Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Simon Drugda, PhD Candidate at the University of Copenhagen

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 UK Supreme Court held that citizens of Zambia could sue a mining company in the UK.
  2. The Constitutional Court of Moldova upheld an amnesty law that granted release from prison to mothers of children under the age of eight, but not an equal right to fathers.
  3. The Constitutional Court of South Korea found an anti-abortion law that made it a crime punishable by up to two years in prison unconstitutional. The Parliament has until the end of 2020 to revise the law.
  4. The Supreme Court of the Philippines halted the cutting and balling of trees in expansion plans of a popular mall in Baguio City until it complies with environmental requirements.
  5. The European Court of Human Rights delivered its first advisory, holding that states need not register the birth certificate of a child born through gestational surrogacy abroad to establish the legal parenthood of the intended mother, as adoption may be a means of recognizing that relationship.
  6. The European Court of Human Rights requested a reply from Russia to two cases initiated by the relatives of people who were killed in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17. They allege that Russia was directly or indirectly responsible.

In the News

  1. The UK considers new online safety laws. Companies will have a “duty of care” to take reasonable steps to keep their users safe and tackle illegal and harmful activity on their services.
  2. The European Union expressed its support for the International Criminal Court after the US revoked the entry visa of ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda over a probe into US soldiers’ actions in Afghanistan.
  3. The National Assembly of Cuba met in extraordinary session to enact the New Constitution, ratified a referendum in February.
  4. Sudanese President Hassan al-Bashir has been removed from office.
  5. The Vatican announced that the draft apostolic constitution governing the workings of the Roman Curia will be set for consultation to bishops’ conferences around the world.
  6. A Hong Kong court found nine members of the 2014 pro-democracy “Umbrella Movement” guilty of charges including conspiracy and inciting a public nuisance. The Court did not immediately announce sentences for the charges.

New Scholarship

  1. Brian Christopher Jones, Our Forgotten Constitutional Guardians: Preserving Respect for the Law, Statute Law Review (2019) (exploring the role of bill drafters within the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and senior clerks within the House of Commons in protecting the UK constitution)
  2. Heller Porsdam, The Transforming Power of Cultural Rights: A Promising Law and Humanities Approach (2019) (arguing that cultural rights offer a useful international arena and discourse in which to explain and negotiate cultural meanings when controversies arise)
  3. Jed Odermatt, The International Court of Justice and the Court of Justice of the European Union: Between Fragmentation and Universality of International Law, in Achilles Skordas (ed), Research Handbook on the International Court of Justice (2019 forthcoming) (discussing how the Court of Justice of the European Union has used judgments of the International Court of Justice in its legal reasoning)
  4. Andrew Coan, Rationing the Constitution:  How Judicial Capacity Shapes Supreme Court Decision-Making (2019) (explaining how judicial caseload shapes the course of American constitutional law and the role of the Court in American society)
  5. Carissima Mathen, Courts Without Cases The Law and Politics of Advisory Opinions (2019) (examining the role of the Supreme Court of Canada in issuing advisory opinions)

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Democratic Decay Resource (DEM-DEC), which has been renamed Democratic Decay & Renewal (DEM-DEC), released its ninth Global Research Update on democratic decay (April 2019 – available here), containing new research worldwide from March and early April 2019; items suggested by DEM-DEC users; a rapidly expanding list of forthcoming research; and a list of new resources added to the Links section. A post introducing the Update was published on the IACL-AIDC Blog on Thursday 11 April, and will shortly be published on Verfassungsblog.
  2. The University of Maastricht invites applications for an Assistant Professorship in European and/or Comparative Administrative Law. The Faculty invites applicants who have an interest specifically in either of these two research themes: 1) Digital legal studies: building technology for law and 2) Law in a globalizing society: regulation and protection.
  3. The Italian Chapter of the ICON-S invites submission for its conference on “New Technologies and the Future of Public Law,” to be held in Florence, on November 22-23. The deadline for submissions is July 10, 2019.
  4. The University of Copenhagen invites applications for two teaching position in Advanced EU Constitutional Law and European Data Protection Law. The deadline for applications is September 1, 2019.
  5. The Católica Law Review invites submissions for the 2020 January thematic issue on “(Re)Inventing the State in the 21st Century.” The deadline for submissions is September 30.
  6. The UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence invites submission for its Autumn 2019 issue. The extended deadline for paper submissions is April 26.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Lénárd Sándor, ‘Constitutional education is key in addressing the constitutional challenges of our time’ – conversation with Professor Jeffrey Rosen, President of the National Constitution Center, precedens.mandiner
  2. David R. Cameron, 48 hours before no-deal Brexit, European Council gives UK an extension to Oct. 31, Yale MacMillan Center
  3. Zachary Elkins, How powerful is the US president? A look at other constitutions explains why American executives are so ineffectual, Vox
  4. Rick Pildes, What is Judicial Courage?, Balkinization
  5. Anna Olijnyk, Joint sittings, common fund orders and comity, AUSPUBLAW
  6. Pierre de Vos, Why there is no legal duty on ANC candidates to withdraw from election lists if instructed to do so, Constitutionally Speaking
  7. David Howarth, Westminster versus Whitehall: Two Incompatible Views of the Constitution, UK Constitutional Law Association
  8. David Vitale, Leaving the EU: A Matter of “Trust”?, UK Constitutional Law Association
  9. Renáta Uitz, What Does the Spring Bring for the Rule of Law in Europe?, Verfassungsblog
  10. Sandipto Dasgupta, The Indian Constitution did not stem from a revolution but envisioned one. So why didn’t it happen?, Scroll+
  11. Gautam Bhatia, The Supreme Court’s Judgment on the Maintainability of the Rafale Review: Some Salient Features, Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy
  12. Chrystie Swiney, Undemocratic Civil Society Laws are Appearing in Democracies, OpenGlobalRights
  13. Karen Yeung, Machine Decision-making in the criminal justice system: The FATAL4JUSTICE? Project, OxHRH
  14. Sarah Steele, Christopher Markou and Tyler Shores, Technology may be making us unhealthy and miserable – governments must act now, The Conversation


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