Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Bárbara da Rosa Lazarotto, Master Student at the University of Minho – Portugal; Researcher at the International Legal Research Group on Human Rights and Technology of the European Law Students Association – ELSA.

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in public law. “Developments” may include a selection of links to news, high court decisions, new or recent scholarly books, and articles, and blog posts from around the public law blogosphere. To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Public Law,” please email

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany released a verdict on climate change, obliging the government to define emission-reduction targets.
  2. The Supreme Constitutional Court of Syria approved the eligibility of three candidates for the presidential run.
  3. The Supreme Court of India ruled that states cannot create a parallel regime regulating the real estate industry, and found the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act unconstitutional.
  4. The Constitutional Court of Ecuador found two articles of the Penal Code that criminalized abortion even in cases of rape unconstitutional.
  5. The Constitutional Court of Belarus found that the Personal Data Protection Law complies with the Constitution.
  6. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine launched a new online source called Library of Constitutional Law, which contains research publications and case law. 

In the News

  1. The newly elected Legislative Assembly of El Salvador removes all the judges of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, and Attorney General Raul Melara.
  2. The United Kingdom holds multiple elections, including elections to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Senedd, local councils, and other elected offices.
  3. Colombia is facing a surge of protests with 24 dead and hundreds of injured in a week of clashes between protesters and the police.
  4. Tension de-escalated between France and the UK due to the post-Brexit fishing rights in the Channel Islands after days of tension when France and the UK deployed patrol boats to the area.

