Comparative constitutional law (2016/2017)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Matteo Nicolini, Alice Valdesalici
Matteo Nicolini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
1° periodo di lezioni dal Oct 3, 2016 al Dec 16, 2016.

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 I.C.I.S.S. A  

Learning outcomes

The course proposes a critical survey of the different constitutional designs of the world by focusing on specific constitutional institutes. Among those institutes that may be enumerated in the foundations of “modern” and “contemporary” constitutional law, it considers the federal principle as an essential component of numerous States and power structures, and debates the different typologies of State that can be traced back to the paradigms of federalism and regionalism. For this purpose, the course will use the comparative legal method, which is useful in cross-country analyses. In this regard, it proposes a classification of the different models of compound States, thus shedding lights on the interrelations between “law in books” and “law in action”. 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 the different models and examine the most significant case studies and judgements that have contributed in the evolution of Federal and Regional States (and their principles).


Origins and historical evolution of the different architypes.
Concepts and definitions: federalism, regionalism, devolution, federal vs. regional State.
Forms and manifestations of the federal principle: classifications and paradigms.
The federal constitutional order and its amendment.
The constitutional dimension of subnational autonomy: forms and legal guarantees.
Regional demarcation and territorial alterations: procedural guarantees and legal practice.
The participation of subnational entities in decision-making at federal level: prototypes and models of federal second chambers and intergovernmental relations.
Composition, legitimacy and special functions of the constitutional courts in federal and regional States.
Distribution of competences: patterns and challenges.
Allocation of competences and intergovernmental relations in fiscal and financial matters (fiscal federalism).

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam

Teaching aids