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Unwritten Constitutionalism and Public Law in Central and Eastern Europe

Unwritten Constitutionalism and Public Law in Central and Eastern Europe

The Central and Eastern European Chapter of the International Society of Public Law (ICON-S) is pleased to invite submissions to its 2024 annual conference taking place at the Faculty of Law, ‘Lucian Blaga’ University of Sibiu, Romania.

Conference theme

Unwritten constitutionalism has captured scholarly and doctrinal interest. Unwritten constitutional norms and principles, constitutional conventions, and informal constitutional practices have come to preoccupy both the scholar and the judge, not least in reaction to the constitutional stresses experienced in recent years. The rule of law crisis and rise of authoritarian populism have exposed the fragility and sometimes blind spots of formal legal institutions. This has left open the question of whether constitutionalism’s defensive tools are simply inadequate or whether we need to recalibrate our focus towards its unwritten instantiation.

While experience with democratic backsliding may have brought it to the foreground, unwritten constitutionalism is not a new object of study. At various points and across jurisdictions, it has been discussed in terms of “the invisible constitution”, “the constitution behind the constitution”, or under the umbrella of the distinction between “the big-C and the small-c constitution”, to name but a few. Thus, while it may appear that it has much less relevance to the Central and Eastern European context, this conference aims to examine the understanding, scope, interpretation, and enforcement of unwritten constitutional norms, principles, conventions, and practices.

Papers are, therefore, invited to address the conference theme from a plurality of angles. Topics explored may include (and are certainly not limited to) the following:

The history and the relevance of unwritten constitutionalism in civil law countries, especially those of Central and Eastern Europe, and possible comparisons to common law countries;
• The interplay between unwritten constitutionalism and legal formalism in the region, and the impact of unwritten constitutionalism on other branches of law and/or on a particular legal system as a whole;
•The conceptual and doctrinal boundaries of unwritten constitutionalism, such as the distinction between unwritten norms and principles and constitutional conventions;
• Unwritten constitutionalism in the courts, including questions of recognition, scope, interpretation, and enforcement;
• Specific types of unwritten constitutional norms, principles, and practices, such as those related to executive power, fundamental rights, judicial and other types of appointments, or constitutional reform;
• Overlap with other concepts of possible constitutional relevance, such as “legal tradition” and “customs”.

Keynote speaker
The conference keynote address will be delivered by Simina Elena Tanasescu. She is a globally recognised constitutional scholar and justice. She has been judge at the Romanian  Constitutional Court since 2019, having previously served as adviser on constitutional reform to the Romanian President. She is also a full professor of constitutional law and European law at the University of Bucharest and has been a visiting professor at various universities in Europe and Latin America.
Her distinguished career has combined judicial practice, academia, and public service in Romania and at European level. She has written prize-winning monographs on equality law, constitutional interpretation, electoral law, constitutional reforms, constitutional law and the balanced budget rule, migration and the rule of law and welfare state, and governance and constitutionalism, in addition to dozens of articles and other studies in national and international publications.

Program eveniment – descarca aici