Workshop: "Regional and Constitutional Structures in Tension Network"

8-12 January 2018

In January 2018, Tom Gerald Daly, one of the Co-Convenors of the Constitution Transformation Network, attended a week of workshops for the Regional and Constitutional Structures in Tension (RCST) Network. The Network is an international research collaboration aimed at examining how regional organizations increasingly transform the constitutional space of their member states.

The aims of the RCST Network include (but are not limited to) moving away from the EU-centric nature of the existing literature, and developing a deeper understanding of the impact of regional integration processes through a theoretical and empirical research agenda that explores and interrogates possible tensions and channels of interactions between regional organisations and constitutional law. The starting point of the analysis is that the tensions between the national and regional structures are an inherent and necessary occurrence in the process of regional integration. In fact, constitutional practices at the regional level are shaped by and dependent upon the state of constitutionalism at the national level.

The RCST "Workshop Week" was hosted by the University of São Paulo Faculty of Law with funding from the Denmark-Brazil International Network Programme. A number of participants were affiliated to the Centre of Excellence for International Courts (iCourts), including Tom, who spent an 8-month research stay at the Centre in 2016. Workshops included innovative brainstorming exercises to identify potential research topics to explore, visits to key organisations (e.g. the leading human rights advocacy NGO Conectas), and a series of presentations by Brazilian and visiting scholars on the overarching theme of tensions between regional and constitutional legal structures.

Tom presented a draft paper (with co-participant Micha Wiebusch) on resistance against the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, while other presentations focused on topics including the development of regional integration organisations in Latin America, the developing doctrines of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, and application of the democracy clause in MERCOSUR.