Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Comparative Public Law

Rohan Alva, Jindal Global Law School

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 Supreme Court of India ruled that ‘fatwas’ issued by ‘Shariat Courts’ are legally unenforceable, especially when they are issued against individuals who have not asked for such an intervention, and when the declarations may result in the infraction of rights. The Supreme Court, however, declined to order the closure of ‘Shariat Courts’ in India.
  2. The European Court of Justice reversed Germany’s decision to deny a visa to an applicant, who wished to join her husband residing in Germany, on grounds of the applicant’s inability to exhibit knowledge of the German language. In the process of impugning the German legislation of 2007 which authorized such visa denials, the Court affirmed that rejections of requests for visas must be case specific and the absence of a knowledge of the language alone should not be grounds for rejection.
  3. The Hungarian Constitutional Court declined to entertain a petition, filed by a member of the political opposition, which questioned the ‘Paks Russian loan deal’ not being subjected to a referendum.
  4. A District Court judge in Colorado, U.S.A., invalidated a state ban on same-sex marriage, considering the definition of marriage in purely heterosexual terms as insufficiently connected to any ‘government interest’.
  5. The Constitutional Court of Turkey has suspended the implementation of a legislation which saved certain corporations from submitting an ‘environmental impact assessment report’ in respect of certain contentious ‘gigantic projects’.

New Scholarship

  1. Derek O’ Brien, The Constitutional Systems of the Commonwealth Caribbean: A Contextual Analysis (Hart Publishing, 2014) (investigating the positive role that the architecture of the constitutions in the different Caribbean nations has had in fostering an environment of political peace in the aftermath of colonialism, and evaluating the pace and scope of “constitutional reform” in the Caribbean)
  2. Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz, Uncertain Justice: The  Roberts Court and the Constitution (Henry Holt and Co., 2014) (surveying a host of decisions delivered by the U.S. Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, and evaluating the transformative impact of these decisions on American society)
  3. Jiunn-rong Yeh and Wen-Chen Chang (editors), Asian Courts in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2014, forthcoming) (collecting essays in which the different authors assess the performance of the judiciary in over a dozen Asian nations; trace the points of contrast between Asian and non-Asian courts; and, review the factors, unique to each nation, which have had an influence upon the path that each nation’s judiciary has embarked upon)
  4. Gretchen Helmke and Julio Rios-Figueroa (editors), Courts in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2014) (a compilation of essays in which the authors measure the performance of Latin American constitutional courts, and critically analyse the points of divergence between the manner in which the different courts have discharged their judicial functions)
  5. Lucy A. Williams, The Right to Housing in South Africa: An Evolving Jurisprudence, 45 Columbia Human Rights Law Review 816 (2014) (seeking to provide a holistic account of the onward developments that have taken place in South Africa with regard to housing rights, and closely analysing the “three aspects” which have governed recent judicial decisions)
  6. Richard Albert, Constructive Unamendability in Canada and the United States, 67 Supreme Court Law Review (forthcoming 2014) (classifying the many forms of unamendability, developing the concept of constructive unamendability, and illustrating that the Senate in both Canada and the United is constructively unamendable).

In the News

  1. I-CONnect and IUS Publicum Network Review have entered into a partnership 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.
  2. Elections have recently been conducted in Indonesia in order to choose the nation’s next president. Reports suggest that the presidential candidate Joko Widodo might have garnered a lead, even as other reports suggest that the finality of the result of the elections might be delayed if challenged in the Indonesian Constitutional Court.
  3. The Lok Sabha of the Indian Parliament has passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, which would effect a transfer of certain districts from the newly created state of Telangana to Andhra Pradesh. Opponents of the Bill have raised a question of constitutional propriety as to whether a state’s border can be changed, by Parliament, without following the consultation process outlined in Article 3 of the Indian Constitution.
  4. Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan presidential candidates, have mutually consented to an authentication exercise to be undertaken of the nearly eight million votes that were polled. The election fell into controversy over allegations of ‘electoral fraud’ having been practiced.
  5. The English Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced that his government has received multi-partisan support to introduce ‘emergency legislation’ aimed at easing the ability of law protection agencies ‘to access phone and internet records’.
  6. Dominica’s Parliament passed a formal constitutional amendment in order to place the Caribbean Court of Justice at the apex, for the purposes of appeals which emerge from Dominca. As a consequence of the amendment, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council will cease to serve as the last court for appeals from Dominica.

Elsewhere on the Web

  1. Padraig Reidy, Has Ireland reintroduced criminal libel? Index on Censorship
  2. Joan Vennochi, Supreme Court’s Firsts Amendment hypocrisy, The Boston Globe
  3. Andrew Wheelhouse, The Zulu Case: Threats to Squatters’ Rights in South Africa, Oxford Human Rights Hub
  4. Apoorva Mandhani, While LGBT community celebrates the 5th anniversary of the historic Delhi HC judgment, the road ahead still remains unclear, Live Law
  5. Nicholas Watt, Former archbishop lends his support to campaign to legalise right to die, The Guardian

Call for Papers/Conferences

  1. Submissions are invited for the second issue of the Journal on Environment Law, Policy and Development. Authors must submit their papers to the journal by the 31st of October, 2014. The second issue is scheduled to be released in January, 2015.
  2. The Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana is hosting a conference on ‘Traditions, Borrowings, Innovations, & Impositions: Law in the Post-Colony and in Empire’ to be held from the 2nd to the 4th of July, 2015. Abstracts are to be submitted by the 1st of December, 2014.
  3. A call for papers has been issued by the Law Department of London School of Economics and Political Science for a conference on ‘De-juridification: Appearance and disappearance of law at a time of crisis’ which will be held on the 25th and 26th of October, 2014. Abstracts of papers are due by the 1st of August, 2014.
  4. Papers are called for by the Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change for its 38th Volume. Authors are to submit their manuscripts by the 7th of September, 2014.
  5. The New York Law School is organizing a conference on ‘Twenty Years of South African Constitutionalism’ from the 13th to the 16th of November, 2014. Abstracts along with a CV are should be sent in by the 15th of July, 2014.


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