20 June 2014

CALL FOR PAPERS: Ninth Annual General Conference of the European China Law Studies Association

Ninth Annual General Conference of the 
European China Law Studies Association 
Call for Papers 
“Making, Enforcing and Accessing the Law” 
Hong Kong, 15-16 November 2014 

The 9th Annual General Conference of the European China Law Studies Association
(欧洲中国法研究协会 www.ecls.eu) will be held at the Faculty of Law, The Chinese University
of Hong Kong. The conference will bring together Western and Chinese scholars, professionals,
policy makers, and the like, to reflect on and advance the broader themes of law-making, law
enforcement, and access to law in China from a variety of perspectives.

For further information, please click here

CONFERENCE:Process and Substance in Public Law

The Centre for Public Law at the University of Cambridge will hold a major international conference—the first, it is hoped, of a series of conferences that will become the pre-eminent forum for the discussion of public law related matters in the common law world. 
Following an outstanding response to the call for papers, the conference convenors have put together a programme that will bring together around 60 speakers—along with approximately 100 other participants—from across the common law world.

Please see http://www.publiclawconference.law.cam.ac.uk/ for the website including the full programme and registration details.

SEMINAR:Transnational judicial conversations

The annual seminar of the British Association of Comparative Law  University of Nottingham
9 September 2014 (9.30-12.30)
Please see http://gallery.mailchimp.com/47624183ad52dd8428c97d3f6/files/b838c5cf-4e4d-4e53-86df-a6f966efe641.pdf for details of the programme. This event is free and all are welcome to attend.

PhD Studentship – Queen Mary

The Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context at the Department of Law, Queen Mary University of London is calling for applications to a studentship in the history of ideas about law and society in a global context. Details here: http://www.findaphd.com/search/ProgrammeDetails.aspx?PGID=2235&LID=1732 and http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AIX131/dept-of-law-studentship-law-and-society-in-a-global-context/

SUMMER SCHOOL: Middlesex University School of Law

One-week professional course analysing the impact of international and national politics on human rights mechanisms: ‘Confidence Crisis in Human Rights: Implications for the UK’
Hendon Campus, London - 30 June to 4 July 2014.
The five-day courses, led by 10 renowned human rights experts
Places are limited. A detailed programme, full list of speakers and information about how to register for the course can be found at::

BOOKS: Four new book on the Great Debates in Law series

This summer, Palgrave Macmillan Higher Education is publishing four new texts in the illuminating Great Debates in Law series. Providing an engaging introduction to some of the more advanced concepts in law, the Great Debates in Law series offers a cutting edge for students who are looking to gain additional insights with which to excel. 

In each text, readers are introduced to the many debates surrounding each core area and presented with the key tensions and questions underlying each topic

Click on the links below for further information about the books:

Great debates in company law

Great debates in Equity and Trusts 

Great debates in Jurisprudence

Great debates in Medical law and Ethics

19 June 2014

CALL FOR PAPERS: Irish Jurisprudence Society's Autumn/Winter Workshop Series

Workshops will follow the usual Irish Jurisprudence Society (IJS) format: the author's paper is circulated in advance to IJS members; at the workshop, the author has up to 40 minutes to present his or her paper followed by an hour or so of discussion.

The venue for these workshops will be the Law School, House 39, Trinity College Dublin. The time will be 7pm on Thursdays. The dates for individual workshops are flexible and will be worked out with speakers.

If you would like to present at a workshop please reply to this email with a provisional title and a short abstract.

Papers can be on any topic in legal theory in the wide sense of that phrase. See the IJS website at http://irishjurisprudencesociety.org/past-events/ for details of previous workshops. 

