ARC Laureate Program on
Balancing Diversity and Social Cohesion in Democratic Constitutions
Balancing Diversity and Social Cohesion in Democratic Constitutions aims to address the need to reconcile the tensions between the pursuit of diversity and the promotion of social cohesion. This critical problem becomes increasingly urgent as nations grapple with the challenges of highly diverse multi-cultural societies.
Professor Adrienne Stone, Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellow, will assemble a new interdisciplinary research team comprising leading scholars in law, world-class early career researchers, and innovative practitioners to enhance the capacity of comparative constitutional law, and enhance their skillset.
The team of researchers shall draw on the experience of constitutionalism throughout the world to investigate how Constitutions, in their design and in their application, can unify while nurturing the diversity appropriate for a complex, modern society. Markers for the project are to understand how best to balance the pursuit of diversity and social cohesion in constitutional democracies, to provide guidance to established and emerging constitutional orders, and to develop the methodological foundations of comparative constitutional law. Results from the project are intended to help governments, judiciaries and the public to resolve intense controversies over ideals.
The Laureate Program will include opportunities for collaboration, debate and information sharing through conferences, round tables and visiting fellowships. The Laureate Visiting Fellowships in Comparative Constitutional is supported by the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Fellowship Scheme and funded by the Australian Research Council, annually from 2016 – 2021.
ARC Laureate Fellow
Professor Adrienne Stone
Adrienne Stone holds a Chair at Melbourne Law School where she is also a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellow, a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies. She researches in the areas of constitutional law and constitutional theory and holds an Australia Laureate Fellowship (2017-2021).
She has published widely in international journals including in theVienna Journal on International Constitutional Law; International Journal of Constitutional Law, Constitutional Commentary, the Toronto Law Journal and in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. With Cheryl Saunders AO she is editor of the Oxford Handbook on the Australian Constitution and with Frederick Schauer, she is editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Freedom of Speech.
She is the President of the International Association of Constitutional Law and is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and Australian Academy of Law. Through the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies she is extensively engaged with government and non-governmental organisations on constitutional questions including freedom of speech, constitutional recognition of Indigenous Peoples, and bills of rights.
She has held visiting positions in the United States, Canada and France. She delivered papers and lectures by invitation at many universities in Australia, North America, Europe and Asia.
Dr Erika Arban
Dr. Erika Arban is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law. Her research interests include comparative federalism, comparative constitutional law and legal research methodology. She also lectures in Comparative Federalism at the University of Antwerp (Belgium). Erika is co-editor of the Blog of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) and she is the co-convenor of the new IACL research group New Frontiers of Federalism. Erika received her PhD at the University of Ottawa (Canada), where her doctoral thesis “Italian Regionalism and the Federal Challenge” was awarded the Governor General Gold Medal for the best thesis in the Humanities. She also holds a LLM from the University of Arizona (USA) and a Bachelor in Law from the University of Trieste (Italy). Before joining the Melbourne Law School, Erika was a lecturer (part-time) at the University of Ottawa.
Dr Dinesha Samararatne
Dr. Dinesha Samararatne is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law. Her recent research work has been in relation to public participation in constitution-making, judicial enforcement of economic and social rights, judicial interpretation of fundamental rights, the influence of Indian public law in the development of public law in Sri Lanka and access to justice. During her Postdoctoral Fellowship Dinesha will focus on constitution-making in post-war contexts. For the period of the Fellowship, Dinesha is on sabbatical leave from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka where she has been serving as a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Public & International Law at the Faculty of Law. At the University of Colombo, Dinesha has been teaching Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Human Rights Law. Dinesha is a LLB graduate from the University of Colombo and an Attorney-at-Law. She read for her Master’s degree as a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Law School, MA, USA and she completed her doctoral studies at the University of Colombo. Dinesha has previously been affiliated with the Laureate Program as a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellow (April – May 2018)
Senior Research Associate
Dr Stijn Smet
Stijn Smet is Assistant Professor of Constitutional Law at Hasselt University and Senior Research Associate to the Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law at Melbourne Law School. Stijn holds a PhD in Law from Ghent University. Prior to joining Hasselt University, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Melbourne Law School (March 2017 – August 2018) and at Ghent University (October 2014 – February 2017). At Hasselt University, Stijn teaches Constitutional Law, Public Law, Legal Protection against the Government, and Law and Power (the first three in Dutch). His primary research expertise is in comparative constitutional law, with a focus on religious freedom, and in human rights law, a focus on conflicts of rights. Stijn is particularly interested in the role of tolerance in law, both generally and in relation to religious freedom specifically. He is the author of Resolving Conflicts between Human Rights: The Judge’s Dilemma (Routledge, 2017 (hardcover) and 2018 (paperback)) and co-editor of When Human Rights Clash at the European Court of Human Rights: Conflict or Harmony? (OUP, 2017). Stijn has published among others in Human Rights Law Review, American University International Law Review, Journal of Media Law and Religion & Human Rights. His work has been cited by the European Court of Human Rights (in separate opinions).