New Scholarship

  1. Nausica Palazzo, ‘Judicial Activism’ in Europe: Not a Neat and Clean Fit, 14 ICL-Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law 4 (2021) (explaining wh the concept of judicial activism might not easily apply to the decision-making of European constitutional courts)
  2. Swati Jhaveri and Michael Ramsden (eds), Judicial Review of Administrative Action Across the Common Law World: Origins and Adaptation (2021) (comparatively examining common law models of administrative law)
  3. Ian Loveland, British and Canadian Public Law in Comparative Perspective (2021) (examining current human rights controversies in UK law in the light of the way such matters are dealt with in Canada)
  4. Mariolina, Eliantonio, Emilia Korkea-aho, and Oana Stefan (eds), EU Soft Law in the Member States: Theoretical findings and Empirical Evidence (2021) (analyzing the impact that non-legally binding material produced by EU institutions has on national courts and administration)
  5. Li-ann Thio and Jaclyn L Neo (eds), Religious Offences in Common Law Asia: Colonia, Legacies, Constitutional Rights and Contemporary Practice (2021) (providing a comparative analysis of how religious penal clauses have been developed and employed within Asia common law states and their impacts on constitutional rights)
  6. Victoria Miyandazi, Equality in Kenya’s 2010 Constitution: Understanding the competing and interrelated conceptions (2021) (examining the many ways diverse equality guarantees clash or are interrelated)
  7. Tanya Bagashka and Lydia Brashear Tiede, The Influence of Procurator Generals in Constitutional Review: The Case of Bulgaria, 8 Journal of Law and Courts 1 (2021) (examinin how the decisio to strike down laws in Bulgaria align with political preferences of judges, or the actors who appointed them to office as well as iterests of the parties expressed in amicus briefs)
  8. Maria Antonia Tigre, COVID-19, and Amazonia: Rights-based approaches for the pandemic response, Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law – RECIEL (2021) (examining the link between COVID‐19 and environmental protection in Amazonia from a rights‐based perspective)
  9. Maria Antonia Tigre and Natalia Urzola, The 2017 Inter-American Court’s Advisory Opinion: changing the paradigm for international environmental law in the Anthropocene, 12 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 1 (2021) (examining an advisory opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that recognized extraterritorial jurisdiction for transboundary environmental harm, right to a healty environment, and state responsibility for environmental damage)
  10. Tan Kian Leong and Shukri Shahizam, O’ Bitter Pill to Swallow: Separating Ratio from Dicta in Maria Chin Abdullah  (2021) (examining the the Malaysian Federal Court’s decision in Maria Chin Abdullah v DG of Immigration and the basic strcuture doctrine)
  11. Lorne Neudorf, COVID-19 in the Apex Courts of India and Australia: Judicial Roles and Constitutional Cultures (forthcoming 2021) (examining and comparing the COVID-related jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Australia)
  12. David Pozen & Thomas P. Schmidt, The Puzzles and Possibilities of Article V, Columbia Law Review (forthcoming 2021) (calling into question the dominant view that “Article V is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity, and calls for no resort to rules of construction” and examining the implications of this important revelation)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The ICON-S-IL Conference will be held on zoon on May, 27 at 6:30 PM (Israel Time) / 11:30 AM (EST). It will reflect on popular sovereignty, constituent power, territory, and social imagination concerning the Israeli context and beyond. The Conference will be held in English, all participants from all around the world are invited to attend. For registration click here.
  2. The Younger Comparatists Committee – YCC of the American Society of Comparative Law – ASCL invites submissions for its Tenth Annual Conference to be held on October 21 and 23, 2021. The deadline for submissions is July 10th, 2021. 
  3. The C4AI invites students and professionals to submit papers for the International Seminar on Artificial Intelligence: Democracy and Social Impacts. The deadline for submissions is June 22nd, 2021. 
  4. The Annual Junior Faculty Forum for International Law announces the 10th Forum hosted by the South African Research Chair on International Constitutional Law that will take place on December 13, 14 &15, 2021. Applicants are invited to submit a proposed research presentation to the Forum. 
  5. Droit Public Comparé – Comparative Public Law (DPC-CPL) invites those that are interested to submit papers to the biannual peer-reviewed journal dedicated to Comparative Public Law. Articles can be written in English or French, and will be published in spring and autumn, 2022.
  6. Calls are open for the Human Rights Yearbook by the Human Rights Centre of the Faculty of Law of the University of Chile until 15 May 2021. 
  7. Calls are open for the Human Rights Directory of 2021 held by the Instituto de Derechos Humanos Ignacio Ellacuría, SJ. de la Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla. Deadline for submission is August 6, 2021.
  8. The U.S Feminist Judgements Project announces its 2021 Summer Feminist Legal Theories Series and it is open for presenters, papers, and participants. The deadline is May 28, 2021.
  9. The Jurisprudence Department of the University of Torino opens a call for papers for the convention that celebrates the 60th anniversary of the European Social Charter. The deadline for submission is August 2, 2021.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Marew Abebe Salemot, Draft Criminal Procedure and Evidence Law Contradicts the Ethiopian Constitution and Federal Architecture, IACL-IADC Blog
  2. Bat-Orgil Altankhuyag, The Price of Limiting Power: Why Constitutional Democracy in Mongolia is in Danger, Verfassungsblog
  3. Satang Nabaneh, The Use of Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19 in The Gambia, Verfassungsblog
  4. Pierre de Vos, Why is the JSC irrationally refusing to recommend the suspension of Judge President Hlophe?, Constitutionally Speaking
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Published on May 10, 2021
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Taking Constitutional Statecraft Beyond the Courts – a Book Review of Yvonne Tew’s “Constitutional Statecraft in Asian Courts”

[Editor’s Note: In this installment of I•CONnect’s Book Review Series, Ming-Sung Kuo reviews Yvonne Tew’s book on Constitutional Statecraft in Asian Courts (Oxford University Press, 2020)]

Ming-Sung Kuo, Associate Professor, University of Warwick, UK

National experiences in Asia have abundantly enriched the gene pool of comparative constitutional law thanks to great efforts of scholars from Asia and beyond (examples here, here, here, and here). Yvonne Tew’s Constitutional Statecraft in Asian Courts is a welcome addition. Comparing Malaysia and Singapore, Tew tells a well-crafted story of how courts in aspiring democracies in Asia have managed to resurrect from regimes long dominated by political forces. With Malaysia – the better half in her constitutional tale of the two states – in mind, she contends that courts can strategically empower themselves and rein in political power with judicial techniques (p. 6). Ending her tale with mixed pictures of judicial performance in matters of religion and national security (chs 7-8), Tew parts company with her fellow travellers who have suggested a less assertive judicial role in their narratives of the emergence of constitutionalism in Asia (pp. 128-30, 181-82). Tew prescribes a robust role for courts in the realms where state-building continues and democracy remains fragile (pp. 179-88, 204-19).

