Presentation by Conrado Hubner Mendes, 18 February 2014

The CLDG met on Tuesday 18 February at 3.00pm in the Neil MacCormick Room (Old College).

Prof. Conrado Hubner Mendes, of University of São Paulo Faculty of Law, spoke on

‘Constitutional Courts and Deliberative Democracy’

Prof Mendes’s presentation was based on his forthcoming book, Constitutional Courts and Deliberative Democracy (Oxford University Press), with Tom Daly as discussant, followed by Q&A.

The meeting was followed by the usual informal reception.

Chair & Discussant: Tom Gerald Daly

Presentation by Zaid Al-Ali, 12 February 2014

The CLDG met on Wednesday 12 February at 2.00pm in the Moot Court Room (Old College).

Zaid Al-Ali, Senior Adviser on Constitutional Building, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), gave a talk on the ongoing constitutional transitions in the Arab world, entitled:

‘Constitutional Reform in the Age of Arab Revolutions:
Overcoming the Legacy of Totalitarianism’

Summary: The dictators who ruled over the Arab region for decades constructed complex systems of repression but also inculcated specific cultural values in the general population. Local populations were encouraged to adopt various opinions about their character and their society, all of which were ultimately designed to encourage them to willingly surrender their rights and system of government in favor of a single individual who would remain unaccountable for his actions. Although many of the dictators have now been consigned to history, the decades of propaganda that they orchestrated have had a marked impact on society, to the extent that even debates surrounding constitutional reform have been impacted. Each of the countries that has embarked on a reform process since 2011 has had to deal with this legacy, some successfully, others less so. This presentation will explore how the legacy of totalitarianism impacts constitutional reform in each of the countries that has been engaging in constitutional reform in recent years.

Information on Mr Al-Ali’s forthcoming book, The Struggle for Iraq’s Future: How Corruption, Incompetence and Sectarianism Have Undermined Democracy (Yale University Press), will also be available.

The poster for the event can be downloaded here: CLDG_Meeting_12.02.2014 [Final]

Chair: Asanga Welikala

PhD Dialogue: ‘Exploring the Eternal Constitution: Perspectives on Constitutional Entrenchment’, 5 February 2014

Can constitutional amendments be unconstitutional? This is becoming a central riddle in global constitutional law as increasingly, constitution-makers include ‘eternity clauses’ in national constitutions, which aim to provide hermetic protection to certain values or institutions, and courts engage in judicial review of constitutional amendments on substantive grounds.

Departing from the usual format of CLDG meetings, this meeting took the form of a ‘dialogue’ between two advanced PhD researchers working on constitutional entrenchment. Yaniv Roznai (PhD Candidate, LSE) and Silvia Suteu (PhD, Edinburgh) discussed eternity clauses and judicial review of constitutional amendments, from both theoretical and comparative perspectives.

The meeting took place on Wednesday, 5 February 2014, at 16:30-19:10, in the Ken Mason Suite (Old College). The poster for the event can be downloaded here: CLDG_Meeting_05.02.2014 [Final][A3].

For events taking place next semester, please see our Forthcoming Events section or email us at

Chair: Tom Gerald Daly