Upcoming Speaking Engagement: Annual Conference of the European Academy of Religion, Bologna, March 5-8, 2018

I will be speaking on the topic of ‘Comparative Constitutional Law and Natural Law.’

The abstract reads as follows:

During the last decade or so the discipline of comparative constitutional law has experienced phenomenal growth. Handbooks in the field have become truly global in outlook.

With the globalization of comparative constitutional law, the question arises which standards should be applied to evaluate different legal arrangements? Alternatively, the field would alter into an empirical discipline that merely registers how such mechanisms differ around the globe.

In a not so distant past, it would still have made sense to use religion as a source of inspiration to evaluate different constitutional arrangements. Using faith is not an option anymore, however, as most political orders are rooted in religious cultures. Within the West, moreover, constitutionalism is increasingly separated from religion.

In the proposed paper, following the work of Santiago Legarre among others, I will suggest that the idea of natural law is a serious candidate to serve as a normative framework.

For more information on the program of the conference, see: https://www.europeanacademyofreligion.org/program

‘The European Academy of Religion (EuARe) is a research initiative launched under the high patronage of the European Parliament which offers an exchange platform to academies and scientific societies; associations; research centers and institutions; university labs, clusters, and departments; journals, publishers, media and scholars coming from Europe and the surrounding regions.’

See also:

Podcast of the Law and Religious Freedom Book Panel at the Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature in Boston, MA

Press Release: ‘Twelve ILS seed money grants for frontier research at Leiden Law School’

Paper presentation during XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions

Upcoming Speaking Engagement: 2017 ICON∙S Conference on ‘Courts, Power, and Public Law’, Copenhagen, July 5-7


My two scheduled presentations during the conference are entitled: ‘The European Court of Human Rights’ “constitutional morality” in the religious domain’, and ‘In Defense of the Classical Liberal Conception Regarding Religious Freedom’.

About the general conference theme:

‘The overarching theme of the ICON-S 2017 Annual Meeting will be “Courts, Power, Public Law”. The expanding role of courts is arguably one of the most significant developments in late-20th and early-21st century government. Today, courts around the world play an increasingly central role in defining the relationship between different organs of the state, as between state, non-state actors and individual citizens, and between national and supranational levels of governance. Domestic courts routinely interpret and enforce constitutional provisions guaranteeing the separation of powers, federalism and civil and political rights. Many domestic courts also now play a role in safeguarding democracy, and protecting and promoting social rights. In doing so, many domestic courts are also in active ‘dialogue’ with regional and international tribunals, as well as with transnational investment agreements or legal norms; and international courts likewise rely on regional and domestic human rights and public law norms in developing international jurisprudence.

What explains this increasingly dense network of judicial control over public power, and transnational judicial interaction? To what extent do courts succeed in achieving their goals, and under what conditions? In the midst of concerns about national and international security, how should courts respond to such concerns without compromising ideals of constitutional democracy? What should be the appropriate remit of international tribunals in balancing the competing claims of a just peace and individual responsibility? What are we to make of the role of courts in the management and mismanagement of the national and international economic crisis, and how it has called into question some of the classic institutions of democracy? Answering these questions requires close attention to the social, economic and political context for judicial review. It also invites attention to questions of public power: how, and under what conditions, do courts enjoy the power, legitimacy and independence necessary to serve as a meaningful check on national and transnational actors? How does the social and political power enjoyed by political elites, citizens or social movements contribute to the creation or success of judicial review in different settings? Do we need to rethink the conventional ways of understanding how courts mediate between the international and the national? Addressing these questions is a key focus for much of the leading scholarship on comparative constitutional law, comparative politics, comparative administrative law, and international law and governance today. It is also the focus of the ICON-S 2017 Conference.’

About ICON-S:

‘The initiative to create an International Society of Public Law emerged from the Editorial Board of I·CON – the International Journal of Constitutional Law. For several years now I·CON has been, both by choice and by the cartographic reality of the field, much more than a journal of comparative constitutional Law. I·CON has expanded its interests, range of authors, readers, Editorial Board members and, above all, issues covered to include not only discrete articles in fields such as Administrative Law, Global Constitutional Law, Global Administrative Law and the like, but also increasingly includes scholarship that reflects both legal reality and academic perception, and which in dealing with the challenges of public life and governance combines elements from all of the above with a good dosage of political theory and social science.’

Source, and all additional information:


Masterprofileringsvak Vergelijkend Constitutioneel Recht / Master Elective Course on Comparative Constitutional Law


Momenteel loopt er weer een nieuwe editie van mijn masterprofileringsvak Vergelijkend Constitutioneel Recht. Uit de vakbeschrijving:

Aan de hand van een recent internationaal handboek dat is aangeduid als ‘a landmark scholarly accomplishment in many respects’, wordt in dit vak allereerst een introductie gegeven in de voornaamste methoden, kansen en beperkingen van de (publiekrechtelijke) rechtsvergelijking. Vervolgens wordt ingegaan op de grote uitdagingen waarvoor de nationale staat zich in de 21ste eeuw gesteld ziet in termen van het zogeheten transnationale constitutionalisme. Hierbij wordt het constitutionalisme in ‘illiberal polities’ als spiegel gebruikt om de problematiek waarmee de Westerse liberale democratie zich momenteel geconfronteerd ziet meer reliëf te geven. Nationale staten staan niet alleen onder druk van buitenaf (de reeds genoemde transnationalisering), maar ook van binnenuit. Terwijl vanouds kon worden uitgegaan van een zekere mate van homogeniteit van hun bevolkingen, lijken in de 21e eeuw de centrifugale krachten definitief aan de winnende hand. Tijdens de laatste twee bijeenkomsten zal daarom mede aan de hand van nog weer andere staatsrechtelijke kernbegrippen als burgerschap, constitutionele identiteit en federalisme onder meer de blik worden gericht op de problematiek van het constitutionalisme in verdeelde samenlevingen.

Doel van het vak
De behandeling, op rechtsvergelijkende basis, van een vijftal nauw met elkaar samenhangende constitutioneelrechtelijke thema’s, die van fundamenteel belang zijn voor iedere bestuursjurist.

Eindkwalificaties (eindtermen van het vak)
Eindtermen inhoud:
1. U heeft grondige kennis van en diepgaand inzicht in de voornaamste theoretische, historische en institutionele aspecten van hedendaagse staatsvormen en regeringsstelsels in rechtsvergelijkend perspectief.
2. U heeft kennis van en inzicht in de uitdagingen waarvoor deze staatsvormen en regeringsstelsels zich gesteld zien onder zowel externe (Europeanisering, internationalisering) als interne druk (centrifugale krachten) en de antwoorden zoals deze op deze tendensen (beginnen te) worden geformuleerd.

Eindtermen vaardigheden:

U heeft kennis over en inzicht in de methoden, mogelijkheden en beperkingen van de (publiekrechtelijke) rechtsvergelijking. (…)

Michel Rosenfeld & András Sajó (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) (paperback edition, 2013).’

Voor meer informatie, zie: