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Course 2015-2016 a.y.

30322 - LAW (MODULE I - COMPARATIVE PUBLIC LAW)


BIG
Department of Legal Studies

Course taught in English


Go to class group/s: 23

BIG (6 credits - I sem. - OB  |  IUS/21)
Course Director:
JUSTIN ORLANDO FROSINI

Classes: 23 (I sem.)
Instructors:
Class 23: JUSTIN ORLANDO FROSINI


Course Objectives
The debate in the United Kingdom on the reform of the House of Lords, the discussion in Italy on abolishing the so-called perfect bicameral system, the Scottish and Catalan Questions, the secession/annexation of Crimea, the Arab Spring, the approval of the much debated Constitution of Hungaryin 2011: these events and many more make one realise that there have been some dramatic constitutional developments and legal reforms in recent years.

Employing both the diachronic and synchronic methods of analysis typical of comparative constitutional law, this course addresses topics such as constitutional development and democratisation, constitution-making and constitutional amendment; forms of state and forms of government, federalism, regionalism and devolution, electoral systems and electoral management bodies, the role and functions of constitutional and supreme courts and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms.


Course Content Summary
What are the obstacles to be overcome when studying the legal system of one country in the language of another?

What are the methods of classification used in comparative constitutional law?

What are the constitutive elements of the State?

How can we classify constitutions?

What are constitutional statutes, ordinary statutes, law decrees, legislative decrees and delegated legislation?

Constitutional Amendment Processes

Should a constitution be easy or hard to amend?

Are frequent amendments to a constitution a sign of strength or weakness in terms of constitutional development?

Can constitutional amendments be... unconstitutional?

Constitutional Development and Democratisation

What do we mean by ‘democratic transition and consolidation’ from a legal and political standpoint?

What do we mean by ‘democratic transition and consolidation’ from a legal and political standpoint?

What is the difference between a ‘formal’ and ‘substantive’ transition?

What do the experiences in Central and Eastern Europe and Africa tell us about how to draft and frame a constitution?

What are the differences from a constitutional standpoint with respect to previous democratic transitions such as those of Germany, Italy and Japan after WWII and Greece, Portugal and Spain in the 1970s?

Forms of State and Forms of Government

What do we mean in the context of comparative constitutional law with the expressions ‘form of state’ and ‘form of government’?

What do we mean in the context of comparative constitutional law with the expressions ‘form of state’ and ‘form of government’?

Is there a preferred model of government and what are the advantages and drawbacks of ‘institutional transplanting’?

What is preferable: a parliamentary, presidential or semi-presidential executive?

Electoral systems and Electoral Management Bodies

Should we give more emphasis to stability or to representation?

Should we give more emphasis to stability or to representation?

What is preferable: First-Past-The-Post (FPTP), Two-Round Voting Systems (TRV), the Alternative Vote (AV) or systems of Proportional Representation (PR)?

Who controls elections?

Federalism, Regionalism and Devolution

What are the distinguishing features between federalism, regionalism and devolution?

From devolution to the constitutional reform of 2016: has Italy become more centralized?

Is fiscal devolution really the solution for the Scottish Question?

Constitutional and Supreme Courts: composition, role and functions.

Who should be the guardian of the Constitution?

Is it preferable to adopt a centralised or decentralised system of constitutional review?

What role do constitutional courts play in transitions to democracy?

Political, economic and civil rights

Should rights and freedoms be enumerated?

Should rights and freedoms be enumerated?

How does one balance different rights and freedoms?

What do mean by multi-level protection of rights

 

Special Part

 

The Political and Constitutional Transitions in North Africa

Is the 2011 Constitution of Morocco a modern example of an octroyée Constitution?

Is the 2014 Constitution of Tunisia the only remnant of the Arab Spring?

Could Tunisia’s choice of a semi-presidential form of government lead to a return to authoritarianism?


Detailed Description of Assessment Methods
Students are expected to ensure regular class attendance and to actively participate in class discussions. Furthermore students are required to orally present a case study during the course and write one short take-home paper before the semester break (length of up to 4000 words) and sit a final in-class exam consisting of 40 multiple choice questions and 1 short essay (length of up to 3000 words). All classes will be a combination of lectures and discussion. The final mark will be determined in the light of the case study (20%), the take-home exam (20%) the final in-class exam (40%), class attendance (10%) and class discussions (10%).

Textbooks
General part:
  • M. Tushnet, Advanced Introduction to Comparative Constitutional Law, Edward Elgar, CheltenhamNorthampton, MA, 2014.
  • G.F. Ferrari, Characteristics of the State, in G.F. Ferrari (ed.) Introduction to Italian Public Law, Giuffré, Milano, 2008.
  • J.O. Frosini, Forms of State and Forms of Government, in G.F. Ferrari (ed.) Introduction to Italian Public Law, Giuffré, Milano, 2008.
  • J.O. Frosini, Constitutional Justice, in G.F. Ferrari (ed.) Introduction to Italian Public Law, Giuffré, Milano, 2008.

Special Part:

  • J.O. Frosini, F. Biagi (eds), Political and Constitutional Transitions in North Africa. Actors and Factors, Routledge, London, 2014.
  • Articles, cases and other material will be made available by the instructor at the beginning of the course through the e-learning space.
Last change 14/07/2015 10:06