For Central Europe’s Illiberal Democracies, the Worst is yet to Come

Next week the Polish parliament will most likely pass a bill sponsored by the ruling Law and Justice party, introducing a total overhaul of the country’s judicial system. The tenures of all judges sitting on the Supreme Court, Poland’s highest judicial instance, will be immediately expired, while their successors will be installed by the justice minister. In other words, the members of the last judicial body standing in the way of Law and Justice eradicating tripartite division of powers and court independence will now be appointed by a politically tainted minister.

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The Global South in Comparative Constitutional Law

What is the role of journals in the North – and concretely this one, run so far almost entirely by Germans? How is a sensible contextualization and reappraisal of its role possible? Who is really asking the questions, framing debates, having conversations? What is the role of printed journals in times of internet, blogs and open access, challenging traditional systems of knowledge distribution? What is the role for South-South scholarly exchanges and cooperation?

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Statement by the former presidents of the Constitutional Tribunal: Andrzej Rzepliński, Marek Safjan, Jerzy Stępień, Bohdan Zdziennicki and Andrzej Zoll

Last November, the former presidents of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal issued a joint statement to protest against the subjugation of the Tribunal. Now, as the PiS government is about to effectively bring the entire judiciary under their control, they speak up again.

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Family Life Temporarily not Available – Bilateral Limits on Family Unity within the Dublin-System

Germany and Greece bilaterally agreed upon slowing down the family reunification procedures of asylum seekers under the Dublin III Regulation. Now, many doubts and questions surround the exact terms and conditions of the agreement. Who bears the responsibility of delayed transfers? And what can be done to prevent families from being separated longer than legally permitted?

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Marriage Equality and the German Federal Constitutional Court: the Time for Comparative Law

The enactment of marriage equality in Germany two weeks ago has sparked a constitutional debate that is taking place in Verfassungsblog like in many other media. There will probably be constitutional challenges to the introduction of marriage for same-sex couples in German law at the level of ordinary laws and without amendment of the German Basic Law, because many believe that a constitutional amendment would have been required. Hence, as it very often happens in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court will very likely have to decide on the question. However, in the international scene of constitutional jurisdictions it will not need to break any ice.

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Lex CEU: On the Commission’s Refusal to Disclose its Letter of Formal Notice in the Name of Mutual Trust

This post will offer a brief account of my unsuccessful attempts to gain access to the Commission’s letter of formal notice addressed to Hungary on 26 April 2017, that is, the letter adopted by the Commission in response to the adoption by the Hungarian authorities of what has become known as the Lex CEU. Before offering a critical assessment of the Commission’s reasoning, a brief account of the relevant context will be offered. This post will end with some general remarks on the EU’s repeated failed attempts to prevent illiberal not to say authoritarian regimes from consolidating within the EU.

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Twenty Years ‘One Country, Two Systems’ in Hong Kong: A Reason to Celebrate?

The 1st July 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the British-Chinese handover of Hong Kong. Recent developments in Hong Kong illustrate that despite the anniversary, the current state of affairs of ‘one country, two systems’ does not give much reason to celebrate.

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Normality and Exception: The Advocate General’s Opinion in A.S. and Jafari

On 8 June 2017, Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston delivered her Opinion in a case that goes to the core of what (infamously) came to be known as ‘refugee crisis’. On a broader, more systemic, level, the Opinion could be read as a history of the present bringing to the fore issues of geographical hierarchies and injustice and solidarity inscribed into the structure of EU law.

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One year after the Brexit Referendum: More, Fewer or No Referendums in Europe?

One year after Brexit, the issue of referendums seems to be everywhere: Their desirability cannot be described with a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There is simply more than one valid constitutional perspective in evaluating the case for or against referendums.

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An Early Deal-Breaker? EU Citizens’ Rights in the UK after Brexit, and the Future Role of the European Court of Justice

The UK has finally made an offer to allow some EU citizens to retain some rights in the UK after Brexit. There are two sets of issues that arise: the substantive rights that will need to be agreed to, and the enforcement of these rights. The UK government confirmed that the arrangements on offer will be enshrined and enforceable in UK law, that commitments in the Withdrawal Agreement will have the status of international law, but that the CJEU will have no jurisdiction in the United Kingdom. Despite this, there remains much uncertainty.

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How to Demolish an Independent Judiciary with the Help of a Constitutional Court

On 20 June, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, with three anti-judges among its members, decided that certain provisions of the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland were unconstitutional. By doing so, the Tribunal unanimously conceded to the motion of the Minister of Justice, who had questioned those provisions in the course of work on reform of the National Council of the Judiciary. The reason why the current Polish Government unexpectedly suspended the process of usurping control of the national judicial system in order to enlist the help of the constitutional court can be understood with the help of a metaphor.

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