Call for Papers for the Workshop on Constitutional Interpretation in Emergencies in Europe

Call for Papers

for the Workshop on Constitutional Interpretation in Emergencies in Europe

Florence, Badia Fiesolana, June 24-25, 2024



The workshop is organized as part of the project on Constitutional Interpretation in Emergencies in Europe (CINEM) and is supported by the Widening Programme of the European University Institute, Florence, the HUN-REN Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies, Budapest, and the Research Group on Constitutional Interpretation of the International Association of Constitutional Law. This EUI Widening Programme initiative, backed by contributions from the European Union and EUI Contracting States, is designed to strengthen internationalisation, competitiveness, and quality in research in the so-called Widening countries, and thus foster a more cohesive European Higher Education and Research area. The Principal Investigators of the framework project are Gráinne de Búrca, Professor of Law at the European University Institute, Florence; Fruzsina Gárdos-Orosz, Research Professor, Institute for Legal Studies, HUN-REN Centre for Social Sciences and Professor of Law, ELTE Law School, and Zoltán Szente, Fernand Braudel Fellow, European University Institute and Research Professor, Institute for Legal Studies, HUN-REN Centre for Social Sciences.


The aim of the workshop is to examine how emergencies impact the methodology and practice of constitutional interpretation in Europe.

There has been a vast and growing literature over the last two decades on the legal theory of emergencies, regulatory regimes, and the scientific assessment of exceptional powers and rights-restrictions. However, less attention has been paid to the constitutional review of emergency legislation, despite the fact that the issue has been raised time and time again from Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2 (1866) to Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), from A v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] UKHL (the Belmarsh case) to the “COVID-19 case law” of the European Court of Human Rights. The primary reason for this scholarly gap may be that (constitutional) courts have traditionally been deferential to the executive in dealing with a crisis in times of emergency, and, since judicial review usually reacts to legal challenges with some delay and after the events, it is difficult to access the relatively limited information needed for normative assessment or even for broader comparative analysis.

The purpose of the planned workshop and research is to fill this gap, based on the fact that there have already been several analyses of the constitutional review of the law-making of the previous crises, and several databases have been created in the meantime on the jurisprudence related to the pandemic.  But have the traditional methods of constitutional interpretation changed? Do courts apply different standards in constitutional review in emergency situations? 

We are expecting proposals that discuss these and related considerations. Is constitutional review limited in times of emergency? What emergency legislation has been subject to constitutional review? Does the constitutional court (or any other higher court empowered to constitutional review) apply different interpretative methods or standards when reviewing emergency legislation? What are the constitutionality yardsticks (tests) for the derogation of fundamental rights in judicial review?


The abstract of the proposed presentation, not exceeding 500 words, should be sent to or until 31 March 2024. Applicants will be notified by 30 April 2024. There is no registration fee, the project covers the accommodation costs and meals of the selected participants, and the participants may apply for complementary travel funds.

Important dates

31 March, 2024: Deadline for application

30 April, 2024: Notification of admitted proposals

24-25 June, 2024: Workshop in Florence