BOOK: Ryan on European Criminal Justice

Large ImageI'm delighted to announce that Routledge has just published Andrea Ryan (University of Limerick)'s Towards a System of European Criminal Justice: The Problem of Admissibility of Evidence (2014):

With the developing landscape of a European criminal justice sphere comes an increasing imperative for scholars and practitioners to gain some insight into the diversity that exists in the criminal justice systems of European Union Member States.
This book explores the mutual admissibility of evidence; a facet of EU criminal justice that is proving difficult to realise. While the Lisbon Treaty places the issue of mutual admissibility of evidence squarely on the agenda, the EU instruments to date have not succeeded in achieving this goal. Andrea Ryan argues that part of the reason for this failure is that while the mutual recognition instruments have focussed on the issue of gathering evidence and safeguarding suspects’ rights, they have not addressed how evidence is to be presented and contested at trial.
Drawing upon case studies from Ireland, France and Italy, and adopting a legal cultural perspective, and enriched by the author’s observations of criminal trials, the book presents a detailed analysis of the developments to date in EU criminal justice and evidence law. By examining evidence practices the book asks whether the inquisitorial and accusatorial traditions within the EU systems are too irreconcilable to achieve a system of mutual admissibility of evidence.
The book will be of great interest and use to academics and practitioners with an interest in European and comparative criminal justice, criminal procedure, human rights and socio-legal studies.

Recommended. SPD

CALL FOR PAPERS: Traditions, Borrowings, Innovations, & Impositions: Law in the Post-Colony and in Empire

Traditions, Borrowings, Innovations, & Impositions: 
Law in the Post-Colony and in Empire

Following the 2012 Legal Histories of the British Empire Conference held in Singapore, please hold the date for the follow on comparative legal history up to be held at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Accra, 2-4 July 2015.

Patterns of disruption and also networks of innovation, resistance, tradition, and imposition connect places touched by European Empires, including the British Empire from origins to the present. All aspects of law in history, law in society, and law in culture carry traces of this in local expression, as in comparative contexts.
The conference provides an opportunity for the sharing of research and ideas from all perspectives, regions, and periods including:
  • research on the constitutional, legal and institutional frameworks of the post-colony and colony;
  • the roles of law in social development, cultural transformation, and economic development;
  • legal pluralism;
  • post-colonial scholarship;
  • the internal cultures of law, of the judiciary,
  • the legal profession, and legal education;
  • the role of law in oppression or resistance, as tool and as discourse;
  • autonomy, migrations, religions, and
  • indigeneity;
  • globalization and transnationalism;
  • comparative research.
A website will be available shortly, with full conference information. In the meantime, a pdf with additional information can be obtained from Pue@law.ubc.ca or Shaunnagh.Dorsett@uts.edu.au

Proposals for papers and panels should be sent to dv.williams@auckland.ac.nz by 1 December 2014. 

CALL FOR PAPERS: Visualing Law and Gender: Centre for Law and Culture Conference

This event is on 3 September 2014 12:00am
Title: Visualising Law and Gender
Location: Strawberry Hill Campus
When: Wednesday 3rd September – Thursday 4th September 2014


Law both regulates cultural representations and creates them. These dual themes will be explored in a conference focused upon the twin strands of law and visual culture, and law and gender.
How does law regulate gender; how does it regulate images? What is/are the relationship/s between visual culture and the gendering of law? How have gendered divisions structured the legal profession and practice, and what is the role of the visual in understanding such complexities? How can visual culture and representation challenge or enlighten the gendered dimensions of law? This conference is aimed at exploring the intersections of law, gender, and the visual in an effort to address such questions and related concerns.

Papers are sought in relation to the dual themes of the conference:
  • Visualising Law: Intersection(s) of law with visual culture, in all its manifestations (including graphic fiction and Graphic Justice, TV, film, photo-journalism, art and art history). The conference welcomes an exploration of ‘law’ and ‘visual culture’ in the broadest sense of these terms.
  • Gendering Law: The representation of gender in the law, historically and today, and the law’s responses to wider cultural representations (topics may include but are not limited to gendering legal history, law as gendered spectacle, sexuality and the law).
Papers traversing or combining these broad themes are particularly welcome.
Submit abstracts (300 words) to the organisers: thomas.giddens@smuc.ac.uk or judith.bourne@smuc.ac.uk. no later than 30th June 2014.
The organisers are also willing to discuss prospective ideas for papers prior to the submission of abstracts.
Registration fee: £100
Download pdf

