Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

What’s New in Public Law

–Simon Drugda, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford (UK)

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 Moldova held that the Parliament can launch suspension of President Igor Dodon for his refusal to approve a new defence minister for more than ten months. Meanwhile the Association of Constitutional Justice of the Countries of the Baltic and Black Sea Regions (BBCJ) condemned the pressure on the Court by the President.
  2. The Constitutional Court of Latvia ruled that the country’s solidarity tax unconstitutionally discriminates against high earners contrary to Art 91 of the Constitution (the anti-discrimination clause).
  3. The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt ruled that protest cases must be tried in ordinary civilian, not military, courts.
  4. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled Greek police cannot enforce a blanket height requirement for police recruits because such a policy discriminates against women.
  5. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found that the conviction of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on charges of embezzlement was arbitrary and unfair.
  6. The UK Supreme Court found the local authority in Nottinghamshire “vicariously liable” for the abuse of a woman by her foster parents when she was as a child.
  7. The UK Supreme Court held that employing a domestic worker could not be said to fall within a diplomat’s official functions. A diplomat and his wife were no longer shielded by immunity because his posting in the UK had finished.
  8. Despite the Supreme Court ban on the sale of fireworks in Delhi during the Diwali festival, the air pollution in Indian capital hits 18 times the healthy limit after a night of celebrations.
  9. The Constitutional Court of Guatemala withdrew the Foreign Ministry’s warning to the head of the UN International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).
  10. The Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq ordered the arrest of the VP of the Kurdistan Region for calling troops sent to Kirkuk this week “occupying forces.”
  11. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany rejected a petition to block the Bundesbank from participating in the European Central Bank (ECB) plan to purchase bonds.
  12. The Constitutional Court of Spain held that the Catalan independence referendum was illegal.

In the News

  1. The Spanish government is planning to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and impose direct rule (invoking Art 155 of the Constitution) after the region’s president refused to abandon the push for independence.
  2. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili signed into law a new Constitution that will do away with direct election for president and switch to a system of proportional representation in parliament. Margvelashvili had unsuccessfully vetoed the draft bill.
  3. China’s ruling Communist Party has agreed to amend the party constitution, expected to embed President Xi Jinping’s political thought.
  4. Kosovo’s PM confirmed that the government will try to transform the nation’s security forces into a regular army through constitutional changes.
  5. Japan and Czech Republic voted in general elections.
  6. The National Assembly of Quebec passed a contentious bill that would require public workers and citizens seeking government services to have their faces uncovered.
  7. A Pakistani anti-corruption court indicted ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter over allegations linked to ownership of London properties.

New Scholarship

  1. Andras Jakab and Viktor Lorincz, International Indices as Models for the Rule of Law Scoreboard of the European Union: Methodological Issues (2017) (analysing methodological issues of international rule of law indices, with a special emphasis on whether and how these could be used in the current constitutional crisis of the European Union)
  2. Nicola Lupo and Giovanni Piccirilli, The Italian Parliament in the European Union (2017) (exploring the role of the Italian Parliament in the Euro-national parliamentary system and the composite European constitutional order)
  3. Rivka Weill, Bills of Rights with Strings Attached: Protecting the Past from Judicial Review, in Rosalind Dixon, Geoffrey Sigalet and Grégoire Webber (eds.), Constitutional Dialogue: Rights, Democracy, Institutions (2017) (seeking to illuminate the theoretical and comparative dimensions of savings clauses in constitutions)
  4. Ozan Varol, The Democratic Coup d’État (2017) (arguing that, sometimes, a democracy is established through a military coup)
  5. Cedric Jenart and Stéphanie De Somer, Non-statutory Rulemaking and the Rule of Law: towards a ‘Law of Rules’?, sui-generis (2017) (critically assessing the rule of law challenges to rulemaking by private actors and autonomous public bodies)
  6. Justine Guichard, In the Name of the People: Disagreeing over Peoplehood in the North and South Korean Constitutions, 4 Asian Journal of Law and Society (2017) (examining the claims about peoplehood articulated in North and South Korean Constitutions since their concurrent adoption in 1948)
  7. Mark Elliott, Judicial Power and the United Kingdom’s Changing Constitution (2017) (charting the growth of judicial power in the UK and considering its proper limits)
  8. Michael A Helfand, When Judges are Theologians: Adjudicating Religious Questions, in Rex Ahdar (ed.), Research Handbook on Law & Religion (forthcoming 2018) (exploring how judges and US courts in general deal with legal disputes when they must consider not only laws and facts, but also religion and theology)

Calls for Papers and Announcements

  1. The Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions (RLEC) at the University of Haifa, Faculty of Law and the Geography and Environmental Studies Department invite submissions for participation in the second young researchers workshop on “Terrorism and Belligerency.” The deadline for abstracts is November 17, 2017.
  2. The University of Leicester invites proposals of early career researchers for papers at a workshop on “The Neglected Methodologies of International Law – Empirical, Socio-Legal and Comparative.” The deadline for abstracts is November 15, 2017.
  3. The Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law (NIEM) at the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland organizes the 10th Polar Law Symposium at the Arctic Centre in Rovaniemi, Finland.
  4. The student chapter of the American Constitution Society at Barry University School of Law and Texas A&M University School of Law invite submissions to the 3rd Annual Constitutional Law Scholars Forum. The deadline to submit proposals is December 1, 2017.
  5. The Toronto Group for the Study of International, Transnational, and Comparative Law invites submissions of abstracts for the 11th Annual Toronto Group Conference, to be held March 1–2, 2018, at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada.

Elsewhere Online

  1. David R Cameron, You are here Catalonia after the referendum: independence, Article 155 or dialogue?, Yale MacMillan Center
  2. Sofia Francescutto and Mario Ricciardi, Playing the Referendum Game in Northern Italy, Verfassungsblog
  3. Claire McCann, Separate but Equal? Gender Segregation in UK Schools, OxHRH
  4. Colin PA Jones, Duck and cover: Regulation by and for the state, through the Japanese people, The Japan Times
  5. Mark Elliott, Can Parliament block a ‘no deal’ Brexit?, Public Law for Everyone
  6. Robert Craig, Why an Act of Parliament Would Be Required to Revoke Notification under Article 50, UK Constitutional Law Association
  7. David Judge and Cristina Leston-Bandeir, Standing up for parliament: how non-elected officials represent parliament as an institution, The Constitution Unit
  8. Fiona de Londras, Repeal or Replace?, Human Rights in Ireland
  9. Sue Milne, Aliens, Executive Power, and the Rule of Law, AUSPUBLAW
  10. Pierre de Vos, Fact-checking claims about the prosecution of President Jacob Zuma, Constitutionally Speaking
  11. Olabisi D Akinkugbe, Recalibrating Nigeria’s Whistleblowing Policy: An urgent plea for a comprehensive whistleblower protection legislation, AfricLaw
  12. Idayat Hassan, Nigeria’s constitutional reform process: The quest for a people-driven constitution, ConstitutionNet
  13. Noah Feldman, How Justice Kennedy Could Give Both Parties a Win, Bloomberg View
  14. Abbe Gluck, Trump’s ACA Sabotage and the President’s Constitutional Duty to Take Care that the Laws be Faithfully Executed, Balkinization


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