Comparative constitutional law (2015/2016)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Matteo Nicolini
Matteo Nicolini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
1° periodo di lezioni dal Oct 1, 2015 al Dec 16, 2015.

Lesson timetable

1° periodo di lezioni
Day Time Type Place Note
Wednesday 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM lesson Lecture Hall I.C.I.S.S. A  
Thursday 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM lesson Lecture Hall F  

Learning outcomes

The course proposes a critical survey of the different constitutional designs of the world by focusing on a specific constitutional institute. Among those institutes that may be numbered among the foundations of “modern” and “contemporary” constitutional law, it considers the constitutional adjudication as one of the main legacies of Western constitutionalism. For this purpose, the course will use the comparative legal method, which is useful in cross-national analyses. In this regard, it dproposes classifications of the different models of constitutional review, thus shedding lights on the interrelations between rigidity, enforceability of the constitution and constitutionalism. It then considers cross-fertilisation, as the main form of dissemination of constitutional ideas. Those attending the course will actively participate in it: during the lectures, the class will discuss and debate the different models for addressing judicial review and examine the most relevant judgements that have contributed in developing the role of supreme and constitutional courts in the protection of the constitutional frameworks (and their principles)


Comparative method and constitutional law: classifications and models of constitutional adjudication.
Political v. judicial review. The French constitutional experience. Constitutional adjudication under Soviet and Islamic constitutions.
The origins of the judicial review: from the English antecedents to the U.S. constitutional history. Concentrated v Diffuse judicial review. Judicial review in common law legal systems. The dissemination of the U.S. model outside the common law realm: Latino-American countries and Portugal. UK and Switzerland. The Kelsenian model and its circulation in Europe. Concrete and Abstract review. Retroactive and Prospective effects of constitutional courts’ decisions.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam.

Teaching aids