CALL FOR PAPERS: Forbidden Access: Censoring Books and Archives

Forbidden Access: Censoring Books and Archives

6-7 November 2014
Organised by:
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Event Type:
Conference / Symposium
A collaboration between the Institute of English Studies, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Senate House Library.
Call for papers extended: 30 June 2014 
‘Forbidden Access’ is a multidisciplinary conference exploring how published works and archival materials and the ideas contained in them are affected, obscured or distorted by censorship.
The conference seeks to explore the proliferating and divisive causes, symptoms and effects of the censoring impulse, from overt interference with a text to the subtler, intangible effects of caution and fear in the face of anticipated control, and to do so in relation to a variety of angles and contexts: aesthetic, cultural, socio-economic, ideological, legal, and political.
Proposals for 20 minute papers on censorship without restriction as to historical period or place are invited from historians, book historians, lawyers, legal historians, biographers, librarians, archivists and literary scholars on any aspect of the power of censorship, including, though not limited to:

• Direct state intervention in published expression
• Covert and direct censorship in the library and archive
• Self-censorship
• The role of the publisher in enforcing, testing or resisting censorship
• The effects of legislation, from the Obscene Publications Acts to the Terrorism Act
• Censorship and the legal protection of rights of freedom of expression and information
• Resistance from libertarians, campaigning groups and NGOs
• Suppression of materials through religious and cultural sensitivity
• Potential for creatively positive effects of writing to avoid the attention of the censor
• Reputational elevation of writers through their censored status

Please send paper proposals or 300 words max. plus a short biography to IESEvents@sas.ac.uk no later than 30 June 2014. 

18 June 2014

CONFERENCE: Fourth Worldwide Congress of the World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists - 24-26 June 2015 (Montreal, Canada)

“The Scholar, Teacher, Judge,
and Jurist in a Mixed Jurisdiction” 

The World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists is pleased to announce a Fourth Worldwide Congress to be held at McGill University’s Faculty of Law (Montreal, Canada) from an opening evening reception and lecture on 24 June through 26 June 2015. The theme of the Congress will be “The Scholar, Teacher, Judge and Jurist in a Mixed Jurisdiction.”

Mixed Jurisdictions, as they are traditionally understood, stand at the crossroads of the Common law and Civil law. They also frequently encompass other ethnic and religious laws. Rich in legal history and complex pluralism, they are often seen as natural laboratories of comparative law.

The laws, methods, and institutions of mixed jurisdictions are inevitably affected by the influence and presence of different traditions vying for supremacy or requiring reconciliation. Their added complexity places special demands upon the training of judges and jurists, the staffing of courts, the teaching of private law, the research of scholars, and the task of law reform. To what extent have these challenges been met by the actors and institutions of mixed jurisdictions?

We propose to investigate these issues.

Proposals for papers on any topic related to mixed legal systems are welcome. They may be submitted by jurists from any jurisdiction, and by members and non-members of the Society alike. Proposals should be submitted to WSMJJ General Secretary Seán Patrick Donlan (sean.donlan@ul.ie) by 15 October 2014. They should not exceed 500 words and should be accompanied by a curriculum vitae of one page only. The time allocated for delivery of papers will be no longer than 20 minutes. Papers delivered at the conference will be considered for publication.

The Society regrets that it cannot cover travel expenses of participants in the Congress.

Please reserve the date.

17 June 2014

CONFERENCE: Law and Language: Legislative Drafting and Translation

Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
27 June 2014, 11:00 - 17:00

Professor Silvia Ferreri;  Professor Maurizio Gotti;  Manuela Guggeis;  Andrè Michelle Labelle;  Dr Giulia Adriana Pennisi;  William Robinson;  Ingemar Strandvik;  Professor Thomas Glyn Watkin;  Professor Helen Xanthaki.
Organised by: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

This conference will look at the following aspects of legislative drafting and translation:

Multilingual Legal Systems: Challenges and benefits for legal systems which operate in more than one language.
    •    Chair:  Hayley Rogers, Office of Parliamentary Counsel
    •    Professor Thomas Glyn Watkin, University of Cardiff Law School
    •    André-Michel Labelle, International Court of Justice