Mr Darshan Datar
Darshan Datar is a doctoral candidate with the Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law. He holds two LL.M degrees from the Central European University, Budapest in Comparative Constitutional Law (2015-16) and the European University Institute (2017-18). His research is focused on the concept of religion followed by constitutional courts. His other research interests include theoretical accounts of secularism and constitutionalism.
Ms Toerien van Wyk
Toerien van Wyk is a doctoral candidate in the ARC Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law. Her interests are in comparative constitutional law, human rights and information law. Before joining the project, she was the Co-Director of the South African History Archive, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting struggles for justice through the use of access to information laws and archival practice. Toerien holds a Master of Laws: Human Rights Law degree (LLM) (cum laude) and a Higher Diploma in International Taxation from the University of Johannesburg as well as a Baccalaureus Legum degree (LLB) from the University of South Africa. Toerien has experienced working in many facets of human rights law and has previously been employed as a legal consultant, a human rights researcher, and a law lecturer. Her research is in comparative constitutional law, with a focus on the protection and promotion of information flow. Her doctoral research explores international and African communally-centered understandings of access to information and freedom of expression. It considers how the flow of information, particularly between the state and residents of the state, ought to be given constitutional protection.
Gabrielle Dalsasso is the Program Manager for the Laureate Fellowship in Comparative Constitutional Law. Prior to joining Melbourne Law School, she has held senior administrative positions in corporate and not-for-profit organisations.
Supported by the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Fellowship Scheme
Funded by the Australian Research Council
2016 – 2021
The Laureate Visiting Fellowships in Constitutional Law offers outstanding female doctoral and female early career researchers the opportunity to participate in an intensive mentoring program relative to the Laureate Program with Professor Adrienne Stone, ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellow, for up to two months; and includes involvement in events, workshops, and conferences.
Funding support is available towards the costs of travel to, and accommodation in, Melbourne. The amount will be allocated on a case by case basis. As such, applicants should consider the cost implication before applying, as there may be out-of-pocket expenses not covered by the Fellowship. Visiting fellows from outside Australia are responsible for obtaining and funding any necessary visas.
The Laureate Visiting Fellowships in Comparative Constitutional is supported by the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Fellowship Scheme and funded by the Australian Research Council, annually from 2016 – 2021.
Applications for 2020 have closed.
Call for Papers
Workshop on "Federalism and socio-economic inequalities"
Wednesday 13 May 2020
Melbourne Law School
Federalism is considered one of the most promising constitutional mechanisms to help deal with the challenges posed by the process of globalization and increasing inequality, in addition to being an extraordinary tool for dealing with various forms of diversity (ethnic, religious, linguistic, etc.)
To this end, the purpose of this workshop is to gather scholars from around the world and engage in a broad discussion about the new challenges and potentials of federalism in dealing with the most pressing issues of our contemporary time.
Therefore, applications are invited from scholars wishing to submit a paper exploring one of the following major themes:
- The study of the role of local government and cities as new key players in the management of public services and natural resources and in the protection of rights. Today, cities are key players in current globalization processes, and often they are at the forefront of rights protection, experimenting with new ways of governance. Cities are also actors of constitutional relevance: in particular, the phenomenon of so called “big-cities” is worth studying from a constitutional and comparative perspective within federal theory.
- How federalism-based mechanisms can provide answers to the socio-economic pressures that have emerged particularly in the Global South. In other words, how can federal constitutions balance their unifying role while fostering economic diversity? Likewise, can federalism be regarded as a proper institutional and constitutional mechanism to reconcile social cohesion and economic diversity in territories marked by a sharp divide between wealthier developed regions and poorer less advanced territories?
- The role of federalism as a tool to deal with the growing complexity of a multilevel constitutional space and the new challenges posed by economic crisis, large-scale human migration and the globalization of constitutional systems. Here, the focus is not only on traditional federal systems, but also on regional and supra-national contexts.
Successful applications will be required to attend the workshop and to submit a paper of 8,000 – 10,000 words for discussion. Further, the paper must not have been published. Papers must be submitted by 20 April 2020. It is anticipated that there will be 15-25 workshop attendees.
To apply, submit the following:
- An abstract of no more than 750 words. In the abstract head your paper with the theme you have chosen among the three provided above.
- A current curriculum vitae.
- In the subject line of the email submission write “Federalism and Socio - Economic Inequalities” and add your name.
Email your inquiries and applications to the workshop Chair, Dr Erika Arban by 15 December 2019.
Please note that accepted participants will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses.
This workshop is an initiative of the Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law and co-convened by Dr. Erika Arban and Dr. Antonia Baraggia (Department of National and Supranational Public Law, University of Milan, Italy). The Laureate Program is funded by the Australian Research Council for 2017-2022 and based at Melbourne Law School, which is also home to a large group of comparative constitutional law scholars working at the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at the University of Melbourne.
Application submission due date: 15 December 2019
Notification of acceptance: 14 January 2020
Paper submission due date: 19 April 2020
Workshop date: 13 May 2020