Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Virtual Bookshelf: “New Challenges to Constitutional Adjudication in Europe: A Comparative Perspective” (Routledge 2018)

Richard Albert, The University of Texas at Austin

The newest book in the Routledge Series on Comparative Constitutional Change is a volume on New Challenges to Constitutional Adjudication in Europe: A Comparative Perspective, co-edited by Zoltán Szente and Fruzsina Gárdos-Orosz, both of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the National University of Public Service.

Here is a short description of the book:

In the past few years, constitutional courts have been presented with new challenges. The world financial crisis, the new wave of terrorism, mass migration and other country-specific problems have had wide-ranging effects on the old and embedded constitutional standards and judicial constructions. This book examines how, if at all, these unprecedented social, economic and political problems have affected constitutional review in Europe. As the courts’ response must conform with EU law and in some cases international law, analysis extends to the related jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. The collection adopts a common analytical structure to examine how the relevant challenges have been addressed in ten country specific case studies. Alongside these, constitutional experts frame the research within the theoretical understanding of the constitutional difficulties of the day in Europe. Finally, a comparative chapter examines the effects of multilevel constitutionalism and identifies general European trends.

Part I of the volume — Conceptualizing pressure and change in constitutional adjudication — begins with a general introduction by Szente and Gárdos-Orosz entitled “Conceptualizing pressure and change in constitutional adjudication.” What follows is a chapter on “The Resistance of Constitutional Standards to the New Economic and Social Challenges and the Legitimacy of Constitutional Review in a Contemporary European Context” by Michel Verpeaux.

Part II — Coping with challenges by national courts — consists of eleven chapters that investigate constitutional courts in Croatia (Chapter 3: “Croatian constitutional adjudication in times of stress” by Djordje Gardasevic), France (Chapter 4: “Remarks on the case-law of the French Constitutional Council in relation to new challenges” by Fabrice Hourquebie), Germany (Chapter 5: “Beware of disruptions – The Bundesverfassungsgericht as Supporter of Change and Anchor of Stability” by Veith Mehde), Greece (Chapter 6: “From submission to reaction: The Greek Courts’ stance on the financial crisis” by Apostolos Vlachogiannis), Hungary (Chapter 7: “Judicial deference or political loyalty? The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s role in tackling crisis situations” by Szente and Gárdos-Orosz), Italy (Chapter 8: “Global markets, terrorism and immigration: Italy between a troubled economy and a Constitutional crisis” by Ines Ciolli), Poland (Chapter 9: “Constitutional judiciary in crisis. The case of Poland” by Mirosław Granat), Portugal (Chapter 10: “Constitutional law and crisis: the Portuguese Constitutional Court under pressure?” by Mariana Canotilho), Spain (Chapter 11: “Constitutional Courts under Pressure – New Challenges to Constitutional Adjudication. The Case of Spain” by Francisco Balaguer Callejón), and the UK (Chapter 12: “National Security and the Limits of Judicial Protection” by Patrick Birkinshaw, and Chapter 13: “The UK Supreme Court and Parliament: Judicial and Political Dialogues” by John Eldowney).

Part III — Responding to challenges on European level — includes three chapters, one each by Tania Groppi (Chapter 14: “New challenges for constitutional adjudication in Europe: What role could the ‘dialogue of courts’ play?”), Beatrice Delzangles (Chapter 15: “The negotiating function of the European Court of Human Rights: Reconciling diverging interests born from new European challenges”) and Márton Varju (Chapter 16: “The crisis, judicial power and EU law: could it have been managed differently by the EU Court of Justice?”).

Part IV — Constitutional courts under pressure – A European comparison — closes the volume with a final chapter by Szente and Gárdos-Orosz on “Constitutional courts under pressure – An assessment.”

The volume is brand new, and it is an excellent resource for scholars interested in how courts in Europe have confronted periods of crisis and stress.

Suggested Citation: Richard Albert, Virtual Bookshelf, “New Challenges to Constitutional Adjudication in Europe: A Comparative Perspective” (Routledge 2018) by Zoltán Szente and Fruzsina Gárdos-Orosz, Aprl. 8, 2018, at:



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