Translation and EU Texts: The EU institutions function in 24 languages but to some extent English serves as a lingua franca. Is EU English a separate variety of English?
    •    Chair:  Jonathan Teasdale, Sir William Dale Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
    •    William Robinson,  Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
    •    Ingemar Strandvik,  European Commission Translation Directorate-General
    •    Manuela Guggeis, Legal Service of the Council of the European Union

Legal Translation and Language:  Linguistic and textual features of special-purpose texts and their function in specialized translation.
    •    Jules Winterton, Director, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
    •    Professor Maurizio Gotti, University of Bergamo
    •    Professor Silvia Ferreri, University of Turin

Concluding remarks:
    •    Professor Helen Xanthaki, Academic Director,  Sir William Dale Centre, Institute of Advanced

Legal Studies:
    •    Dr Giulia Adriana Pennisi, University of Palermo, Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

To book and pay the registration fee using the online payments system, please click here.
Fees: Full Rate: £75.00.  Student Rate: £45.00.
Enquiries:  Belinda.Crothers@sas.ac.uk
Related Events
    •    Statute Law and Legislative Drafting
    •    Law

Venue Details:
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Charles Clore House
17 Russell Square

Papers: Legal Scholarship Network: Legal Studies Research Paper Series

Papers:  Legal Scholarship Network:  Legal Studies Research Paper Series

Legal Scholarship Network: Legal Studies Research Papers Series, University College Dublin is now available on SSRN.  Content includes:

2013 marked the fortieth anniversary of Ireland’s membership of the EU and is also the year Ireland exited the Troika (European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank) bail-out programme. The presence of the Troika generated considerable debate around the nature of Irish sovereignty drawing attention to the extent of economic interdependence. These debates prompted a conference where speakers could reflect on the nature of sovereignty. The five papers below were some of those presented that day.

There are four interrelated themes that emerge from these five papers. First, sovereignty is changing and will continue to change because sovereignty is inherently dynamic in nature. Second, membership of the EU shores up national sovereignty by acting as a mirror for it and by its dependence in particular on the democratic imperative of the state as a constraint on and legitimating mechanism for EU action. Third, national constitutions remain important in defining, sharing and limiting the sharing of national sovereignty with the EU and, finally, related to this, the nature of sovereignty differs between member states and as between national and international law. The changing and dynamic nature of sovereignty creates a conceptual space within which to consider the relationship between the EU and its Member States. It also points to a future where sovereignty will continue to change allowing for creative responses to the tensions between sovereign interdependence and sovereignty as a constraint on the EU in the context of changing sovereignty also in the international legal order.

This public lecture was given at the Royal Irish Academy on December 5, 2013, to keynote the 16th Irish European Law Forum on "Changing Sovereignty in Europe" at University College Dublin. In the context of the Eurozone crisis, few countries have experienced the changing nature of sovereignty more acutely than Ireland. But these acute transformations should not obscure for us how, in the context of European integration over the last half century, the transformation of sovereignty has also been a chronic phenomenon. This process began well before Ireland’s accession in 1973 and has certainly continued ever since. This lecture asserts that the changing nature of national sovereignty in relation to European integration is in fact a "new dimension to an old problem," albeit one with a peculiar, supranational dimension. That "old problem" is the legitimation of regulatory power as it diffuses and fragments away from more strongly-legitimated constitutional bodies of the nation-state – legislative, executive, and judicial – i.e., the privileged instrumentalities of sovereignty in modern liberal, representative democracies. This separation of regulatory power from the historically "constituted" bodies of the nation-state is the essence of modern administrative governance. In this sense, the changing nature of sovereignty in Europe is in fact part of a deeper historical transformation of modern governance tied not to integration per se, but rather to the emergence of the modern administrative state. One cannot understand this deeper transformation without an appreciation of the administrative state’s connection to – but also deep tension with – the constitutional consolidation of liberal, representative democracy as the presumptively legitimate form of "sovereign" self-government that took place over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The notion of constitutional identity has recently gained an unprecedented importance in the European Union. The similarities between the traditional Irish case-law and recent national decisions referring to this notion, notably in France and in Germany, makes of Ireland a relevant basis to inquire into a notion that remains elusive. In light of the Irish experience of membership to the European Union, the notion of constitutional identity finds its raison d’être in the recognition of the sovereign will to participate in the process of European integration. Therefore, normative conflicts are dealt with as a conciliatory balance between sovereign expressions of equal value. Due to the ineluctable nature of the process of European integration, the notion of constitutional identity corresponds to the necessity to design a suitable instrument for controlling the application of EU law. The identity value ascribed to certain constitutional provisions is gained from their very confrontation to EU law. This makes of the European Union this necessary otherness, the relationship with and reaction to are constitutive of the constitutional identity of Member States. The notion of constitutional identity thus departs from an essentialist understanding and corresponds to a specific interpretive practice. It is best understood as self-hood, i.e., as the continuing ability for the Member States to define themselves within the evolving process of European integration.

