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This innovative subject is designed to explore the highly topical phenomenon of the globalisation of constitutional law. Taking the idea of legitimate authority as a focus, it examines two broad themes: (1) the extent to which national constitutional law is, or should be, converging on international standards; and (2) the extent to which international institutions are, or should be, influenced by standards of a constitutional kind. Under theme (1) it examines whether the constitutions of the world are, or ought to be, converging towards a point at which it will be possible to identify constitutional standards that apply within each state, with implications for the legitimacy of each constitutional order. Under theme (2) it examines the constitutional standards that properly apply to legitimate international legal institutions, e.g. Security Council, International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Bringing the two themes together, the subject concludes by examining the prospects of a global constitutional court tasked with upholding a global constitutional minimum. The two lecturers in the subject bring different bodies of expertise to bear on these challenging issues. Laureate Professor Cheryl Saunders works in the field of global comparative constitutional law; Professor John Tasioulas is a legal philosopher, whose work focuses on international law.
Principal topics will include:
- The forces of internationalisation and globalisation
- Concepts and standards of legitimacy
- Mapping the constitutional systems of the world
- The possibilities of common standards
- Mapping the international legal system
- Constitutional standards and international institutions
- Case study: an International Constitutional Court?
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Understand and be able to evaluate the impact of internationalisation and globalisation on national constitutional systems
- Understand the concept of legitimacy as it applies to law and the sorts of considerations that are relevant to establishing it
- Understand and be able to assess the significance of the movement of authority to the international sphere
- Have a reasoned position on the extent to which common constitutional standards are emerging through the convergence of national constitutional systems
- Understand how and why questions of constitutional standards arise in relation to international decision-making
- Be able to evaluate the extent to which constitutional standards adapted from national experience or developed from other sources can and should be applied at the international level
- Appreciate the implications of these developments for the legitimacy of national constitutions and the international legal order.
Last updated: 29 July 2022