International Conference: Constitutional Interpretation in European Populist Regimes

   2019. december 5. 8:30 - 2019. december 6. 12:30

“Constitutional Interpretation in European Populist Regimes”
International conference
Budapest, December 5-6, 2019

Organised by the IACL Working Group on Constitutional Interpretation
supported by the EU H2020 project DEMOS
(Democratic Efficacy and the Varieties of Populism in Europe),
the Hungarian Academy of Sciences,
and the Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies


Day 1 – December 5, Thursday

Venue: MTA Research House for Humanities (H-1097 Budapest, Tóth Kálmán u. 4.)

  • 8.30–9.00    Registration
  • 9.00–9.15     Welcome remarks by Fruzsina Gárdos-Orosz, Director, CSS Institute for Legal Studies; Associate Professor, Eötvös Loránd University
  • 9.15–9.30     Introductory notes by Zoltán Szente, Research Chair, CSS Institute for Legal Studies; Professor of Law, National University of Public Service​

Plenary session

Moderator:  András Bragyova, Professor of Law, University of Miskolc; Research Chair, CSS Institute for Legal Studies; former member of the Hungarian Constitutional Court

  • 9.30–10.00  Keynote speech by Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
    The possibility of autochthonous methods of constitutional interpretation
  • 10.00–10.20 Pablo Riberi, Constitutional Law Professor at the School of Law of the National University of Córdoba (UNC) and at the School of Political Science of the Catholic University of Córdoba (UCC)
    Populist and non-democratic reading of the Constitution Sad lessons from Latin America
  • 10.20–10.40 Discussion
  • 10.40–11.00 Coffee Break

11.00–12.30 PANEL I: Populism meets constitutional interpretation in post-communist countries

  • 11.00–11.20   Zdeněk Kühn, Associate Professor, Charles University Law School; Justice, Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic
    The rise and fall of judicial activism in the Czech Republic
  • 11.20–11.40   Nóra Chronowski, Associate Professor, National University of Public Service; Visiting Researcher, CSS institute for Legal Studies & Attila Vincze, Associate Professor, Andrássy Gyula University
    Use and misuse of European frameworks: legal transplants and the 'European constitutional dialogue' in the case law of the Hungarian Constitutional Court
  • 11.40–12.00 Wojciech Brzozowski, Adjunct Professor, University of Warsaw
    hatever works: Constitutional interpretation in Poland in times of populism
  • 12.00–12.30 Discussion

13.45–15.50 PANEL I (Cont.): Populism meets constitutional interpretation in post-communist countries

Moderator:  Zoltán Szente, Research Chair, CSS Institute for Legal Studies; Professor of Law, National University of Public Service

  • 13.45–14.05     Alexandra Mercescu, West University of Timisoara
    Non Sequitur in Constitutional Interpretation: A Populist Tool?
  • 14.05–14.25     Eszter Bodnár, Associate Professor, Eötvös Loránd University; Premium Postdoctoral Researcher, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
    The use of the comparative method in the Hungarian Constitutional Court’s practice after 2010
  • 14.25–14.45    Djordje Gardasevic (Associate Professor, Zagreb Law School)
    The Concept of Constitutional Identity Against Populist Claims - the Case of Croatia
  • 14.45–15.05    Csongor Kuti, University of Arts Târgu Mureş
    Between a rock and a hard place: constitutional conflict cases before the Romanian Constitutional Court
  • 15.05–15.25     János Mécs, PhD student, Eötvös Loránd University
    Populism, elections, legal paradigm – the interpretative struggle of the Hungarian constitutional court in electoral matters
  • 15.25–15.50     Discussion
  • 15.50–16.00    Coffee Break​

16.1018.00 PANEL II: Authoritarian trends and constitutional interpretation in consolidated democracies

Moderator:  Fruzsina Gárdos-Orosz, Director, CSS Institute for Legal Studies; Associate Professor, Eötvös Loránd University

  • 16.00‒16.30    Keynote speech by Anna Gamper, Professor of Law, University of Innsbruck
    An “Instrument of Government” or  “Instrument of Courts”? The Impact of Political Systems on Constitutional Interpretation and the Case of Populism
  • 16.30‒16.50    Paolo Zicchittu, Researcher in Constitutional Law and Adjunct Professor, University of Milan-Bicocca & Simone Gianello, Research Fellow, University of Milan-Bicocca
    Limiting Populism through Constitutional Interpretation: A Comparison between the Recent Practice of the Constitutional Courts of Italy and Hungary
  • 16.50‒17.10     Gianmario Demuro, Professor in Constitutional Law at the University of Cagliari & Riccardo Montaldo (doctoral candidate at the Universities of Kassel and Cagliari)
    The populist reforms in Italy and the instrument of constitutionally conforming interpretation
  • 17.10‒17.30     José Antonio Sanz Moreno, Professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid
    Populist theologies and Spanish constitutional court: democratic constitutionalism without intangible clauses vs. Catalan secessionist process
  • 17.30‒18.00    Discussion​

Day 2 – December 6, Friday

Venue: MTA Research House for Humanities (H-1097 Budapest, Tóth Kálmán u. 4.)

Plenary session

  • 9.009.30       Keynote speech by Martin Loughlin, Professor of Public Law, London School of Economics and Political Science
    Constitutional Interpretation: What can Europeans learn from the US debates?
  • 9.30‒9.50       John Morijn, Assistant Professor, University of Groningen
    Populism v. human rights: substantive and interpretational challenges
  • 9.50‒10.20    Discussion
  • 10.20‒10.40    Coffee Break​

10.4012.30 PANEL II: Authoritarian trends and constitutional interpretation in consolidated democracies

  • 10.4011.00    John McEldowney, Professor of Law at the University of Warwick Law School
    Populism, UK Sovereignty, the Rule of Law and Brexit
  • 11.00‒11.20     Konrad Lachmayer, Professor for Public Law, Sigmund Freud University in Vienna
    Formalism and judicial self-restraint as tools against populism? Considerations to recent developments of the Austrian Constitutional Court
  • 11.20‒11.40      Apostolos Vlachogiannis, Teaching Assistant, Hellenic Open University
    Constitutional identity as a populist notion? The Council of State and the forging of the Greek constitutional identity through the crisis
  • 11.40‒12.00     Irene Spigno, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law and Human Rights, Inter-American Academy of Human Right-Autonomous University of Coahuila (Mexico)
    Challenges to constitutional interpretation in xenophobic populist hate speech cases in comparative perspective
  • 12.00‒12.30    Discussion​


Please send an email indicating your intention to attend the conference with your name and affiliation at Registration is free of charge.

The conference focuses on the question whether European populist systems have developed new, specific constitutional theories, doctrines or methods, or whether their constitutional courts and other high courts continue to use the old, traditional interpretative tools in constitutional adjudication.  

The International Association of Constitutional Law Research Group on Constitutional Interpretation has recently been established to provide an effective framework for studying the theories and methods of constitutional interpretation. The Group aims at maintaining the research network of scholars whose fields of interest are closely connected to this subject-matter. The Institute for Legal Studies, Center for Social sciences provides an institutional framework for organizing the activities of this Group. 

Call for Papers (deadline 31 July 2019)