2448.18 - Substate Constitutions

Course number
Substate Constitutions
Bachelor degree or equivalent with adequate component of law or political science
The principal purpose of the course is to give the students a broad introduction to the theory and practice of constitutions and constitutionalism in the context of present and former sub-state polities or sub-units in federated structures, the Faroese constitutional project included. The course will also focus on constitutional theory and the theory of constitutional interpretation, construction and adjudication.
A lot of litterature on constitutional law and constitutional theory focuses on the constitutions of polities that undisputably are sovereign states under internatioal law. This course will on the other hand address the constitutions of subdivisions of federal polities (“states”, “cantons” and “länder” etc.) and various political units that have self-government or autonomy arrangements despite forming part of supposedly “unitary” states. The course will also consider historical examples of sub-sovereign constitutional documents evolving into the constitutions of sovereign states. The Faroese constitution drafting process will be examined in light of insights gained from the theoretical litterature and comparative materials.The course will also introduce the students to more general constitutional theory including in particular theory on the interpretation and construction of constitutional documents and on constitutional adjudication. The relationship between the constitution of the central unit and the constitution of the component unit will be explored. Case law will be used to illuminate themes relevant to the course.
Learning and teaching approaches
36 hours, organised as lectures and potential exercises in addition to potential student presentations.
Learning outcomes
The students should: • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the theory and practice relating to the constitutions of polities that are not sovereign states under international law. • Be able to reflect on the hierarchical tensions inherent in the relation between a sub-state constitution and the metropolitan state constitution; • Understand the difference between interpretation and construction and be able to reflect on the difference between constitutional text and constitutional doctrine, including differences in the evolution of legal doctrine on federal as compared to sub-state level. • Be able to explain different patterns among sub-state constitutions and reflect on possible normative lessons inferred from these; • Understand the difference between convergence and divergence of doctrine concerning constitutional rights at the metropolitan and sub-unit levels; • Appreciate the difference between historical contingencies and logical necessities in debates about constitutional law and constitutional theory; • Describe and analyse the potential for evolution of sub—state constitutional documents into the constitutions of sovereign states; • Communicate convincingly and professionally as well as eloquently these skills and understandings.
Assessment method
Internal examiner. One or more written assignment counts for 1/3 of the grade for the course and an oral exam counts for 2/3 of the grade.
Marking scale
Materials, that will be available on Moodle before teaching begins.
Kristian Joensen