A. (TON) VAN DEN BRINK, JAN WILLEM CASPER VAN ROSSEM, Utrecht University - Utrecht Centre for Shared Regulation and Enforcement in Europe – RENFORCE

The central aim of this paper is to identify the content of the principles of stability, national sovereignty and solidarity and to analyse how these principles interact with regard to EU economic governance. The first prong of this paper research is largely conceptual in nature and looks at the principles of national sovereignty, stability and solidarity in a constitutional and conceptual way. The different conceptions of national sovereignty in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands are contrasted. The second part applies the principles of stability, solidarity and national sovereignty to the area of economic governance in the European Union. The second prong of our research takes a more practical viewpoint and focuses on the economic constitutional framework which the EU and the Member States have set up and in which they currently operate. Specifically, this part concentrates on the, mainly, executive measures which are adopted in the context of the European Semester. The analysis reveals an ambiguous relation and interaction between the principles, both at the conceptual level and at the level of economic policies. In any case, if national sovereignty is defined as being more than just the exercise of state powers, the interplay with solidarity and stability will not necessarily boil down to a zero-sum game. Instead, the three principles increasingly emerge as mutually indispensable and inseparable.

Sovereignty is deeply contested but omnipresent. The aim of this paper is not to offer a definitive conception of this multifaceted notion. It will rather identify three different dimensions that play a role in our understanding of sovereignty and use these as a basis to explain one particular aspect that has been underexplored in the academic debate: the link between internal and external sovereignty. Firstly, sovereignty describes a legal and political status; secondly, it refers to a factual condition; and thirdly, sovereignty entails a fiction that exists independently from factual or legal changes but that pervades our understanding. These three dimensions interlink and reinforce each other both internally (within the sovereign entity) and externally (in the international context).

The legal status and the factual condition usually, but not necessarily, come together. While territory, people and authority are usually considered the factual basis for legal sovereignty, there are no necessary and sufficient factual conditions that will automatically result in the legal status of being sovereign. As a fiction, sovereignty goes beyond power or legal entitlement. It grasps the deeper emotional and cultural dimension, the fear of losing control and ultimately relevance. Since popular sovereignty has replaced royal sovereignty, the internal political status is rooted in the consent of citizens. This creates a particular link of responsibility in that it aims to ensure that for any action of a sovereign entity there is ultimately an individual or a group of individuals that can be held responsible. This paper will explore to what extent this more recent understanding of internal sovereignty is and also should be relevant for our understanding of sovereignty more broadly, including external sovereignty as a condition and a fiction, but ultimately also as a legal status. Indeed, the paper argues there are pragmatic and normative arguments in favour of understanding internal and external sovereignty as a continuum. This confronts the traditional view of international law that denies this connection between the internal and external dimension of sovereignty entirely.

