Course content

This course will deal comparatively with constitutional texts and constitutional issues that arose in a significant way around the world. It will consider the central issues and concerns surrounding comparative constitutional law.

The course is divided methodologically in five segments to provide a broad view to the student of the major considerations and topics related to comparative constitutionalism.

  • Part one “On general considerations” make up a theoretical baseline of the origins, nature, issues and methodology of comparative constitutionalism.
  • Part two “Constitutions and constitutionalism” defines from a comparative perspective the concept of “Constitution” and the relations between constitutionalism and democracy. We pay special attention to the constitutionalization process in the European Union.
  • Part three, deals with the separation of powers and how the States accommodate this legal and political guarantee. We work out the relationship between executive, legislative and judicial functions of different systems around the world. Specific issues of this section will include the theory of checking and balance, the presidential – parliamentary debate, judicial review and judicial activism.
  • Part four “Constitutional Human Rights” regards the relation between universal human rights and the constitutional codification and development of these rights. Death Penalty, religious pluralism, ethnic and language minorities protection are analyzed in class.
  • Part five “Global economic constitutionalism" examines a new topic that seems to marginalize national economic constitutionalism. In this segment we also deal with the relations between the WTO, IMF, NAFTA and MERCOSUR with the States.
Learning outcome

Knowledge: that which the student knows, i.e. can describe, explain, etc.

Skills: that which the student can do, i.e. can carry out within the known frames, for example identify relevant legal sources, the regulatory framework, etc. or make decisions in simple cases

Competences: that which the student has the competences to, i.e. , can handle in new situations, e.g. , provide advice, make complex decisions, conceptualize

The course will consist of lectures on the above mentioned topics mixed with case studies.

The learning method is very interactive and Socratic. Students are expected to prepare well for classes and actively participate in the debates on the issues under scope. I.T. means (videos, documentaries) are also used to engage critic discussions on the topics under scope.

The course also devotes a session to a role playing game, where the students play the role of different actors in a coup d´etat and a transitional period (opposition, military, police, regular citizens, journalist).

Books of general background interest include: Vicki C. Jackson and Mark Tuhsnet, Comparative Constitutional Law, Foundation Press, Thomson West, 2006. Dorsen Norman, Rosenfeld Michel, András Sajó and Susanne Baer, Comparative Constitutionalism, Cases and Materials, Thomson West, 2003.

Interdisciplinarity, different perspective on legal issues

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)


Students motivation, expectations and possibility to include topics on their own interest related with global justice; continuous feedback on assignments and readings; course evaluation; discussion of exam criteria in class along the course.


Type of assessment
Written assignment, 1 day
Assigned written individual assignment, 1 day
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • English
  • 412,5