A Bridge over Troubled Water – a Criminal Lawyers’ Response to Taricco II 

The recent CJEU judgment in M.A.S., M.B. (hereinafter Taricco II) raises more questions than it answers on when Member States can apply higher standards of rights in criminal proceedings. Previous case law, i.e. Taricco I and Melloni, pervaded the primacy of EU law, but from Jeremy F. we also know that Member States enjoy a […]

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Belittling the Primacy of EU Law in Taricco II

The Taricco II judgement handed down by the CJEU on 5 December 2017 is a telling and worrying example of a weakly reasoned court decision and the high price at which such weakness comes. It is a judgement that disregards legally problematic questions, seemingly subordinating argumentative consistency to the constraints of legal policy in a climate increasingly critical towards EU law and institutions. The (potential) collateral damage of this approach is considerable.

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Criticizing the new President of the Polish Constitutional Court: A Crime against the State?

L’état c’est moi. Thus said France’s Louis XIV, and thus seems to think of herself Julia Przyłębska – since the 2016 “coup” against the Constitutional Court in Poland, she is the President of that Court, de facto appointed to the post by the man who runs Poland these days, Jarosław Kaczyński. Last October a Polish oppositional daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, described how she allegedly colluded with the Polish State security in the pursuit of her position at the Constitutional Court. Przyłębska tried to defend herself by using criminal-law instruments otherwise designed to  protect the State. “By attacking me, you attack the State,” she seems to suggest.

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Advertising: Global Constitutionalism (Journal) Volume 6, Issue 3
November 2017

Global Constitutionalism

Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law

  • Global constitutionalism and constitutional imagination

  • Civil disobedience as transnational disruption


What’s in a name? A Brexit we can all enjoy

Northern Ireland will have a ,hard Brexit’ as any other part of the UK and, at the same time, be subject to a ,regulatory alignment’ with the Republic of Ireland and, hence, the EU. Such is the elegance of this solution, that one might be tempted to mistake it for a genuine policy innovation. In fact, using a made up name for something that you are already doing and calling it ‘new’ has a long pedigree and has been used aplenty.

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Defusing the Taricco Bomb through Fostering Constitutional Tolerance: All Roads Lead to Rome

As Mauro Cappelletti perceptively wrote in 1986, ‘unlike the American Supreme Court and the European Constitutional Courts, the Court of Justice has almost no powers that are not ultimately derived from its own prestige, intellectual and moral force of its opinions’. In other terms, the Court of Justice (‘ECJ’) cannot take obedience to its judgments by Member States and the respective authorities as granted or constitutionally-mandated since, in Weiler’s words, this is a voluntary obedience which goes hand in hand with the exercise of constitutional tolerance in the Member States. In other words, there is a time for the enforcement of the radical primacy of EU law as in Melloni and Taricco I, and a time for internalizing the counterlimits, as in the Taricco II decision (M.A.S. and M.B. case) handed down today by the ECJ.

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Merabishvili v. Georgia: Has the Mountain Given Birth to a Mouse? 

The wait for those of us looking for much needed answers to understand what direction and coherence the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights would give to its nascent Article 18 case law (also known as ‘bad faith’ case law) has ended. A verdict has been reached in Merabashvili v. Georgia Grand Chamber judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.  In a climate of retreat from human rights law and standards under the guise of domestic legalism, answers to the questions of what it means to violate the Convention in bad faith, how we prove it and what responses we owe to bad faith human rights violations have become pressing and urgent. The Grand Chamber gave us answers to the first two questions and passed on the third.

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Judicial “Reform” in Poland: The President’s Bills are as Unconstitutional as the Ones he Vetoed

Five months ago, the Polish President Duda vetoed the PiS laws on the judiciary as unconstitutional. Currently, the President and the PiS are negotiating about a solution to this conflict. But make no mistake: The Presidential vetoes have not triggered any new proposals which would be qualitatively better in terms of consistency with the Constitution than the initial PiS bills that he vetoed. Both the PiS and the President’s proposals are glaringly unconstitutional, though in different ways.

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Provisional (And Extraordinary) Measures in the Name of the Rule of Law

The showdown was inevitable. At some point, the Court of Justice had to show its teeth and remind the Polish government of its duty to comply with the rule of law and with the values enshrined in Article 2 TEU. For the Member States of the EU, the rule of law is not an option. You either take it or leave it (and thus leave the EU). However, Poland’s late attitude towards EU integration, happily accepting the money from EU funds but showing its back on the fundamental values of the EU, was inevitably going to be confronted, sooner or later, at the Court of Justice. If the showdown was predictable, the surprise has been that it has all happened so quickly, so frontally and… in interim relief procedures in an infringement action against Poland.

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A Constituent Assembly Only in Name? Part III on Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly

The constitutional assembly in Venezuela is a constituent assembly in name only: First, it does not seem to be a temporary body that aims at performing its tasks within a preassigned and limited time frame. Second, so far it appears as if it is not the Constituent Assembly´s primary goal to draft a new constitution. Rather, its actions and the conscious choice of the Federal Legislative Palace as a meeting place suggest that the aim of this “superpower” is to replace the opposing parliament and silence any dissent.

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A Constituent Assembly Only in Name? Part II on Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly

On the 1st of May 2017, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro called for a constituent assembly invoking the articles 348, 70, 236 and 347 of the 1999 Constitution. This is in alignment with Maduro’s first line of argument that he acted according to the present constitution. However, there are many reasons to believe he is not.

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A Constituent Assembly Only in Name? Part I on Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly

In July 2017, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro convened a constituent assembly. In other words, an authoritarian president under pressure relies on what some theorists have referred to as the origin of all democratic rule. This raises one central question: Is this assembly really a constituent assembly, or is it one in name only?

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