As we entered the twenty-first century questions were asked about the traditional Westphalian concept of sovereignty as part of the construction of a more coordinated international response to various humanitarian crises. The resulting 2005 World Summit Outcome document recognised that sovereignty carried responsibilities and if a state was unwilling (or unable) to meet those responsibilities then the international community could intervene. With the implementation of this principle (the responsibility to protect) the focus has shifted from respecting sovereignty to safeguarding the victims of the various crimes falling within the scope of the principle thus adding a new dimension to international law. It must be recognised that this is a very limited exception to sovereignty but it is not the only exception as international law has become increasingly fragmented with the introduction of various self-contained regimes in which special rules and techniques of interpretation apply. Included among these self-contained regimes is the law of the World Trade Organization. In 2006 the International Law Commission published their report on Fragmentation of International Law: Difficulties arising from the Diversification and Expansion of International Law. It concluded that although fragmentation has raised questions about the coherence of international law, it has increased its responsiveness to the regulatory context without seriously undermining legal security, predictability or the equality of States. This has been achieved through what the report characterised as a "basic professional tool-box" of interpretative techniques and the position accorded to jus cogens and obligations erga omnes. The tool-box has allowed international law to respond to various concerns, such as economic development, human rights and environmental protection but the resulting international legal system lacks the coherence exhibited by domestic legal systems. At this point, it must be recognised that that coherence has been increasingly undermined as problems having a regional or multilateral dimension require externally-sourced solutions which have an impact on sovereignty. If international law continues to respond to these problems through self-contained regimes then the fragmentation of international law will continue and sovereignty will continue to diminish. This contribution examines the continuing refinement of the tool-box as one method of addressing these problems before sketching an outline of a hierarchical system which could provide a solution to these problems. Both of these solutions have important implications for the future of sovereignty.


Book: Corruption, Economic Analysis and International Law

Book: Corruption, Economic Analysis and International Law


A new title published by Edward Elgar Publishing is now available: Corruption, Economic Analysis and International Law by Marco Arnone and Leonardo S. Borlini.

‘Although corruption has affected human society since its very birth with different intensity over time, it is not confined to any particular geographic region, country, social or political system or culture. Recently there has been widespread international determination to effectively curb such crime. Corruption: Economic Analysis and International Law by Marco Arnone and Leonardo Borlini reviews the richness and complexity of the ongoing research on corruption and shows the value of integrating a comprehensive economic understanding of its consequences and a critical assessment of the several legal instruments promoted by major intergovernmental organizations on this issue. This approach is particularly timely because, on the bright side, this book shows that economic crises may lead to greater social responsiveness in the face of attempts to drain public resources through corruption and bribery. The use of a wide range of economic models and the acute analysis of the contemporary evolution of traditional institutions belonging to the realm of international and European law represent two additional values of this work. Finally, the personal commitment of both authors to scientific research and professional activity related to public governance and anti-corruption reforms make this book a valuable source for further thought and analysis for scholars, public servants and practitioners.’
– Giorgio Sacerdoti, Professor of International and European Law, Bocconi University and former President of the WTO Appellate Body and Vice President of the OECD Working Group on Corruption
Contents: Foreword Preface Introduction Part I: Economics, Finance, and Governance Section 1: Economics 1. Opening Remarks: Corruption and Economic Analysis 2. Firms, Markets, and Corruption 3. Corruption and Macroeconomic Performance Section 2: Finance 4. Financial Markets: Bonds, Stocks, and Politically-connected Firms 5. The Impact of Corruption in Shares’ Returns of Euro-area Listed Industrial Firms 6. Operational Efficiency, Corruption, and Political Stability in Microfinance Section 3: Governance 7. Governance, Corruption, and Effects on Institutions Part II: Birth and Evolution of an Anti-corruption Global Legal Standard Trans-national Corruption and Effective Regulation Section 4: Cases of Trans-national Corruption: Description and Legal Issues 8. How Corruption Affects the Economic and Institutional Textures of States: three case examples Section 5: Horizontal Assessment of the International Hard Law Instruments 9. The US FCPA as the Archetype of the Supra-national Anti-bribery Regulation 10. The Emergence of an International Framework: Regional, International, and Multilateral Treaties and Initiatives 11. Criminalization of the Offence 12. Sanctions and Corporate Liability 13. Jurisdictional Issues 14. Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition 15. Preventive and Non-criminal Related Measures 16. Follow up Procedures as Specific Cases of International Supervision 17. Asset Recovery Afterword Bibliography Index

