Joseph Marko: Comparative Constitutional Law

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Joseph Marko: Course Comparative Constitutional Law

Spring Term 2010, University of Trento, Faculty of Law

Part I: Multiculturalism, Federalism, and Comparative Constitutional Law: A Conceptual Framework
Recommended reading:

Joseph Marko, The Law and Politics of Diversity Management: A Neo-institutional Approach, in European Yearbook of Minority Issues, Vol 6, 2006/07, Brill 2008, pp 252 – 279;

Thomas Fleiner/Lidija Basta Fleiner, Constitutional Democracy in a Multicultural and Globalised World, Springer 2009, chapters 8.3. Federalism and Decentralisation in Comparison, 8.4. Theory of Swiss Federalism, and 9 Outlook: The Constitutional State at the Threshold of a New Millenium, pp 538 – 664.
Part II: Case Studies: Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Canada
Recommended reading:

Country studies in G. Alan Tarr, Robert F. Williams, Joseph Marko (eds.), Federalism, Subnational Constitutions, and Minority Rights, Praeger 2004, by

Anna Gamper, Austrian Federalism and the Protection of Minorities, pp 55 – 72;

Norman Weiss, The Protection of Minorities in a Federal State: The Case of Germany, pp 73 – 87;

Wouter Pas, A Dynamic Federalism Built on Static Principles: The Case of Belgium, pp 157 – 175;

Jens Woelk, Federalism and Consociationalism as Tools for State Reconstruction? The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, pp 177 – 198; and

Giovanni Biaggini, Federalism, Subnational Constitutional Arrangements, and the Protection of Minorities in Switzerland, pp 213- 230.
Part III: Case Law and Problems for Debate

  1. Self-determination for Ethnic Groups?

Canadian Supreme Court, Re: Secession of Quebec,

Badinter Commission, Opinion Nr. 1- 3, for free download at

See also Fleiner/Fleiner, op.cit., pp 554 – 558.

  1. Collective” Equality, Territory and Ethnic Identity?

Constitutional Court BiH, U 5/98, and the review of this decision:

Joseph Marko, “United in Diversity”? Problems of State and Nation-building in Post-conflict Situations: The Case of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Vermont Law Review, Vol 30, Nr.3, Spring 2006, pp 503 – 550; Morawiec Mansfield, A., Ethnic but equal: The quest for a new democratic order in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Columbia Law Review, Vol. 103, 2003, pp 2052 – 2093;

  1. Right and Obligation to Ethnic Representation?

ECtHR, Mathieu-Mohin and Clairfayt v. Belgium, Sejdić and Finci v. Bosnia-Herzegovina,; see also Venice Commission Amicus curiae brief in the cases Sejdić and Finic v. Bosnia-Herzegovina,


  1. The Public/Private Distinction: Mono-lingual signs in Minority languages?

Canadian Supreme Court, Quebec v. Ford,

Swiss Supreme Court, Bar Amici gegen Gemeinde Disentis/Mustér 1990,

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