325251 VO Comparative public law

winter semester 2020/2021 | Last update: 20.01.2021 Place course on memo list
VO Comparative public law
VO 2

The purpose of the course is to offer students a means of knowledge and critical understanding of the origins and developments of modern and contemporary constitutionalism, as experienced by states belonging to both the common law (UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, and Israel) and the civil law legal traditions (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland). Reference will be made also to some of those constitutional systems that have experienced a recent important systemic transition in Central-Eastern (Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Ukraine) and South-Eastern Europe (Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia) as well as to states having some specific peculiarities of their own, such as the Russian Federation and  Turkey. Reference will also be made to the process of constitutionalisation of the European Union as a supranational system within the framework of (federal and regional) systems based on territorial division of powers.

Classes are aimed also to allow students to receive a basic introduction to comparative legal systems (in particular, civil law and common law), as well as to the comparative legal method.

The focus of the course will be the comparative constitutional organisation of governmental functions. Such focus implies the qualification of governmental organisation as the institutional pre-requisite of protection of fundamental rights and will therefore only indirectly deal with such protection.

Classes will initially deal with some fundamental topics of constitutionalism (ideological foundations of forms of state and respective constitutional concepts, constitution-making, formal procedures and substantive limits to constitutional revision, models of government, separation of powers and checks and balances, constitutional judicial review and constitutional guarantees) and will then proceed by comparing models (federal, regional, supranational) of territorial division of governmental functions as well as parliamentary, presidential, and «semi-presidential» models of government.

Classes are a means for critical formation and transmission of comparative legal methodology, and not for transmitting basic information: teaching will therefore rely on a critical approach, with the purpose to train students to see and explain problems, to analyse similarities and differences, and to understand their respective rationale. Classes are based on a combination of lectures and of group discussion and they are meant to be as interactive as students will be willing to be.


Students are always welcome to ask questions, make comments and to suggest links between and among topics. Questions, comments and suggestions are preferably asked in class, so that all students benefit both from questions and answers.

The final exam will be written.  Grades are related to the quality of legal reasoning and not to the quantity of information exhibited.

A. W. Heringa, Constitutions Compared. An Introduction to Comparative Constitution al Law, Intersentia, 4th edition, 2016.

The outlines of classes and further basic reading materials in English will be made available on the web.

Please enroll in LFU online!

Students interested in meeting the professor are kindly requested to contact him via email: roberto.toniatti@unitn.it

Group 0
Date Time Location
Mon 2020-11-16
17.00 - 18.30 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Tue 2020-11-17
10.00 - 13.00 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Wed 2020-11-18
10.30 - 12.45 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Tue 2020-11-24
17.00 - 18.30 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Wed 2020-11-25
11.00 - 13.15 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Mon 2020-11-30
17.00 - 18.30 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Tue 2020-12-01
10.00 - 13.00 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Wed 2020-12-02
10.30 - 12.45 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Mon 2020-12-07
17.00 - 19.15 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Wed 2020-12-09
11.00 - 14.00 eLecture - online eLecture - online