Yet, beneath the surface-level divergence lies a common thread in Tew’s and her companions’ narratives: the importance of judicial strategy in the constitutional renaissance in Asia (pp. 4-12, 125-40) (examples here, here, here, here, and here). In this contribution, I interrogate the notion of judicial strategy at the core of Tew’s tale of constitutional statecraft.  With judicial strategy, institutional self-preservation, and doctrinal borrowing picked out, I suggest that court jurisprudence-oriented narratives of constitutional renaissance have taken a reductive view of constitutional statecraft with the latter being equated with the judicial deployment of doctrinal techniques. To show why we need to extend the focus beyond the courts in understanding constitutional statecraft, I start with Tew’s crown doctrine: the basic structure doctrine.

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Published on May 7, 2021
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Call for Proposals and Papers | New Challenges and New Solutions: The Dawn of Smart Cities Law

The IUS Publicum Network Review invites short proposals for papers to be included in a special issue on Smart Cities. Proposals should be sent by May 31, 2021. Proposals will be reviewed and applicants will be notified by June 15, 2021. Fully developed papers will be expected by July 31, 2021. Further details follow below.


Cities are increasingly on the front lines in the battle to address our most pressing global challenges, from climate change to population growth, and from economic downturns to public health emergencies. Cities are the beating heart of human society. According to the United Nations, two-thirds of the world population will live in urban areas by 2050. Cities are therefore not only the venue where the solutions to our challenges may be found, cities are also themselves part of the solutions.

Enter the concept of a smart city. A smart city implies the use, in an urban area, of the latest information and communication technologies (ICT), aimed at collecting data from users of city services. The overarching objectives are to improve governance, to deploy the teachings of science and technology, and to improve the lives of all individuals.

The idea of a smart city raises several interesting questions in the field of public law.

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Published on May 6, 2021
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ICON Volume 18, Issue 4: Editorial

We invited Ruth Rubio-Marín, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Seville, Spain, to write a Guest Editorial. Following the Editorial, an earlier interview by Ruth Rubio-Marín with Justice Ruth Ginsburg which first appeared in vol. 15:3 of the journal is reprinted.

Constitutional law and women’s citizenship: A retrospective—In memoriam Ruth Bader Ginsburg

As we find ourselves mourning the untimely passing away of one of the greatest legal icons of our times, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, described by many as the Thurgood Marshall for women, this may be the time to look back and reflect on how our discipline, constitutional law, throughout its existence has served the one central goal that seems most to have motivated the life-long career of this extraordinary judge: the achievement of women’s equal citizenship stature.

The world in which Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in 1933 was clearly one that fell short of this goal in fundamental ways. Justice Ginsburg was born from a mother, Cecilia Bader, known to be intellectually ambitious, who graduated from high school at fifteen, but could not attend college, as the limited resources of the family went to her brother´s education. She herself was accepted at Harvard Law School, in 1956, only six years after the school started admitting women (she was one of nine out of a total of 552 students). In spite of graduating top of her class at Columbia, where she completed her law degree, she entered a job market where sex-based discrimination was perfectly legal. Both she and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Justice at the Supreme Court and the only one to precede her, shared the experience of being denied opportunities, such as clerkships and positions at law firms, just because they were women. In her own words, theirs was a world in which “the law books were riddled with gender-based differentials … and the overall picture was that of separate spheres: the paid work sphere for men, the home and childcare sphere for women. If the woman worked, she was just a pin money earner.”[1]

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Published on May 5, 2021
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ICON’s Latest Issue: Table of Contents

Volume 18 Issue 4

Table of Contents


Honor Roll of Reviewers 2020

ICONIC Interview

Ruth Rubio-Marín,Notorious RBG”: A conversation with United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Samuel Issacharoff, The corruption of popular sovereignty

Gabrielle Appleby and Anna Olijnyk, Constitutional norms: practice and perceptions

Alan Greene, Parliamentary sovereignty and the locus of constituent power in the United Kingdom

Andrea Katz, Taming the prince: Bringing presidential emergency powers under law in Colombia

