Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

Claudia Marchese, Research Fellow in Comparative Public Law at the University of Florence (Italy)

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

Development in Constitutional Courts

  1. On 14 January 2021, the Belgian Constitutional Court delivered a judgment on the legality of the integration of the digital format of two fingerprints in ID cards, introduced through art. 27 of the Belgian law of 25 November 2018. The Court ruled that the inclusion of digital fingerprints on ID cards does not violate the fundamental right to respect for private life.
  2. At the beginning of January 2021 the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union expressed his opinion on the case Facebook Ireland Limited, Facebook INC, Facebook Belgium BVBA v Gegevensbeschermingsautoriteit (case C-645/19) according to which the lead data protection authority has a general competence over cross-border data processing, including the commencement of judicial proceedings for the breach of the GDPR, and, by implication, the other data protection authorities concerned enjoy a more limited power to act in that regard.
  3. Kosovo is preparing for early elections on 14 February 2021 after the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional the election of Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti. The Court annulled the vote because one of the participating MPs had been convicted for fraud and embezzlement.
  4. On 14 January 2021, the Italian Constitutional Court, before examining the constitutional legitimacy of the art. 262 of the Civil Code that does not allow parents to assign to the child born outside of marriage the only maternal surname, decided to examine as a preliminary question the constitutional legitimacy of the general provision that establishes in the Italian legislation the assignment of the paternal surname.
  5. The Spanish Constitutional Court ruled that the incitement to burn the national flag during a protest does not constitute a manifestation of freedom of expression, thus contradicting the jurisprudence of the ECHR.

In the News

  1. On 20 January 2021, Joe Biden took the oath of office to become the 46th president of the United States.
  2. On  13 January 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
  3. On 21 January 2021, the members of the European Council discussed the response to the COVID-19 pandemic by videoconference. The EU heads of state or government shared best practices and exchanged views on testing, vaccinations and detecting new variants of the virus.
  4. Armin Laschet has been elected leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU), the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel. This succession is relevant in view of the elections to be held in September 2021.
  5. The House of Commons cross-party Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union presented its final report. The Committee stated that, with the UK and the European Union having signed the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), British Parliament needs to ensure effective future scrutiny of the UK-EU relationship.

New Scholarship

  1. M. Belov (ed.), About the IT Revolution and its Impact on State, Constitutionalism and Public Law (forthcoming 2021) (exploring different aspects of the impact of information and technology revolution on state, constitutionalism and public law).
  2. M. Poiares Maduro, P.W. Kajn (eds.), Democracy in times of pandemic (2020) (offering a variety of inquiries into democracy during the global pandemic with a view to imagining post-crisis political conditions).
  3. A. Singhvi, K. Gautam, The Law of Emergency Powers (2020) (presenting a comprehensive constitutional study of emergency powers from a comparative common law perspective, with particular regard to the UK, the USA and India).
  4. J. Gomez, R. Ramcharan (eds.), National Human Rights Institutions in Southeast Asia (2020) (reviewing Southeast Asia’s National Human Rights Institutions as part of an emerging assessment of a nascent regional human rights architecture).
  5. R. Hazell, B. Morris (eds.), The role of monarchy in modern democracy. European monarchies compared (2020) (examining the constitutional and political role of the monarchy in a comparative perspective).
  6. Alan Renwick et al, Interim Report of the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland (2020) (examining how any future referendums on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland would best be designed and conducted).
  7. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung – Foundation Office Romania – 900 days of uninterrupted siege upon the Romanian Judiciary (offering an overview of the recent circumstances of the Romanian Judiciary).
  8. Waldemar Walczak, Instrumental Use of Judicial Power after the Judgment of the TSUE (presenting considerations and multifaceted analysis of the conditions and motives of judicial decisions taken after the judgment of the TSUE 19 November 2019).
  9. Justin Lindeboom, The Autonomy of EU Law: A Hartian View (analyzing the foundations of EU constitutionalism from the perspective of HLA Hart’s theory of law).

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The University of Milan, Department of Italian and Supranational Law, invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship on the project “The transformation(s) of Public Power: the Use of Conditionality in the Global Governance”. The deadline for applications is 4 February 2021.
  2. The University of Amsterdam’s interdisciplinary Research Priority Area Human(e) AI is looking for three postdoctoral researchers in the areas of law, social sciences and humanities. The goal of these positions is to develop insights and principles for responsible and human-centric AI from a Social Science-Humanities (SSH) perspective. The closing date for applications is 28 February 2021.
  3. The 18th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law (ICAIL 2021) will be held online, organized by the University of São Paulo, from 21 to 25 June 2021. The conference is organized biennially under the auspices of the International Association for Artificial Intelligence and Law (IAAIL), and in cooperation with the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). The deadline to submit papers is 1 March 2021.
  4. The Graduate Law Students Association (GLSA) of McGill University’s Faculty of Law announced the 14th edition of the annual McGill Graduate Law Conference on the theme “Law and the City”. The conference will take place on 6-7 May 2021. Students, PhD candidates and young researchers are invited to send their abstracts by 31 January 2021.
  5. KU Leuven CiTiP, a research unit of the Faculty of Law responsible for the legal research activities in the area of network, information and service security, invites applications for fellowships on Technology (security/privacy) and Law. The deadline for applications is 1 February 2021.
  6. Supported and co-funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme of the European Commission and over 40 partners, the University of Deusto (Spain) opens the second call of the 6i Dirs project to select PhD researchers on the topic “Impact of Technologies on Gender Equality and Human Rights”. Through this second call, the University of Deusto will recruit nine early-stage researchers. The deadline for applications is 5 March 2021.
  7. The European Joint Doctorate ADAPTED, a consortium of European Universities, internationally active European development organisations, think tanks and six African partner universities, opens the call for 15 PhD positions on the project “Eradicating Poverty: Pathways towards Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”. The ADAPTED research and training programme will focus on validating poverty eradication pathways, analysing interactions between poverty reduction and other policy areas and optimising the impact of poverty reduction policies. The deadline for application is 31 March 2021.

Elsewhere Online

  1. Tom Barnico, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Take on the Spoils System, CommonWealth Magazine
  2. H. Birkenkötter, N. Krisch, Multiple Legalities: Conflict and Entanglement in the Global Legal Order, Verfassungsblog.
  3. J. Urías, The honor of the Spanish flag, Verfassungsblog.
  4. D. Jancic, The UK-EU Trade Deal: Five Important Implications for the UK Parliament, UK Constitutional Law blog.
  5. G. Baldwin, The pandemic and the First Amendment, UK Constitutional Law blog.
  6. S. Pettey, What Happened?: In 2020, women continued to make strides in representation in Congress and State Legislatures, LSE blog.
  7. L. Cooper, S. Fowles, Parliament should have had a meaningful vote on the EU trade deal. But it did not, LSE blog.
  8. Or Bassok and Menachem Mautner, On Thorny Nation-state Issue, Israel’s High Court Faces a Tragic DilemmaHaaretz
  9. Tarik Olcay, The Turkish Constitution as a Disrespected Idol, IACL Blog
  10. Chien-Chih Lin, Believe in the Ideal, not the Idol: Is Constitutional Idolatry Happening in Taiwan?, IACL Blog 


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