Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Teodora Miljojkovic, PhD student, Central European University, Budapest/Vienna

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 Constitutional Court of Malawi, in a landmark decision, annulled last year’s elections due to the evidence of widespread irregularities and called for a new ballot.
  2. The European Court of Human Rights rejected the request to impose temporary measures which would ban the Montenegrin state bodies from implementing the Law on Religious Freedoms.
  3. Armenia will hold a referendum on constitutional amendment curbing powers of the Constitutional Court.
  4. The Constitutional Court of Spain declared unconstitutional the article of the Spanish Law on Civil Procedure (LEC), which did not allow an appeal against the individual decisions of the Ministry of Justice lawyers. 
  5. The Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled that the lower courts cannot dispute its authority by rejecting to implement a decision, which ordered the release of the journalist Mehmet Altan.

In the News:

  1. Kosovo gets new government four months after polls.
  2. Afghan Rights Group investigates video of a woman being stoned to death.
  3. A Polish judge who challenged the government’s recent changes to the judiciary got suspended and hit by a 40% salary cut.
  4. In the past 20 years in Colombia, almost 1700 rape victims faced illegal abortion charges. The statistics were generated on request of the Constitutional Court which is to revisit the illegality of abortion.
  5. Nepalese officials announced that the next population census will include a third gender option, which is believed to expand social benefits to the LGBTQ+ community.
  6. The US District Court for the Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments over the city of Natchitoches’ refusal to allow the Louisiana division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) to carry Confederate flags during the 2015 Christmas Festival.
  7. The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal dismissed a recent complaint from First Nations peoples seeking to delay expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The applicants claimed that the officials failed to consult with them over the Trans Mountain pipeline project properly, but the judges concluded that First Nations “cannot tactically use the consultation process as a means to try to veto it.”

New Scholarship:

  1. Brandon L. Bartels, Christopher L. Johnson, Curbing the Court: Why the Public Constrains Judicial Independence (forthcoming 2020) (arguing that the citizens are not primary defenders of the judiciary, instead, they seek to limit it, in line with their political preferences, particularly in the times of the sharp partisan polarization)
  2. Weitseng Chen, Hualing Fu (eds.), Authoritarian Legality in Asia: Formation, Development and Transition (forthcoming 2020) (explaining, through the comparison of six Asian jurisdictions, why the authoritarian regimes still need a degree of legality and examining what kind of struggles these countries would face if they transitioned to liberal democratic system)
  3. Koen Lenaerts, New Horizons for the Rule of Law Within the EU  (2020) (arguing that the rule of law has always been and should be the core value behind the European integration process)
  4. Manuel Rodriguez, Disinformation Operations Aimed at (Democratic) Elections in the Context of Public International Law: The Conduct of the Internet Research Agency During the 2016 US Presidential Election (2020) (discussing the future of the international legal framework for the regulation of the disinformation operations aimed at election processes)
  5. Lael K Weis, Legislative Constitutional Baselines (2019) (identifying “baselines” as a distinctive issue in constitutional interpretation, and examining an important but under-theorised way that courts define them: namely, by adopting legislatively–defined norms or standards)
  6. Daniel Bonilla Maldonado, Judges, Judicial Opinions, and Culture from a Comparative Perspective. An Introduction (2019) (discussing the directions in which the processes of regional and global legal unification should move forward)

Call for Papers and Announcements

  1. DIPEC (Gruppo di ricerca e formazione sul diritto publico e europeo) and University of Siena invite submissions from young researchers for the workshop on the topic “Framing and Diagnosing Constitutional Degradation: A Comparative Perspective” which will be held on June 22-23, 2020 in Siena. The abstracts (max. 500 words), together with a CV, should be submitted no later than May 31.
  2. SOAS University of London invites submissions for the 2020 SOAS Postgraduate Colloquium on “Changing Dimensions of Rule of Law: From Theory to Practice,” which will be held on June 10, 2020. The deadline for the abstract (max.500 words) and short CV is February 20, 2020.
  3. The Law Department of Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique (UPT) and the Instituto Jurídico Portucalense invite submissions for the 2020 Congress on “Have Fundamental Rights gone too far?” that will be held on May 7-8, 2020.  Interested scholars should submit an abstract (max.750 words), publishable CV and a publishable photo no later than March 1, 2020.
  4. Constitutional Court of South Africa invites applications from law graduates or those in the final year of their studies interested in serving as Law Clerks. The deadline for the application is March 31, 2020. 
  5. The International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) invites applications for an IACL roundtable on “Democracy 2020: Assessing Constitutional Decay, Breakdown and Renewal Worldwide.” which will be held in Melbourne on December 10-12, 2020. The deadline for the submission of an abstract (max.300 words) is May 1, 2020.

Elsewhere online:

  1. Alan S. Reid, The Proud, Sovereign, Independent Nation that is United Kingdom: What Next?, Brexit Institute 
  2. Benjamin Ward, The Success of Brexit Britain Will Depend on How Well It Can Stick to Its Principles, Euronews.
  3. Marten Breuer, The Struggle of Strasbourg: The Council of Europe’s Response to Rule of Law Backsliding and Serious Violations of Fundamental Principles, Verfassungsblog
  4. Indigo-Trigg Hager, Bruno Oliveira Martins, and Andrea Silkoset, “Drone technology has democratized:” An Interview with Bruno Oliveira Martins and Andrea Silkoset, PRIO Blogs
  5. Dean Falvy, Dead Letter Office: What’s Left of the Impeachment Power After Trump’s Acquittal, VERDICT


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