Critical Review of Governance

Danwood Chirwa, Constitutional rights, horizontality and the Ugandan Constitution: An example of emerging norms and practices in Africa

Critical Review of Jurisprudence

Sofia Charvel and Fernanda Cobo Armijo, Mexican apex judiciary and its multiple interpretations: Challenges for the constitutional right to health

Symposium: Peace Processes and Constitution-making: Comparative Perspectives on Conflict Resolution and Constitutionalism

Melissa Crouch, Introduction

Mark Tushnet and Beatriz Botero Arcila, Conceptualizing the role of courts in peace processes

David Landau, The causes and consequences of a judicialized peace process in Colombia

Jeremy Webber, Federalism’s radical potential

Melissa Crouch, Peace processes, federalism and constitution-making: Constitutional touchstones in the debate on peace agreements and constitutional reform in Myanmar

Tarik Olcay and Asli Ozcelik, (Un)constitutional Change Rooted in Peace Agreements

Moeen Cheema and Farooq Yousaf, Constitutionalizing a perpetual transition: The integration of the Pashtun “tribal areas” in Pakistan

I.CON: Debate!

Stephen Gardbaum, Comparative political process theory

Replies to Stephen Gardbaum

Michaela Hailbronner, Political process review: Beyond distrust.

Roberto Gargarella, From “democracy and distrust” to a contextually situated dialogic theory

Tom Gerald Daly, Charting a way forward? Post-juristocracy, democratic decay, and the limits of Gardbaum’s valuable theory

Aileen Kavanagh, Comparative political process theory

Rosalind Dixon, A new comparative political process theory?  

Richard Pildes, Political process theory and institutional realism

Stephen Gardbaum, Comparative political process theory: A rejoinder

Book Review Symposium

David Abraham, Citizenship and justice: Comments on Dimitry Kochenov’s Citizenship

Yasemin Nuhoglu Soysal, Citizenship’s double-edged sword: Locating liberalism and illiberalism in citizenship

Ashley Mantha-Hollands and Liav Orgad, Citizenship at a crossroad

Dimitry Vladimirovich Kochenov, Ending the passport apartheid. The alternative to citizenship is no citizenship—A reply

Book Reviews

Congyan Cai, Review of Maria Adele Carrai, Sovereignty in China: A Genealogy of a Concept Since 1840

Tom Ginsburg, Review of Robert Hazell & Bob Morris, eds., The Role of Monarchy in Modern Democracy: European Monarchies Compared

Raphael Lorenzo A. Pangalangan, Review of Dian A. H. Shah, Constitutions, Religion, and Politics in Asia: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka

Stefan Salomon, Review of Ayelet Shachar, The Shifting Border: Legal Cartographies of Migration and Mobility

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Published on May 4, 2021
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What’s New in Public Law

Eman Muhammad Rashwan, Ph.D. Candidate in the European Doctorate in Law & Economics (EDLE), Hamburg University, Germany; Assistant Lecturer of Public Law, Cairo University, Egypt.

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in public law. “Developments” may include a selection of links to news, high court decisions, new or recent scholarly books, and articles, and blog posts from around the public law blogosphere.

To submit relevant developments for our weekly feature on “What’s New in Public Law,” please email

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Texas’ challenge to California’s ban on state-funded business trips to Texas and other states deemed to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
  2. The Indian Supreme Court directed the state governments of Gujarat and Rajasthan to lay all low voltage power lines underground in the Great Indian Bustard’s (GIB) preferred and potential habitats as identified by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) a few days earlier to the court judgment.
  3. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 opinion in Niz-Chavez v. Garland, reversing a lower court’s decision that had limited access to “cancellation of removal,” an important form of relief for non-citizens deportation proceedings.
  4. The Supreme Court of India dismissed with costs a plea by a commerce graduate seeking directions for tests and treatments to be conducted to treat COVID-19. The Court pulled up the petitioner for filing a petition without any knowledge on the subject.

