The meaning of Critical constitutional theory

The political dimension is key to an understanding of the Constitution that emerged historically as the legal institution for the containment, control and channelling of political power, as it is key to the way in which legal theory understands its own role as critical theory, in terms of the concepts and distinctions it offers to make sense of the field of constitutional practice.

A number of events and research collaborations have been organised and led by members of GLT in this area. They include the following: 

The Public and Law

In 2009, doctoral students in the Law School successfully applied for AHRC Collaborative Research Training funding to run an international doctoral colloquium, 'The Public in Law'. The event brought together a large of number of doctoral students, as well as some high profile experts, from across the UK, EU and US. A multi-disciplinary approach to paper selection fostered new links between researchers, developed students' communication and critical skills, and explored new meanings and expositions of the role of 'the public' in relation to law. This depth in scholarship and network of collaboration is evident in a published collection of essays, which grew out of exchanges at the colloquium: Clunie, G., et al, The Public in Law: Representations of the Political in Legal Discourse (Ashgate, 2012). 

Constitution-making as a Learning Process? 

Centering on the work of Andrew Arato (New School for Social Research, New York) on transformative constitutionalism, the international workshop held in May 2009 explored constitution-making as a ‘learning process’ with special emphasis on post-war Europe and South Africa (1992 – 1996). The focus on political transitions provides in Arato’s theory 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 involved scholars from Britain (Neil Walker, University of Edinburgh, Martin Loughlin, London School of Economics Peter Fitzpatrick, Birkbeck Law School) Europe and the US (Ulrich Preuss, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Hans Lihdahl, Tilburg, Frank Michelman, Harvard) and S Africa (Henk Botha, University of Stellenbosch, Halton Cheadle, University of Cape Town, Judge Dennis Davis, Cape High Court, Cape Town, Lourens du Plessis, University of Stellenbosch, Christina Murray, University of Cape Town ) 

Key Publications

Christodoulidis, E.   Law and Reflexive Politics

Christodoulidis, E. (2008) Public Law as Political Jurisprudence: Loughlin's Idea of Public Law. In: Christodoulidis, E. and Tierney, S. (eds.) Public Law and Politics: the Scope and Limits of Constitutionalism. Ashgate Publishing Limited: Aldershot, pp. 35-45. ISBN 9780754673637

Christodoulidis, E. (2007) Against substitution: the constitutional thinking of dissensus. In: Loughlin, M. and Walker, N. (eds.) The Paradox of Constitutionalism: Constituent Power and Constitutional Form. Oxford University Press

Christodoulidis, E. (2003) Constitutional Irresolution: Law and the Framing of Civil Society. European Law Journal, 9(4), pp. 401-432.