Constitutional Law beyond the State  

2 ECTS / 12h / English

This seminar looks at the recent exponential development of constitutional ideas and structures beyond the traditional confines of the nation state. Increasingly we find the development of constitution-like institutions, frameworks and principles, or at least an increased discussion of the prospect of such developments, in supranational (e.g. the EU), global (e.g United Nations, WTO) and transnational private (e.g. internet regulation) settings. This reflects and tracks the broader movement of economic, political and cultural power from the state to the transnational level. However, the constitutionalization of transnational relations is a highly uneven, conflicted and controversial process. The seminar will examine the main controversies, including the absence of popular sovereignty, citizenship and democratic institutions in transnational constitutions, the significant empowerment of transnational judges and the emphasis upon individual rights as against transnational or global public goods. It will also examine and evaluate different models for conceiving of transnational constitutionalism (e.g ´top-down´ institutional or normative models versus ´bottom-up´ pluralist models) as well as examining those positions that are critical of all attempts to frame transnational law in constitutional terms.


Neil Walker holds the Regius Chair of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh. His main area of expertise is…