The fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has created an extraordinary opportunity to raise democratic societies in that part of the world. However, since the 2008 economic crisis and throughout the ongoing pandemic, Europe has seen a rise of populist movements, which depart from governing by “the rule of law” in favour of the “rule by law”.
During our final seminar in the “Spring with the Rule of Law in CEE” series on 4 March at 15:00 (14:00 CET), a panel of distinguished guests, including Professor Anneli Albi, Professor András Sajó, Professor Joseph Weiler, and Professor Ineta Ziemele, will talk about case law and to what extend it is generally applicable. The panel discussion will be hosted by Professor Adam Bodnar, former Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Poland and Dean of the Faculty of Law in Warsaw at SWPS University.
The goal of the final seminar is to summarize the recent achievements of the “Spring with the Rule of Law” project which started in April 2021. The discussion about the future of the European judicial institutions, with a particular reference to the European Court of Justice, seems essential.
During the previous meetings, we discussed the practical meaning of the rule of law concept, the scope of activity of the European Court of Human Rights, and controversies surrounding judicial independence in Europe. The conclusions from these discussions indicate that the implementation of the decisions issued by the European Courts depends on the political will of the member states. Lack of such will usually is manifested by a tendency to ignore these decisions, in particular when the decisions may, on the one hand, impact internal politics of a member state, and on the other hand, when European institutions are forced to make political calculations of gains and losses. All of these elements require a more profound reflection by academics and judges.
During this webinar, the main question posed to the panel is: To what extent the case law is generally applicable? In other words: can we formulate a universal standard of the rule of law that would be applicable in Europe, or should we focus close attention on the local context, and protect essential values. This question is more than justified in the face of widespread populism and the crisis the European project is facing.
András Sajó is a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg (2009-17), a Professor at the Central European University (CEU). In addition to his stature as a prominent constitutionalist, he is also a distinguished scholar in the human rights field, including media regulation.
Joseph Weiler is University Professor at NYU Law School and Senior Fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard. He served previously as President of the European University Institute, Florence. Prof. Weiler is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law (EJIL) and the International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON).
Anneli Albi is Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law and European Law at the University of Kent (Canterbury, UK). She obtained her doctorate from the European University Institute in Florence (2003) and her law degree from the University of Tartu in Estonia. Prof. Albi has co-edited the key two-volume reference book National Constitutions in European and Global Governance: Democracy, Rights, the Rule of Law.
Ineta Ziemele holds a Doctor of Law degree at the University of Cambridge. She is a professor at Riga Graduate School of Law, a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg (2005-2014); former Judge and President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia (2015-2020); and a Judge at the European Court of Justice since October 2020.
About the series
The webinar series “Spring with the Rule of Law in CEE” is organised by Riga Graduate School of Law and SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities. The series aims to raise the awareness of participants about the fundamental concepts of the rule of law system, its Central and Eastern European specifics and the traps that await society during the creation of a fully democratic political community.
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