Constitutional comparative Law

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students a general understanding of comparative constitutional law by carrying out a preliminary analysis of the main institutions and models derived from the historical experience of Western constitutionalism. The analysis will then focus on the constitutional institutions of the Central and Eastern European countries, which have been affected over the last 30 years by epochal transformations both in terms of state-building and of the different political-constitutional transitions (from the socialist model to democracy, from democratic consolidation to constitutional regression, to the emergence of new forms of authoritarianism). The course is developed in synergy with other courses provided by the degree course, in accordance to its interdisciplinary vocation. The aim is to provide students with the tools and keys of analysis to understand the aspects and dynamics of the complex political and institutional reality of the countries examined, both internally and in the complex network of supranational integration.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course, the student will have acquired the knowledge necessary to understand the constitutional dynamics of Central and Eastern European countries, in a historical and comparative perspective, and will be able to analyse the different types of transition and the differences in relevant areas (consolidated democracies, illiberal democracies, post authoritarian regimes).
Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:
The acquired knowledge will allow the student to analyze autonomously the constitutional characteristics of the new democracies and to express both in written and oral presentations (the latter resulted from team work), an in-depth analysis based on the autonomous gathering of sources (legislation, case-law and doctrine) and on the use of a specific language.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second trimester
Teaching Delivery and Teaching Methods
Should the emergency situation during the second quarter make it necessary to continue with online teaching, the course will be held on the teams platform in synchronous mode. Lectures will be recorded and maintained on the same platform. The synchronous lectures combine the direct presentation by the teacher with short sessions of debate and discussion of documents.

Program and documentation
The program remains unchanged. The reference material will include, in addition to papers posted on Ariel, video lectures and other multimedia content uploaded to Ariel or Teams.

Testing of the learning
The distinction between attending and non-attending students will be maintained. In fact, the attending students, who will follow the lessons in synchronization, will be actively involved in a series of intermediate tests, which will allow to verify the level of learning during the course. For students attending, the oral exam will ratify the results of the intermediate tests. For students not attending the final exam is oral and will take place in presence or on the TEAMS platform depending on ministerial and university regulations. The evaluation criteria, which will not differ significantly from those for in-presence teaching (see below), will enhance the student's ability to be actively involved and participate in the discussion. The ability to autonomously organize individual and group work, also in distance learning mode, will be positively evaluated.
Course syllabus
The teaching program involves the presentation and discussion of the following topics: historical and constitutional development of Central and Eastern European countries in comparison with Western democracies; different political transitions in the twentieth century, especially the great transition at the end of the century following the collapse of the socialist regime; constitutional frameworks, bill of rights and their guarantees; constitutional justice and transitional justice; the systems of government in the countries studied.
The teaching program involves the presentation and discussion of the following topics:: constitutional developments of Russia from the Tzarist Empire to the Russian Federation; constitutional frame work and rights protection; party and electoral system and the "governing President" system of government; the constitutional amendment of July, I 2020.
Prerequisites for admission
A basic foundation in comparative public law (forms of state and forms of government, constitutions and constitutionalism, constitutional justice), in international law (especially the democratic conditionality process to enter the main international organizations) and in contemporary history (especially the Bolshevik revolution, the geo-political landscape following the WW 2 and the collapse of socialist regimes after 1989), is required to understand the course contents
Teaching methods
The teaching methods are focused on the task to be pursued. In the first part of the course, traditional lecturing is aimed at the acquisition of knowledge.
In the last part, in order to facilitate the ability to apply the acquired knowledge, interactive methods will be favored: the explanation of the way of preparing constitutional chronicles and final group presentations, research on databases and institutional sites in order to collect the material for the tests. The teaching method is closely linked to the methodology and lexicon of comparative law. Each year, a variable number of seminars will be held to focus on specific topics with the involvement of Italian or foreign guests, the latter within the Erasmus teacher mobility program
Teaching Resources
Attending students: A.Di Gregorio (a cura di), I sistemi costituzionali dei paesi dell'Europa centro-orientale, baltica e balcanica, Wolters Kluwer, Padova, 2019, chapters 1 and 2, Epilogue. Non attending: A.Di Gregorio (a cura di), I sistemi costituzionaoli dei paesi dell'Europa centro-orientale, baltica e balcanica, Wolters Kluwer, Padova, 2019, chapters 1, 2 and 3, Epilogue
As for Russia, for attending students: the teacher will deliver the relevant material. For non attending students: A. Di Gregorio, L'evoluzione costituzionale della Russia tra diritti, potere ed economia, in L. Scaffardi (a cura di), BRICS: Paesi emergenti nel prisma del diritto comparato, Torino, Giappichelli, 2012, pp. 17-53.
To supplement the bibliographic material so as to have a constant update of the constitutional systems of the countries studied, it is suggested to access the Ariel platform where documents, diagrams and web references are uploaded as well as the updated text of the main European constitutions; a constitutional update of the countries concerned can be found also on the website (New Authoritarian Regimes and Democracies).
Assessment methods and Criteria
The student is required to sit two intermediate written tests. The first, held in the classroom, occurs at the end of the first module and consists of 3-5 open questions and lasts for 90 minutes. The second test consists of a chronicle of a constitutional event, which the student is free to select and write about at home. This must be delivered by the end of the second module. At the end of the course there will be an oral group presentation focused on the constitutional law of a specific country.
These intermediate tests demonstrate the students' capacity for analytical and critical thinking, team work as well as their ability to share and integrate the different aspects of the course materials. The written part of the exam tests the student's ability to use grammatically correct technical language in reflecting the content of the course.
The students will be evaluated on the basis of clarity and precision in written and oral forms with particular focus on the correct grammatical use of the specific vocabulary of constitutional law. The evaluation will assess the degree of active participation during lessons, seminars and other course activities. The second written test is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate innovation and originality of research on the given topic. The final evaluation is not simply the average of the marks of the individual tests but also consider participation and attendance during the course (which can be worth 2-3 extra marks). The results will be communicated in either the classroom or via email a week after the tests. The marks are given out of 30.
The best constitutional chronicles will be published on the blog Nuovi Autoritarism e Democrazie (
Unita' didattica 1
IUS/21 - COMPARATIVE PUBLIC LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 40 hours
Unita' didattica 2
IUS/21 - COMPARATIVE PUBLIC LAW - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
TUESDAY, 13.30/16.30