Seminar: The Place of Constitutional Courts in the EU
Time: Friday, 14 September 2012, 13.00-15.30
Place: Moot court room (Rättegĺngssalen) 4th floor, C-house, Stockholm University, Frescati
Speaker: Jan Komarék, London School of Economics
Discussant: Ulf Öberg, Managing Partner and Advokat, Advokatfirman Öberg and associés AB
Registration: Please register no later than 12 September 2012 by e-mail to Lovorka Jonic-Kapnias at
The existing scholarship on the role of national constitutional courts in the EU focuses on conflicts. Studies that explore the jurisprudence of national constitutional courts, which put limits on the effects of EU law in national legal systems, or which even seek to curb the process of European integration, abound. In the article, which Jan Komarék will present at the seminar, he takes a wider look at the place of constitutional courts in the EU. As much as the German Federal Constitutional Court (the FCC) is taken as a paradigmatic contender of the ECJ's authority, it was also described by the distinguished judge of the ECJ, Koen Lenaerts, as the ECJ's 'greatest ally'. It is because apart from sending 'dark signals' to Luxembourg, the FCC helps to enforce the duty of German ordinary courts to submit preliminary reference to the ECJ, which lies at the heart of the EU judicial system or even the constitutional order of the EU.
Many people have observed that the position of constitutional courts in their domestic legal (and political) systems is challenged by various doctrines of the ECJ. Doctrines of primacy and direct effect undermine not only the supreme position of national constitutions among the sources of law applicable within the territory of national states, but also the place of constitutional courts among other national institutions, particularly their relationship to ordinary courts. The ECJ does not consider - on the dogmatic level - constitutional courts to be different from other national institutions. The presentation advocates a different approach: it seeks to justify a particular place of national constitutional courts in the EU on the European grounds. In other words, the presentation argues that it is EU law itself that demands granting a special position to national constitutional courts, taking into account their unique role in the EU legal order and its political system.
The seminar will be followed by an informal reception with beverages and snacks
Jan Komarek is lecturer at London School of Economics and Political Science (European Institute and Department of Law). He holds degrees from University of Oxford (M.St. 2007, D. Phil. 2011), Stockholm University (LL.M. 2004) and Charles University in Prague (Mgr. 2001, JUDr. 2002). He worked with the Czech Government Agent before the European Court of Justice at the Ministry of Foreign Affaires, Department of EC Law (2004-2006) and was a legal secretary to the President of the Czech Constitutional Court (2009-2010).
Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt
Lovorka Jonic Kapnias
The Institute of European Law (Institutet för europeisk rätt), Stockholm University