In the News

  1. India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said it ordered Twitter, Facebook, and others to take down roughly 100 social media posts. Amnesty International described the order as a blockage for criticism of COVID response, undermining Indian citizens’ freedom of expression and the right to receive and impart information without interference.
  2. The Egyptian Parliament agreed with the majority on a bill that increases the criminal sanction on female mutilation to 7 years of imprisonment and can reach 20 years in some cases.
  3. The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution observes people and groups of the “Querdenken” movement, which translates to “lateral thinking.” The office classifies the group nationwide as “collective observation objects” because of being “Democracy-hostile and/or security-endangering delegitimization of the state,” for their agenda that “goes beyond mere mobilization to protests against the state’s corona protective measures.”
  4. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights addressed a warning notice to the interior minister requesting him to urgently enable the prisoners to register for the COVID-19 vaccination in a preparatory step to file a case in this regard.
  5. Over a decade after it ruled that the Second Amendment protects the right to have a handgun in the home for self-defense, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether the Constitution also protects the right to carry a gun outside the home.
  6. The constitutional conflict in Tunisia between the President, the Prime Minister, and the Parliament mounts as the President says that his constitutional powers as commander of the armed forces include the internal security forces.

 New Scholarship

  1. Marek Zubik, Jan Podkowik, Robert Rybski (eds.), European Constitutional Courts towards Data Retention Laws, Part of the “Law, Governance and Technology Series book series,” Springer Link, LGTS, volume 45 (2021) (analyzing the impact the jurisprudence of the constitutional courts of the E.U. Member States and the Court of Justice of the European Union has had on the perception of freedom of communications in the digital era concerning these courts’ judgments regarding regulating storage and access to telecommunications data from 2008 to 2017)
  2. Conor Casey and David Kenny, The Gatekeepers: Executive Lawyers And The Executive Power In Comparative Constitutional Law, International Journal of Constitutional Law (Forthcoming 2022) (compare the practice of the executive legal advisors in four similar but somewhat distinct jurisdictions – the UK, Canada, the U.S., and Ireland – to assess its impact on constitutionalism and the executive power)
  3. Vanessa A. Boese, Amanda B. Edgell, Sebastian Hellmeierhttps, Seraphine F. Maerz, and Staffan I. Lindberghttps, How democracies prevail: democratic resilience as a two-stage process, DEMOCRATIZATION (Forthcoming, 2021) (introducing a novel conceptualization of democratic resilience – a two-stage process where democracies avoid democratic declines altogether or avert democratic breakdown given that such autocratization is ongoing)
  4. Mark Fenster Transparency and The First, 14 FIU L. Rev. 713 (Forthcoming, 2021) (offering friendly amendments regarding the distinction between public and private speech in the US., the statutory rights to information available under the federal Freedom of Information Act and other laws, and how the Trump presidency confounded everyone’s understanding of what transparency might mean)
  5. Phil Lord, Religious Legitimacy, 90 UMKC L. Rev. (Forthcoming, 2021) (demonstrating both the importance of expertise and scholarship in framing a religion’s claim of legitimacy in law and how a religious group can harness expertise to gain this legitimacy)
  6. John Nkeobuna Nnah Ugoani, Good Local Government Management and Rural Development in Nigeria, American Journal of Social Science Research, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2021) (recommending that local government management in Nigeria should be guided by the provisions of the 1976 local government reforms and the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, based on an exploratory research design results)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. De Haagse Hogeschool / The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Hague, Netherlands, is looking for a Lecturer of E.U. Law. The deadline for applications is 16 May 2021.
  2. The World Food Programme (WFP) seeks candidates to join its Legal Office (LEG) of the WFP’s headquarters in Rome, Italy as a Legal Consultant – Contractual and Constitutional Law Branch (LEGC). The deadline for applications is 17 May 2021.
  3. The INTER PARES | Parliaments in Partnership – E.U. Global Project to Strengthen the Capacity of Parliaments invites all to the first-of-its-kind Global Virtual Conference ‘Catalysing Parliamentary Action to Fight Climate Change’, taking place on 11-12 May 2021.
  4. The University of Gothenburg is hiring an Associate Senior Lecturer at the V-Dem Institute and the Department of Political Science. Deadline: 10 May 2021. More info and apply here.
  5. Democracy Reporting International (DRI) is organizing an online event to mark the launch of their new report evaluating the pandemic response that has affected the rule of law across the E.U. under the title “Extraordinary or extralegal responses? The rule of law and the COVID-19 crisis,” on 5 May 2021. Registration is open here.
  6. The yearly ‘Federal Scholar in Residence Programme’ welcomes both academics and practitioners to apply to the program at the Institute for Comparative Federalism at Eurac Research, located in Bolzano, South Tyrol (Northern Italy). The winner of each year’s program is granted a research residency of up to 3 weeks at the research center. Expenses for travel and accommodation are covered. The deadline for applications is 1 July 2021.
  7. Maynooth University National University of Ireland Maynooth – Department of Law is seeking excellent academics to join their staff as Assistant Professors / Lecturers in Law, with a particular interest in Public Law (including, but not limited to, comparative constitutional law).
  8. The Washington College of Law at American University has opened registration for its summer course on Comparative Public Law in the Program on Law & Government.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Dinesha Samararante, The Port City Bill: Legislative Carving Out from a Constitutional Democracy?, GROUNDVIEWS
  2. Amy Howe, Justices ponder narrow ruling in student speech case, SCOTUSblog
  3. Michael Keating, The sovereignty conundrum and the uncertain future of the Union, The Constitution Unit
  4. Nika Bačić Selanec, COVID-19 and the Rule of Law in Croatia: Majoritarian or Constitutional Democracy?, Verfassungsblog
  5. Linda Ajemba, Using evidence in the time of COVID-19 to reduce health inequalities for Persons with Psychosocial Disability in South Africa, AfricLaw
  6. Ganeah Sahathevan, Malaysia’s Federal Court can provide The Agong a solution to His Majesty’s Emergency rule Court, but Court must be willing to justify its status as guardian of the Constitution, realpolitikasia
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Published on May 3, 2021
Author:          Filed under: Developments

