutionalism

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2019
Keywords constitutional amendments, constitutional law, constitutional politics, constitutionalism, entrenchment clauses, eternity clauses
Authors Michael Hein
AbstractAuthor's information

    ‘General entrenchment clauses’ are constitutional provisions that make amendments to certain parts of a constitution either more difficult to achieve than ‘normal’ amendments or even impossible, i.e., legally inadmissible. This article examines the origins of these clauses during the American Revolution (1776-77), their migration to the ‘Old World’, and their dissemination and differentiation on the European continent from 1776 until the end of 2015. In particular, the article answers three questions: (1) When, and in which contexts, did general constitutional entrenchment clauses emerge? (2) How have they migrated to and disseminated in Europe? (3) Which constitutional subjects do such clauses protect, and thus, which main functions do they aim to fulfil?


Michael Hein
Adult Education Center Altenburger Land, Altenburg, Germany. Email: mail@michaelhein.de. All cited websites were visited on June 18, 2018. Unless stated otherwise, all references to constitutions in this article are taken from M. Hein, The Constitutional Entrenchment Clauses Dataset, Göttingen 2018, http://data.michaelhein.de. All translations are by the author.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny in a Non-Westminster Parliament

Opportunities, Challenges and Considerations

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords post-legislative scrutiny, parliamentary oversight, legislative process, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, French Senate, Belgian federal parliament
Authors Jonathan Murphy and Svitlana Mishura
AbstractAuthor's information

    Post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) has generated growing interest as a means both for strengthening the legislative process and for permitting parliament to more effectively integrate its legislative and oversight functions. Engagement throughout the cycle of legislative development, adoption and implementation enables parliament to assure laws are properly implemented and to rectify weaknesses either in original legislative conceptualization or in executive implementation. Carried out properly, PLS should improve governance and increase its democratic accountability. Recent attention to PLS has however focused mainly on its role and use in Westminster-type parliaments. This article explores PLS from the perspective of non-Westminster parliaments. It seeks to understand why PLS in non-Westminster parliaments has received comparatively less scholarly and parliamentary development practitioner attention. The article uses a case study of Ukraine to explore the context and challenges for effective PLS, a non-Westminster emerging democracy. It concludes by proposing rebalancing discussion of PLS to take better account of diverse parliamentary models and suggests approaches to supporting PLS development in parliaments where it has not previously been consistently used


Jonathan Murphy
Jonathan Murphy is Docent, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland and parliamentary development consultant.

Svitlana Mishura
Svitlana Mishura is Deputy Head of the Main Legal Department of the Administration of the Parliament of Ukraine. The authors would like to thank UNDP Ukraine and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for their support to the development of this article, and Anastasia Petrova for her invaluable research assistance in collecting data on PLS in the Verkhovna Rada.
Article

Post-Legislative Scrutiny as a Form of Executive Oversight

Tools and Practices in Europe

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2019
Keywords scrutiny of law enforcement, ex-post impact assessment, parliamentary oversight of the executive, post-legislative scrutiny
Authors Elena Griglio
AbstractAuthor's information

    Parliaments’ engagement in post-legislative scrutiny can be considered either as an extension of the legislative function or within the framework of the oversight of the executive. This article makes use of the latter view to assess how parliaments in Europe approach post-legislative scrutiny and to which extent this function can be regarded as a form of executive oversight. Although rules and practices of parliaments in this realm are remarkably heterogeneous, the focus on some selected parliaments (Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, and the European Parliament) reveals three different conceptual categories. In the ‘basic’ approach (passive scrutinizers), parliaments limit their role solely to the assessment of the ex-post scrutiny performed by the government and external agencies. Differently, parliaments willing to engage in a more proactive approach might choose either to act on an informal basis, establishing ad hoc research/evaluation administrative units (informal scrutinizers) or to address post-legislative scrutiny in a formal and highly institutionalized manner (formal scrutinizers). As a matter of fact, the practise of parliaments often combines characters of different categories. While in all of these approaches post-legislative scrutiny shows potential for executive oversight, only the third can potentially lead to a kind of ‘hard’ oversight.


Elena Griglio
Dr Elena Griglio is a Senior Parliamentary Official, Italian Senate and Adjunct Professor, Luiss Guido Carli University.
Article

Judging Reformers and Reforming Judges

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2019
Keywords law reform, common law, judges, United Kingdom Supreme Court, legal reasoning
Authors James Lee
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the practice and limits of judicial law reform. In particular, I consider the question of when initiation of a reform is appropriate for the judiciary as opposed to the legislature, an issue which has been a matter of controversy amongst the Justices of the United Kingdom Supreme Court. This question is assessed in the light of the institutional and constitutional competences of the courts, particularly with respect to the structure of common law reasoning. It is also argued that it is important to have regard to perspectives of the relevant judges, in understanding the individual and collective approaches to the judicial development of the law.


James Lee
James Lee is Reader in English Law and PC Woo Research Fellow 2016-2017 at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, and Associate Academic Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple; Senior Visiting Fellow, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales; and Visiting Professor, Hong Kong University. I am grateful to Enrico Albanesi, Mark Lunney, Jonathan Teasdale and all those who attended the Law Reform Workshop at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in November 2017 and a Kirby Seminar at the School of Law at the University of New England at which drafts of this article were presented. I thank both PC Woo & Co and the Faculty of Law at UNSW for the generous support for the project of which this article forms part. All views, and any errors, are my own.
Article

Is There a Law Commission in France?

About the Commission Supérieure de Codification

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2019
Keywords High Commission on Codification, France, Law Commission, codification, law reform
Authors Bertrand-Léo Combrade
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ‘Commission Supérieure de Codification (‘High Commission on Codification’) is a body that was created with the aim of providing support for the process of codifying the texts of positive law. Analysis of both its place in France’s institutional architecture and its working methods highlights certain particularities in the body’s functioning and raises questions as to its degree of proximity to the Law Commissions.


Bertrand-Léo Combrade
Lecturer in public law, Researcher at CURAPP-ESS (University of Picardy-Jules Verne), Associate researcher at ISJPS (Sorbonne Law School).
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