Event Date: 

05/5/17 to 05/6/17

Location name: 




Conference subject-matter

Constitutional adjudication has expanded almost throughout the globe and taken a transnational dimension and yet it has come into increased scrutiny and attacks. There have been some traditional boundaries controversies, involving the relationship between the constitution and politics, that have become more acute due to several challenges, including populism and illiberal ideologies. In addition, social movements have always interacted with the perception of constitutional norms and their adjudication. In the United States, for example, culture wars started in the 1970’s and 1980’s intensified popular focus on key constitutional decisions. With globalization the same culture wars have become virtually world-wide and the judicial fora where they are litigated have also expanded on a transnational scale. In the face of such challenges, constitutional adjudication has adopted a common standard nearly worldwide, namely the principle of proportionality. Is this development sufficient for the constitutional adjudicator to accommodate or tame these proliferating conflicts?

Preferential topics to be addressed
Within the frame of the conference subject-matter, we particularly welcome proposals addressing the role of constitutional adjudication in striking a balance between unity and pluralism. One of constitutional adjudication’s main tasks within a legal order is to provide a unifying effect. On the other hand, constitutional adjudication plays a pivotal role in the protection of fundamental rights. In today’s predicament, which is characterized by pluralistic societies, the reconciliation between unity of the legal order and equal rights for all constitutes a major challenge. Questions to be addressed include:

1. How much and in what manner does a federal organization of the judiciary, which allocates judicial power between the federal and federated entities, affect the unifying role of constitutional adjudication in a democratic polity? What is the relationship between models of constitutional adjudication and apportionment of judicial power?

2. Constitutional adjudication of statutes has shifted the ultimate responsibility for statutory interpretation to the constitutional judge. How does that effect the integrity of statutory interpretation and what are the most notable institutional and practical challenges that this produces? One particularly challenging issue is the reconciliation of unity and diversity in statutory interpretation within the context of the European Union, given the further multiplication of levels of adjudication. Is unification possible where subnational, national and supranational levels of adjudication foster competition and diversity?

3. Constitutional adjudication is often confronted with the need to reconcile individual and collective rights, particularly where group identity rights are salient and constitutional pluralism is explicitly promoted. Through this balance, constitutional adjudication aims at providing unifying effects at the national, supranational and global level. What is the role played by constitutional adjudication within this context? How does constitutional adjudication interact with the requirements of pluralism?

The conveners encourage submissions from both PhD candidates and young scholars (post-docs, research fellows, assistant professors…) at the early stage of their academic careers.
Applications from scholars of any area of constitutional law are welcome, and particularly from the areas of global constitutional law, comparative public law, European constitutional law.

To Submit an abstract

Interested scholars are invited to submit a CV and an abstract no longer than 500 words by January 16, 2017 to (please use “CfP: Constitutional Adjudication, between Pluralism and Unity” as the subject line of your e-mail). Applicants will be notified by January 30, 2017. Full drafts of papers must be submitted no later than April 1, 2017. Papers should be no longer than 10,000 words (footnotes included).

Papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in an edited volume. All papers may be considered for publication in the LUISS School of Government Working Paper Series:

Costs, registration, travels and lodging

There is no cost to participate in the conference. The conveners will provide accommodations (for up to three nights) and meals to paper presenters. Paper presenters are responsible for their own travel and incidental expenses.