The Latest from Ius Publicum Network Review

Gabriella M. Racca, University of Turin

Since 2015, I-CONnect and IUS Publicum Network Review have partnered to deepen the study of comparative public law and to enhance its online coverage.

The IUS Publicum Network Review is a network of the national leading public and administrative law journals in Europe, whose aim is to track and interpret the evolution of public law in each country involved, pointing out its influences on the construction of an administrative and public European law and its connections with other legal cultures.

Moreover, the Ius Publicum Network Review has started the circulation of internal Call for Papers on different topics such as multilevel governance and emergency, smart city, digitalization, cultural heritage, and the circular economy.

The online review publishes online contributions in open access on politematic Issues.

We will be glad to receive emails from scholars and academics interested in publishing on these and other different topics. To have contact us, please send an email to:

Issue 1-2020 of the IUS Publicum Network Review is now online. The articles and the reports are available at the links below. 


1. Romain Mertens | Freedom of religion and freedom of demonstration during the Covid-19 pandemic: a comparative analysis of administrative case law in France and Belgium
2. Jamie Grace | UK human rights challenges in the time of Covid-19
3. Luigi Previti | Regulation issues of algorithmic administrative decisions: looking for an Italian legislative model


4. European Law, Comparative Law, Constitutional Law and International Law – Human Rights | ENG: Peter Bußjäger, Mathias Eller , Alice Meier, Central or Regional Corona-Management? A Journey Through Time in The Jungle of Ordinances

Issue 2-2019 is also complete. The articles and the reports are available at the links below.


1. Roberto Cavallo Perin | 2020 Pandemic: Emergency decrees and ordinances
2. Mathias Amilhat | Classification of public contracts in the context of national laws
3. Livia Lorenzoni | The risk of corruption in urban planning
4. Valentina De Gregorio, Giulia Parola, Arianna Porrone, Margherita Paola Poto, Apostolos Tsiouvalas | Inclusion, coexistence, and resilience: the new frontiers of environmental law encoded in the genes of indigenous law


5. Public Contracts | FRA: Nicolas GABAYET, Les principes du droit des contrats publics en France

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Published on May 1, 2021
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Minority Rights – Ukraine’s Gateway to the West

Balázs Tárnok, Hungary Foundation’s Visiting Research Fellow – Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame, USA; Associate Researcher – Europe Strategy Research Institute, University of Public Service, Budapest.

