Current Developments

The Referendum on Catalan Self-Determination (Part I)

Endemic Rhetoric, Interpretive Hypocrisy and Legal Imagination

Dawn of the Living Dead? Self-Determination in (Southern) Europe, 1991 – 2017 Scheduled to take place on 1 October 2017, the referendum on the independence of Catalonia looks to be a turning point in the history of the Iberian peninsula; if not a point of no return, then at least the moment after which the relationship between Catalonia and Spain will never again be the same. Though it is hard …

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Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Access to Justice for Socio-Economic Rights: Lessons from the Indian Experience

This is a cross-post shared with  the blog of the International Association of Constitutional Law as part of a collaboration between Voelkerrechtsblog and the IACL Blog. Professor David Bilchitz in a recent blog considered obstacles concerning access to justice for litigating socio-economic rights in South Africa and potential solutions to overcome these obstacles. He argued that South Africa should (i) empower individuals to enable them to make claims and (ii) expand its current …

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Discussion

Is a bird in the hand always worth two in the bush?

An assessment of the EU’s New Approch Towards the Two-State Solution

This post inaugurates a new cooperation of Völkerrechtsblog with the “Leiden Journal of International Law“. Firmly established as one of the leading journals in the field, the Leiden Journal of International Law (LJIL) provides a venue for sharp and critical voices that speak on the theory and practice of international law. It aspires to introduce or amplify refreshing and innovative approaches to perennial as well as topical issues in the field. The Journal’s focus …

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Current Developments

Messing with the Mess We Are In

Notes from the Transregional Academy on ‘Redistribution and the Law in an Antagonistic World’ from 21-30 August 2017 in Berlin

German legal scholarship has a reputation for being quite orthodox. Amid doctrinal sophistication and positivist assumptions, however, lie hidden treasure islands of heterodoxy. One such island was the Transregional Academy on ‘Redistribution and the Law in an Antagonistic World’, organized by the Forum Transregionale Studien and a steering committee of legal academics based in the US, UK and Germany. The Academy explored different ways in which law shapes and regulates …

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Current Developments

Status: “It’s complicated”

On African leaders’ troubled relationship with international courts

Courts are to many African leaders what models are to soccer stars: they are arm candy, but they are not expected to develop a life of their own, or make anybody look bad in public. Thus, if international courts dare to touch upon issues that actually matter to African elites, they will either be killed off or neutered, or, if this is not possible, states will withdraw from their jurisdiction. …

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Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Constitutional authoritarianism, not authoritarian constitutionalism!

A Constitutionalist View

In these times of re-emerging illiberalism, populism and authoritarianism, there is an increasing need for us to attempt to find new academic concepts to describe the phenomena that are emerging. These efforts can also help to redefine existing forms of constitutional developments. One increasingly common term used is authoritarian constitutionalism, which seems to fit into the debates of the last decades like global constitutionalism or international constitutionalism, and appears to …

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InterviewPractitioner's Corner

David gegen Goliath

Ein Interview mit Survival International zu den Rechten indigener Völker

Wenn man über indigene Völker in den Medien liest, dann liest man in der Regel leider selten Gutes: Land Grabbing, Vertreibung oder, wie in Australien, der Kampf der Aborigines um die Anerkennung als erste Bewohner des Landes in Form eines Vertrages. Survival International ist eine internationale Nichtregierungsorganisation, die sich für die Rechte indigener Völker einsetzt. Wir sprachen mit Linda Poppe von Survival International über aktuelle Herausforderungen, Möglichkeiten und Grenzen des Rechts …

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Current Developments

The C-Star’s Odyssey and the International Law of the Sea

In Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey”, the Greek hero Odysseus, having left his home Ithaca to help bring Helena back from Troy, faced manifold hardships on his return across the Mediterranean Sea. In July 2017, European citizens set sail in a self-prescribed mission not to bring someone home, but to prevent others from calling Europe home. The loosely affiliated Generation Identity, consisting mostly of activists from Austria, France, Germany and …

