Conference on Crisis of Rule of Law and Democracy in Europe

Conference on Crisis of Rule of Law and Democracy in Europe will take place on 25-26 September 2014 at Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia. Here are the aims of the conference :

Since the very beginning, the European Union has identified itself as the community of law. The respect for the rule of law and democracy has been posited at the apex of the EU values, shared by all of its Member States. Furthermore, the adherence to these values, both in theory and in practice, has been a prerequisite any country has had to meet to join the Union. However, in recent years, while the EU has been suffering under the impact of the financial and economic crisis, the very legal and democratic foundations have been undermined in several Member States, most notably: Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia, to name but a few.

The purpose of this conference is to address the systemic rule of law and democracy crisis in the European Union, focusing on specific case studies of the selected Member States. The conference, taking place on September 25-26, 2014 at Brdo, Slovenia, will feature a number of very distinguished speakers and guests, including the Dean of the Helsinki School of Law, the judges of the European Court of Human Rights, the Slovenian Constitutional and Supreme Court, foreign academic experts and practitioners from Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria. The conference is expected to resonate widely especially in Slovenia, which is currently undergoing one of its most severe crisis in the rule of law since its independence. The conference will also have an academic impact abroad, in the EU and beyond, by way of publication which is anticipated to result from the conference discussions.

More information is available here.

Problem-Ridden Nomination Process for Judge on behalf of Slovenia at the European Court of Human Rights

We have already reported that the mandate of the incumbent judge at the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Slovenia expires on 31 October 2015. The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia has therefore this May started selection procedure for nomination of three candidates to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by publishing call for applications. Seven candidates applied, among them seven men and one woman. The Judicial Council of the Republic of Slovenia prepared a ranking of candidates and proposed to President of Slovenia to send the names of three highest-ranking candidates to the Parliament, which has to vote on the list of three candidates in order to be sent to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. However, Mr Pahor, the incumbent President of Republic of Slovenia, last week refused to send the list of three high ranking candidates to the Parliament and requested that the Ministry of Justice repeats the call for applications. It is not entirely clear why Mr Pahor rejected the list approved by the Judicial Council, but it appears that the merits of the candidates did not impress him. Surprisingly, the Ministry of Justice at this point does not plan to repeat the call for application.  It seems we are witnessing situation so often seen in the Central and Eastern European countries where the merits of the candidates play only side role in the nomination process and where the nomination of the candidates to the European Court of Human Rights comes down to brutal power politics. Stay tuned for future developments on this issue.

Central and Eastern European Judges under the EU Influence

20140512_095631Conference on Central and Eastern European Judges under the EU Influence takes place today and tomorrow at the European University Institute. Has the state of mind of judiciaries in the Central and Eastern European states changed ten years after joining the EU ?

Conference on Central and Eastern European Judges under the EU Influence

College of Europe and European University Institute will be on 12 and 13 May 2014 holding conference on “Central and Eastern European Judges under the EU Influence: The Transformative Power of Europe Revised on the 10th Anniversary of the Enlargement”. The conference aims to answer the following questions :

What has been the “transformative power” of EU law on the reasoning and ideologies of Central European countries’ judiciary? What has been the impact of EU membership on their institutions? How can we explain the radical change of approach of some initially “Euro-friendly” Constitutional Courts that in recent times have questioned the constitutionality of EU acts and even a judgement of the ECJ? What are the cultural and political reasons of the backsliding on rule of law and constitutional guarantees in some of the Central and Eastern European countries following the accession?

The programme of the conference is as follows :

Monday, 12th
May 2014
SALA EUROPA, VILLA SCHIFANOIA
9.00 Arrival and Registration of participants
9.30 Welcome and Introduction
Loïc Azoulai, Director of the Centre for Judicial Cooperation, European University Institute
Michal Bobek, College d’Europe
10.00 Stream 1: Judicial Reasoning and Judicial Ideology – Chair: Loïc Azoulai
Short presentations by
Peter Cserne – Formalism and Policy Arguments in Judicial Reasoning: Is Central Europe a Special Case?
Jan Zobec and Jernej Letnar Černič – The Remains of the Authoritarian Mentality within the Slovene Judiciary
Marcin Matczak, Matyas Bencze and Zdeněk Kühn – EU law and CEE judges. Administrative judiciaries in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland ten years after the Accession
Rafał Mańko – The Impact of EU Membership upon Private Law Adjudication in Poland: A Case Study on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts
10.40 Comments by Boštjan Zalar and Erhard Blankenburg
11.15 Coffee break
11.30 General Discussion
12.00 Stream 2: Structural and Institutional Changes – Chair: Matej Avbejl
Short presentations by Sinisa Rodin – Dumb and no More Here
Marton Varju and Andras Kovacs – The impossibility of being a European and a national judge at the same time: a Central and Eastern European experience
Nina Poltorak – Changes in the level of the national judicial protection under the EU influence on the example of Polish legal system
Alexander Kornezov – When David Teaches EU Law to Goliath – A Generational Upheaval in the Making in the Bulgarian Judiciary
Aleš Galič – Aversion Against a Judicial Discretion in Civil Proceedings in Post-communist Countries: Can the Influence of the EU Law Change It?
13.00 Lunch
14.20 Stream 2: Structural and Institutional Changes (continued)
Comments by Mirosław Wyrzykowski and Tudorel Stefan
14.40 General Discussion
15.15 Coffee break
15.30 Stream 3: Constitutional Courts and Constitutional Justice – Chair: Wojciech Sadurski
Short presentations by
Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz – Polish Constitutional Court and the comity of circumspect
constitutional courts: The Court of old closures or new openings?
Jiří Přibán – Constitutional Sovereignty and Jurisprudence of the Czech Constitutional Court
Allan Tatham – “Keeping the Faith”: The Trials and Tribulations of the Hungarian Constitutional Court in following its European Vocation
Aleksandra Kustra – When the language you speak is not your mother-tongue: Confusions in CE Constitutional Courts’ application of legal concepts concerning EU Membership
Pola Cebulak – From a «teacher-student» relationship to a «student-student» dynamic? The Central and Eastern European «block » of Constitutional Courts in European Judicial Politics
16.30 Comments by Marek Safjan
16.50 General Discussion
17.30 End of Day 1
Tuesday, 13th
May 2014
SALA EUROPA, VILLA SCHIFANOIA
9.30 Stream 4: Backsliding and the Rule of Law – Chair: Inge Govaere
Short presentations by
Kim Lane Sheppele – Constitutional coups and judicial review: how transnational institutions can strengthen peak courts at times of crisis (with special reference to Hungary)
Petra Gyöngyi – Constitutional constraints and possibilities and the role of the European Union in guiding judicial reforms in Hungary and Romania
Uladzislau Belavusau – Challenging Authoritarism: EU Transformative Power in Central & Eastern Europe?
Martin Mendelski – Pathologies of rule of law promotion: The uneven impact of the EU on de jure and de facto rule of law development in Central and Eastern Europe
10.15 Comments by Hannes Kraemer and Jenö Czuczai
10.50 Coffee break
11.10 General Discussion
11.40 Conclusions
Of Light, Darkness, and the White Man`s Burden
Michal Bobek