In 2017, the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) adopted a new Law on Education which limits the right of ethnic minorities to be educated in their native language after the fourth grade. In 2019, the Parliament adopted the State Language Law to expand the usage of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of public life. As a result, minority languages, with a few exceptions, can only be spoken in private communication or during religious events. Both laws thus strip ethnic minorities of already acquired rights.

Although the main goal of the legislation was to promote Ukrainian as the sole legitimate language, and thus can be seen as an element of anti-Russian policy, as ‘collateral damage’ it obstructs the use of all minority languages, including Hungarian, Polish and Romanian. Yet the right of national minorities to be educated in their mother tongue is a longstanding right. In the Basic Treaty between Hungary and Ukraine (signed with the express support of the US government and entered into force in 1993), both parties declared that they will ensure the necessary opportunities for national minorities to learn their native language and to study in their native language at all levels of the educational system.

Consequently, Ukraine’s 2017 Law on Education represents a radical change of the status quo. Several European governments protested against its introduction, namely Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Greece.

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Published on April 30, 2021
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Message from the Editors of ICON and EJIL

A great deal of the production process of ICON and EJIL takes place in India. We are all aware of the enormity of the COVID challenge facing India and its painful human cost. We express our solidarity with the members of the journal production teams in India. We also trust that our authors and readers will accept the inevitable delays with understanding.

The Editors

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Published on April 28, 2021
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The Return of Lula in Brazil: New Challenges for Comparative Presidential Studies

Juliano Zaiden Benvindo, University of Brasília and National Council for Scientific and Technological Development

[Editors’ Note: This is one of our biweekly ICONnect columns. For more information on our four columnists for 2021, please see here.]

A recent column published in The Economist titled The Problem of Latin America’s Proxy Presidents raises the argument that, as “a result of term limits and partly a consequence of the commodity boom of the 2000s,” there has been a proliferation of “proxy” presidents in the region. Examples, according to that magazine, are Luis Arce as Evo Morales’ proxy in Bolivia, Iván Duque as Álvaro Uribe’s proxy in Colombia, Alberto Fernández as Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s proxy in Argentina, and Dilma Rousseff as Lula da Silva’s proxy in Brazil. In Ecuador, Andrés Arauz would be Rafael Correa’s proxy, but he ended up losing the elections last April. This scenario is depicted as problematic because “a proxy risks being a weak president, carrying the can for decisions inspired by a sponsor who exercises power without responsibility.” Another interesting occurrence in Latin America are presidents who leave office but run again for presidency once the opportunity arises. Chile is a great example: Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010; 2014-2018) and Sebastián Piñera (2010-2014; 2018-2022) have switched their positions quite synchronically, reflecting a stable electoral division in that country between the center-left and center-right political spectrums. Brazil, where its rather stable coalitional presidentialism for over twenty-five years was disrupted by the victory of Jair Bolsonaro in 2018,[1] may elect Lula da Silva (henceforth Lula), who governed the country for two terms (2003-2006; 2007-2010), in the next 2022 presidential elections. Brazil could thus experience both movements in its recent history: a “proxy” president represented by Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016 on very flimsy legal grounds, and the return of her “sponsor” Lula for another term in office. What does the return of a “sponsor” president mean for comparative presidential studies?

The Economist’s column endorses a common but controversial argument in presidential studies. The dichotomy between “proxy” and “sponsor” presidents may sound plausible, but under what circumstances does such a relationship actually differ from normal politics? The analytical frontier here might be quite slim. Presidents may be stronger or weaker than the previous one because of a series of complex variables – either subjective (leadership, charisma, intelligence, etc.) or objective (congressional support, institutional dialogue, economy, international environment, etc.). Presidents may also have interest in returning later to office or preserving their policies for long by keeping an eye on their successors, but whether this means a personal or an institutional interest – for example, of their party – seems an artificial divide. Naturally, personality traits matter and should be interpreted as fundamental “independent variables” for presidential studies,[2] but it would be misleading to downplay the whole institutional settling and other environmental elements in politics. Moreover, even if we hypothetically considered that former presidents sponsor in some ways the new president exclusively for his or her personal gain and “not necessarily those of the country,” it would not represent in itself an atypical political behavior.

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Published on April 28, 2021
Author:          Filed under: Developments