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Forum

On book reviews: Why, when and how to write them

Book reviews are perhaps a difficult format for academic writing. After all, what we all like to do best is talk about ourselves and our own ideas and why we are right. Writing a book review, however, puts someone else’s work in prime position; readers learn first about the reviewed work and only secondly something about the writer of the review herself. Perhaps this is why so few scholars, in …

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Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Interrogating “Constitutionalism of the South” and New Pathways for Research: The Case for a Central America in the Global Debate

Latin American constitutional scholarship is on the rise in the Anglophone world. New collaborative works (such as Dixon and Ginsburg’s new comparative constitutional law edition (2017), the Borges et al ‘Law and Policy’ edition (2017), and Couso et al ‘Cultures of Legality’ (2010), as well as individual monographs (like Gargarella (2013) and Mirow (2015)), provide a quality introduction to the region in English. Latin Americanism in Latin American Comparative Studies …

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Current Developments

Zwischen Skylla und Charybdis

Die Kollision von völkerrechtlichen Intra-EU-BITs mit dem Unionsrecht

Die Straßen rund um das Plateau Kirchberg im Osten Luxemburgs, quasi der Herzkammer der europäischen Rechtswissenschaft, sind schon seit mehreren Jahren eine Dauerbaustelle. Am Montag, den 19. Juni 2017, war vielen im Luxemburger Europaquartier jedoch klar, dass die vielleicht größten Baustellen hinter den Türen des Boulevard Konrad Adenauer liegen. Die Vereinbarkeit des Unionsrechts mit den Schiedsgerichtsverfahren ist nicht erst seit den Diskussionen um die Freihandelsabkommen CETA und TTIP ein Dauerbrenner …

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Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Knowledge Production in Comparative Constitutional Law

Alterity – Contingency – Hybridity

The idea and the reality of the Global South represent different types of epistemological challenges to the disciplinary identity of comparative (constitutional) law. As a term, it is no more than two decades old, though its pedigree reaches back to the 1950s and the idea of a ‘third world’ which brought together Cold War developmental taxonomy with the earlier concept of a formerly excluded ‘third estate’ (tiers etat) staking a …

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Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Towards a Constitutionalism of the Wretched

Global Constitutionalism, International Law and the Global South

The field of Global Constitutionalism (also sometimes called “International Constitutionalism”) is a very odd field, one which, with very limited exceptions (Frankenberg, Schwöbel, and Volk), has been neglected by most critical international and constitutional law scholars. One reason it is an oddity is because of its disciplinary hybridity. That is to say, it is neither fish nor fowl – it is neither fully a discipline of comparative constitutionalism nor is …

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DiscussionResponse

On ‘cyber trafficking’ and the protection of its victims

‘Cyber trafficking’ has become a buzzword in scientific and policy discussions related to human trafficking. However, as has been noted elsewhere, the term is far from being used in a uniform way. In her recent post, Sabine Witting discusses the case of trafficking that is exclusively committed online. In my view, ‘cyber trafficking’ is a much more wide-spread phenomenon than what her article seems to imply, occurring within many cases …

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Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Expanding Access to Justice for Socio-Economic Rights Complaints in South Africa

Which Direction Should We Head in?

The South African constitution has been lauded for its inclusion of justiciable socio-economic rights. Yet, making claims flowing from these rights remains inaccessible to many people across the country. This blog post (based on a paper being presented at a conference in Berlin on Constitutionalism in the Global South) seeks to consider the obstacles relating to access to justice for socio-economic rights claims in South Africa and potential solutions. I …

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Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Pushing for Transformation

Comment on the VRÜ anniversary conference panel on “Transformative Constitutionalism”

Transformative constitutionalism is a somewhat fuzzy notion. Reflecting about its exact meaning, one wonders what it actually is that distinguishes transformative constitutions of other types of constitutions. On the surface, the qualification as transformative signifies that a constitution contains norms that describe a particular aim or status to be reached. In the German context, one might for example think of Article 3 (2) of the Grundgesetz requiring the state to …

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