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Constitutional precedence as keystone of modern constitutionalism

maandag, 14 maart, 2016 - 09:00
Faculteit: Recht en Criminologie
Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (Ockegemzaal)
Hertogsstraat 1, 1000 Brussels
Vrije Universiteit Brussel & University of Passau (ReConFort)
02/629 2644, 02/629 2460


What made modern constitutions so new? One of the key determinants of modern constitutionalism is the understanding of a constitution as a legal text, fixing the political order as a legal order. The concept of precedence of the constitution, which arose at the end of the 18th century, expresses this idea. Henceforth, the constitution became the single, uniform document measuring the legality of all political acting as well as of all legislation. This conference brings together experts from a variety of national contexts to investigate the genesis, the functioning and the evolution of the precedence of constitution.

 The conference is organized by the VUB research team CORE – Contextual Research in Law and the Comité Rechtsgeschiedenis of the KVAB – Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, and supported by the KVAB as a Contactforum. They invite the international research project ReConFort – Reconsidering Constitutional Formation by Drafting, Practice and Interpretation in 18th and 19th century Europe (www.reconfort.eu) to open up its biannual meeting in Brussels to the public. ReConFort, under the supervision of prof. dr. Ulrike Müβig from the University of Passau (Germany), brings together graduated historians and legal scholars from six different European countries in an interdisciplinary investigation into the genesis of modern constitutions in Europe. It focuses on the cross-border interplays between constitutional process and public debates in late 18th and 19th century Europe. With this conference, the innovative approach and new insights generated by ReConFort are confronted with the expertise of eminent specialists from all over Europe.

ReConFort has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 339529.


9:00    Start of Registration

Moderation: Dirk Heirbaut 

9:30    The Rt Hon Lord Robert Reed (London): Re-thinking the UK Constitution

10:15  Gerald Stourzh (Vienna): The Development of Constitutional Precedence and the Constitutionalisation of Individual Rights 

11:00   Coffee break 

11:30   Ulrike Müssig (ReConFort/Passau)/ Shavana Musa (ReConFort/Manchester): Constitutional Normativism vs. Different Rule of Law-Concepts

            A New Order of the Ages - Normativity and Precedence (Ulrike Müßig)
            Different Rule of Law-Concepts (Shavana Musa)

 13:00  Lunch

Moderation: Dave De ruysscher

14:30  Frederik Dhondt (Brussels/Ghent-FWO): Missing Constitutionalism? Excessive Deference in the Constitution of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815)

15:15  Sebastiaan Vandenbogaerde (Ghent): Legal periodicals in Belgium: did they have a constitutional role?

16:00  Coffee break

16:30  Eirik Holmøyvik (Bergen): Norway’s Long 19th Century: Development of Judicial Review and the Debates on the King’s Veto on Constitutional Amendments

17:15  Thomas Olechowski (Vienna): Legal Hierarchies in the Works of Hans Kelsen and Adolf Julius Merkl

18:15  Final Discussion and Outlook to the Research Program of ReConFort
           (Moderation: Ulrike Müssig)


Registration price:

  • Students: 0 €
  • Members of researchgroup ReConFort/CORE: 0 €
  • Other: 30 €

Please register before March 8th 2016.

Location  Parking