30616 - TRANSNATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - MODULE 1 (EUROPEAN LEGAL SYSTEMS)
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 28
Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)
In the last three decades, constitutional law has increasingly acquired a transnational dimension. The rule of law, the separation of powers, and the independence of the judiciary are nowadays common features of Western constitutional democracies and institutional arrangements to secure these values are often transplanted from one country to another. Within this context, supranational courts, like the European Court of Human Rights, are constantly developing a uniform understanding of fundamental rights and democratic principles on a continental scale. Today’s Europe represents a privileged observatory of the making of transnational constitutional law, as the statehood of European countries has been increasingly defined by their openness towards influences from supranational systems and other domestic orders. Starting from such premises, the mission of this course is to examine the emergence of common principles of transnational constitutional law in Europe and to address the thorny balance between unity and diversity in European constitutional law. After exploring the historical roots of constitutionalism, the course will focus on constitution-making processes and amendment procedure, on the notion of democracy, as well as on judicial review and the protection of fundamental rights in Europe, before addressing new trends and challenges, including digital constitutionalism, populism and the crisis of the rule of law.
• Historical introduction to modern constitutionalism in Europe
• Constitution-making power and Constitutional amendments
• The principles governing liberal constitutional democracies
• Judicial Review: rationale and models
• Fundamental rights (case-based approach)
• Multilevel constitutionalism and judicial dialogue in Europe
• The Rule of law and judicial independence
• New trends and challenges in European constitutional law
• Master the common constitutional principles governing the relations between private individuals and public authorities in Europe
• Recognize the major principles concerning European constitutional democracies
• Identify the national peculiarities that distinguish a certain legal order from a comparative perspective
• Apply the technique of the balancing of rights and the proportionality test in fundamental rights’ restrictions
• Be familiar with the main actors developing common constitutional standards in Europe, such as the Court of Justice, the ECtHR, the Venice Commission, but also the European Law Institute and the Fundamental Rights Agency
• Master the relationship between National and supranational Courts in the European context
• Explain the content of a judicial decision and express their views in appropriate legal terms
• Identify the new European and global trends of transnational constitutional law, as, for instance, digital constitutionalism
After successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
• Analyze pros and cons of specific constitutional arrangements, as they have been applied in specific legal orders in Europe
• Argue about the legitimacy of fundamental rights restrictions in the light of the principle of proportionality
• Interpret legal provisions in the light of the principles of European constitutional law
• Have a practical knowledge of how European and global institutions work, thanks to the
Presentations made by speakers who play a key role in such institutions
• Work in a team in a constructive way and think critically
- Face-to-face lectures
- Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
- Company visits
- Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
- Group assignments
- Interactive class activities on campus/online (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
In addition to face-to-face lectures, which will take place mainly in the first part of the course, the learning experience of this course includes the examination of case studies, consisting primarily of the analysis and discussion of selected judgments on fundamental rights, in order to make students familiar with the crucial technique of the balancing of rights and the proportionality test. In the last part of the course, recent and controversial cases, related to the current trends of transnational constitutional law, will be discussed trough group assignments and group presentations. Each group of students will be requested to write a short a short paper, to be presented in class, summarizing one or more judgments or topics, based on the indications provided by the instructor and invited speakers. During the entire course, students will be strongly encouraged to participate actively by bringing their own views, by sharing their insights and by taking part in all interactive activities (e.g., court simulations) that the instructors will organize in class. The course also includes one or more guest speaker’s talks by leading international scholars who will share their experiences as attorneys, advisors or judges at international or supranational institutions, showcasing how transnational constitutional law in action works. Group visits at European institutions (such as the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg) may be organized for interested students depending on the availability of such institutions.
|Continuous assessment||Partial exams||General exam|
1. In-class participation (20% of the final grade) aimed to test the students’ ability to interact in a constructive way and to think critically.
2. Assessment of the group assignment (30% of the final grade) aimed to test the students’ ability to work in a team, to apply the knowledge acquired during the course, to identify the key points of a judgment or a legal text, to illustrate them appropriately and to discuss them critically. The evaluation will take into account both the performance of the group as a whole and the performance of each individual student.
3. Written exam (50% of the final grade), consisting of open/closed-ended questions, aimed to assess the students’ understanding of the principles of European constitutional law and their ability to apply them in the discussion of a specific legal issue. Students can take a mid-term written exam and complete the written exam at the end of the course. In this case the weight is of 25% for the mid-term exam and of 25% for the end of term exam. Alternatively, students can take a final written exam that accounts for 50% of the final grade.
The assessment method for non-attending students is based on a final exam in written form. It will consist of open/closed-ended questions, aimed to assess the students’ understanding of the principles of European constitutional law and their ability to apply them in the discussion of a specific legal issue.
Teaching materials include class slides, the judgments and documents examined during the course and other selected readings: they will be announced before the start of the course and indicated or uploaded to the Bboard platform.
Attending students will also be required to study selected chapters of a textbook, tentatevly indicated in Sajó A., Uitz R. (2017), The Constitution of Freedom. An Introduction to Legal Constitutionalism, Oxford University Press (the text will be confirmed before the beginning of the classes)
Non attending students will be required to study a textbook, tentatevly indicated in Sajó A., Uitz R. (2017), The Constitution of Freedom. An Introduction to Legal Constitutionalism, Oxford University Press (the text will be confirmed before the beginning of the classes)