Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

Patrick Yingling, Reed Smith LLP

In this weekly feature, I-CONnect publishes a curated reading list of developments in comparative 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 comparative public law blogosphere.

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

Developments in Constitutional Courts

  1. The First Senate of the German Constitutional Court decided that the authorization of the Federal Criminal Police Office to carry out covert surveillance measures in order to protect against threats from international terrorism is, in principle, compatible with fundamental rights under the German Basic Law.
  2. Russia’s Constitutional Court rejected as “non-executable” a European Court of Human Rights ruling that Russia must reform an absolute ban on voting rights for prisoners.
  3. Hungary’s Constitutional Court ruled that a provision of the electoral law that prohibits documented Hungarian residents who are abroad on the day of voting from submitting their vote via mail does not violate the right to vote.
  4. Georgia’s Constitutional Court ruled that legislation allowing government security agencies to have direct, unrestricted access to telecom operators’ networks to monitor communications is unconstitutional.
  5. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas established a constitutional court that analysts say concentrates more power in his hands and may allow him to sideline the Islamist group Hamas in the event of a succession struggle.

In the News

  1. Venezuela’s opposition-led parliament approved new referendum rules that speed up the process of requesting recall referendums.
  2. The Bulgarian National Assembly approved the second reading of amendments to the Electoral Code introducing mandatory voting.
  3. Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso named former finance minister Clement Mouamba as prime minister, bringing a one-time opposition leader into the government.
  4. Campaigns will be prohibited in Thailand in the run-up to an August referendum on a new constitution that the military hopes will usher in stable politics but which critics say will stifle democracy.
  5. A warning by one of Italy’s most prominent judges over what he said were unprecedented levels of corruption among politicians has angered Matteo Renzi’s government and unleashed a political storm over the role of the judiciary.
  6. T.S. Thakur, India’s chief justice, requested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi double the number of judges to handle an “avalanche” of backlogged cases.

New Scholarship

  1. Emily S. Bremer, American and European Perspectives on Private Standards in Public Law, Tulane Law Review (forthcoming) (exploring the often-subtle differences in the private standardization systems and governmental standards policies in the U.S. and the EU)
  2. Bianca Selejan-Gutan, The Constitution of Romania: A Contextual Analysis (2016) (proving a contextual analysis of the Romanian constitutional system, with references to the country’s troubled constitutional history and to the way in which legal transplantation has been used)
  3. David Skarbek, Covenants without the Sword? Comparing Prison Self-Governance Globally, American Political Science Review (forthcoming) (developing a governance theory of prison social order with comparative analysis of Brazil, Bolivia, England, Scandinavia, and men’s and women’s prisons in California)
  4. Thomas Ugelvik, Prisons as Welfare Institutions? Punishment and the Nordic Model, in Handbook on Prisons (2016) (exploring the thesis that Nordic prisons and correctional systems are integrated parts of the strong, inclusive and ambitious Nordic welfare states that sets them apart from similar institutions and systems elsewhere)
  5. Richard W. Wright, Florence G’sell, Samuel Ferey, Introduction to Causation, Liability and Apportionment: Comparative Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 91 Chicago-Kent Law Review 445 (2016) (summarizing discussions of causation, liability and apportionment from philosophical, legal and economic perspectives by leading authors from various common and civil law jurisdictions)
  6. Daniel Quigley and Frederik Giancarlo Toscani, The Roles of Transparency in Regime Change: Striking When the Iron’s Gone Cold (2016) (addressing how freedom of information about an institution’s resilience affects its stability)
  7. Benjamin Alarie, The Path of the Law: Toward Legal Singularity (2016) (predicting that the coming decades will witness gradual transitions as “the legal singularity”—i.e., the culmination of the greater availability of data and improved methods of machine learning through advances in computer-assisted modelling and inference—draws nearer)
  8. Marina Aksenova, Solidarity as a Moral and Legal Basis for Crimes Against Humanity: A Durkheimean Perspective, iCourts Working Paper Series, No. 52 (2016) (invoking criminologically related work of Emile Durkheim to support the claim that moral legitimacy of crimes against humanity as a group of offences flows from the feelings collectively shared by individuals across state borders)
  9. Charles James Dunlap Jr., Accountability and Autonomous Weapons: Much Ado About Nothing?, Temple International & Comparative Law Journal (forthcoming) (maintaining that although no one can guarantee accountability for autonomous weapons systems, it is better to develop norms to control these systems than to attempt to ban them outright)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. Judge Guido Calabresi will be interviewed by Federico Fabbrini, inaugurating iCourts’ HiCourts Judges’ Dialogues Series. The interview will take place in Auditorium 1, University of Copenhagen, Main Building, Frue Plads 4, DK-1168 Copenhagen K from 15:30-17:00 on May 3, 2016. Registration is available here.
  2. City University London will host the inaugural event of the Global Law, Justice and Regulation Series on April 25, 2016 from 6:00–7:30 pm in Room A130 College Building St John Street London EC1V 4PB. This inaugural dialogue focuses upon the relationship between global law and transnational law.
  3. The School of Law at the University of Portsmouth, the European University Institute (EUI) and the School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool are organizing a two-day conference on “Building Consensus on European Consensus” to be hosted by the EUI in Florence on June 1-2, 2016.
  4. The Venice Academy of Human Rights will host a program on “Backlash against Human Rights?” on July 4-13, 2016 at the Monastery of San Nicolò, Venice – Lido, Italy. The application deadline is May 29, 2016.
  5. The Transnational Law and Justice Network will hold a workshop, “Contextualizing Social Justice in Transnational and International Law,” on August 8, 2016, at University of Windsor, Canada. The submission deadline for applications and abstracts is May 6, 2016.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Arne Cools, Cédric Labens, Liselotte Leenaerts, Manon Moerman, Jurgen Goossens, and Pieter Cannoot, Ideological balance in US Supreme Court and Belgian Constitutional Court, BelConLawBlog
  2. Zaid Al-Ali and Helen Lackner, Will Yemen’s latest round of negotiations reflect learning from past failures?, The Washington Post
  3. Satang Nabaneh, Suppressing dissent: The Gambian reality, AfricLaw
  4. Solomon Sogbandi, Healing the wounds of the civil war: The constitutional review process in Sierra Leone, ConstitutionNet
  5. Emily Michiko Morris and YiYang Jiang, The War Over Video Game Warriors, Comparative Law Prof Blog


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