a network of constitutionalists from countries throughout the world
Over the coming days, we are featuring each of the 20 workshops in the 10th IACL World Congress 2018 on “VIOLENT CONFLICTS, PEACE-BUILDING AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAW”, being held in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 18-22 June 2018. Full details are on the congress website, in English and French, along with information on how to submit a paper. Papers may be in either French or English. Please circulate to colleagues interested in the subject.
Moments of national crisis are often an important impetus for processes of constitutional change. Certain kinds of crisis can, in this sense, also be democracy-generative: they can provide the impetus for important reforms to existing political and economic systems in ways that advance substantive commitments to peace, justice and democracy. Yet change, under conditions of crisis, can also involve distinct dangers: it can reduce opportunities for debate and deliberation. It can silence or chill political opposition. And it can increase public support for changes to the power of current government actors that may advance democratic stability in the short-term, but at the expense of long-term democratic commitments and principles.
This workshop will examine this complex relationship between processes of constitutional amendment, and conditions of crisis, from a number of different directions.
First, it will explore the different ways in ‘amendment’ can occur in different systems, including via different formal procedures and processes, and formal and informal mechanisms. Second, it will consider the relationship between amendment processes and various kinds of crisis, and the normative and empirical dimensions of this relationship. Third, it will explore the way in which constitutional designers and judges have developed techniques to cabin the scope for constitutional amendment under conditions of crisis – including via eternity clauses, differential procedures for amendment, and the ‘unconstitutional constitutional amendment’ doctrine. Fourth, and finally, it will consider the degree to which processes of constitutional borrowing, comparison and engagement have informed these different constitutional responses, and their implementation in different national contexts.