Universiteit Antwerpen

Constitution-making as a Learning Process? May 27-29, 2009



27 – 29 MAY 2009

Organised by the Law School of the University of Glasgow and the Centre for Law and Cosmopolitan Values of the University of Antwerp

The Law School of the University of Glasgow and the Centre for Law and Cosmopolitan Values of the University of Antwerp will host a workshop at the University of Glasgow in May 2009 during which the views of Prof. Andrew Arato (New School for Social Research, New York) regarding constitution-making as a learning process will be examined. The examination will compare constitution-making processes in Europe after World War II, but also take into consideration the constitution-making process in South Africa (1992 – 1996) which Prof. Arato hails as exemplary for the new two phased constitution-making process in the course of which the enemies of old negotiate the organic rules of change that usher in the new legal order, but have these new organic rules of change legitimised in terms of the rules of change of the old order. This double phased process thus not only allows for the continued rule of law, but also allows the powers of the new dispensation to found a polity on the basis of rules of change and recognition that derive only indirectly and not directly from the old order. This understanding of political transitions also provides a vision of how post-conflict societies can be healed and begin a new history of democratic political co-operation without taking recourse to “out-dated and destructive notions of sovereignty and constituent power”, the pure agency of which founds a new polity on the basis of convictions about social and political justice that require a clean break with the past. The workshop will reflect on these and other elements of Prof. Arato’s understanding of the new constitution-making process from a wide range of different perspectives on and experiences with constitution-making processes.


The following scholars have confirmed participation in the workshop:

1) Prof. Andrew Arato, New School for Social Research, New York
2) Prof. Henk Botha, University of Stellenbosch
3) Prof. Halton Cheadle, University of Cape Town
4) Prof. Emilios Christodoulidis, University of Glasgow
5) Judge Dennis Davis, Cape High Court, Cape Town
6) Prof. Lourens du Plessis, University of Stellenbosch
7) Peter Fitzpatrick, Birkbeck Law School
8) Prof. Hans Lindahl, University of Tilburg
9) Prof. Martin Loughlin, London School of Economics
10) Prof. Frank Michelman, Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA
11) Prof. Christina Murray, University of Cape Town
12) Prof. Ulrich Preuss, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin
13) Prof. Adam Tomkins, University of Glasgow
14) Prof. Chris Thornhill, University of Glasgow
14) Prof. Johan van der Walt, University of Glasgow
15) Prof Scott Veitch, University of Glasgow
16) Prof Francois Venter, University of the North West, Potchefstroom
17) Prof. Neil Walker, University of Edinburgh

More details will be announced soon