16 June 2014

CONFERENCE: Human Rights and Legal Pluralism in Theory and Practice

The Norwegian Centre for Human Rights in cooperation with the Rights, Individuals, Culture and Society Research Centre organize an international conference entitled ‘Human Rights and Legal Pluralism in Theory and Practice’ on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th December 2014 at the Faculty of Law of the University of Oslo. For more information see: 

BOOK: Understanding Constitutional Transformations: A New Study on the Highest Courts of Brazil, India and South Africa

In a groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of the relation between constitutions and social change in the Global South, the Pretoria University Law Press (Pulp) has just published an original book on the highest courts of Brazil, India and South Africa (BISA countries). The book Transformative Constitutionalism: Comparing the Apex Courts of Brazil, India and South Africa, published in December 2013 and now fully available online, is the first scholarly account on how the BISA highest courts manage to implement their respective transformative constitutions, including a critical view on instances where those courts fall short of it.

The book’s originality lies in the critical yet multi-faceted analyses it brings. Transformative Constitutionalism offers a horizontal look at a wide range of pressing constitutional issues in the BISA countries, including gender, sexual minorities, religion, health, land, citizenship, social movements and the use of international and foreign law by the highest courts. Such wide range of issues, combined with the first attempt in English to include an extensive comparative analysis of the Brazilian constitutional experience, makes this book a vital publication for constitutional scholars, human rights activists, lawyers and judges of those BISA countries and beyond.

Let alone being the first comprehensive study of this nature about BISA constitutions, Transformative Constitutionalism also brings three additional contributions. First, the book conveys a critical overview of the three BISA constitutions and their highest courts, describing for the international audience their main features, potentials and shortcomings. Second, the book debates how constitutional scholars do comparative constitutional work and what are its limits. Third, finally, the book ends with the insightful reflections of Justice ZM Yacoob, who served as a judge of the South African Constitutional Court from 1998 to 2013.

Apart from its multi-faceted scope, the overall theme of the book is transformative constitutionalism, an emerging topic in constitutional and human rights circles. In fact, the book opens with a critical exchange on different views regarding transformative constitutionalism. “This book represents an effort by human rights academics and activists to consider the constitutions of Brazil, India and South Africa as fundamental instruments in the promotion of rights and the consolidation of democracy in these countries. This transformational ideal makes this publication essential reading,” noted Juana Kweitel, program director at Conectas Human Rights. Conectas is one of the non-government organizations that contributed extensively to this publication, along with academics and activists from BISA countries.

Such an ambitious book is the product of a collaborative project. The 28-chapter publication results from the result of the research project “Justiciability of Human Rights – a comparative analysis: South Africa, Brazil and India”, which was coordinated by Conectas and involved a judge, academics and human rights defenders from these three countries. The team was coordinated by three of the most well respected scholars in each BISA country: in South Africa by Professor Frans Viljoen, in Brazil by Professor Oscar Vilhena Vieira and in India by Professor Upendra Baxi.

In Oscar Vilhena's opinion, the research result was a set of comprehensive and informative texts about the solutions found among the three analyzed countries on the way in which their supreme courts legally face social, political, and moral problems of high complexity. "The three constitutions were adopted at a time when the country came out of periods characterized by authoritarian rule, colonialism or apartheid, respectively. These documents not only faced the challenge of limiting the power of the State, but adopted ambitious challenges to change society. Not only to react to the recent past, characterized by the movements mentioned above, but to fight more historical aspects entrenched in inequality and injustice," he explained in the launch of the book at the FGV's São Paulo Law School on March 14, 2014.

To read the book, please click here

NEWS AND REVIEWS: European Network on Law and Society (Réseau Européen Droit & Société)

The excellent, very generous listings--of both Anglophone and Francophone materials--of the European Network on Law and Society (Réseau Européen Droit & Société), ‘Nouvelles du monde’ and ‘Au fil des revues’, are now available.


Have a look.