9h30-10h45 (IST 10:30-11:45) – Legal Reforms versus Democracy in Poland, Hungary & Turkey
Chair: Anna C. Zielinska
(University of Lorraine, Nancy, France)
Panel Speakers: Zoltán Fleck
(Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest), Eric Sales
(Université Montpellier, France), Anna Śledzińska-Simon
(University of Wrocław, Poland).
11h00-12h15 (IST 12:00-13:15) – Israeli Democracy without Constitution – some elements of Israeli Legal History and a look at the current issues
Chair: Michal Alberstein
(Bar-Ilan University, Israel);
Panel Speakers: Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov
(Bar-Ilan University, Israel), Ofra Bloch
(Tel Aviv University), David Enoch
(Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel )
12h15-13h00 (IST 13h15-14:00) – General discussion with inputs from Guillaume Tusseau
(Sciences Po Paris) & Natalie Davidson
(Tel Aviv University) – Human Rights, Rule of Law and the Fragility of Democracies.
Complete programme of the Intensive Doctoral Week at the Ecole de Droit at Sciences Po Paris: https://bit.ly/43hnq8s
Courts play a particularly important role in political transitions. In constitutional democracies, the judiciary is responsible for ensuring respect for the constitution, rights, and other democratic procedures. Thus, during the 1990s, judicial reforms were seen as a means of consolidating the democratic processes underway in several transition countries, particularly in Eastern Europe. These processes also included a renewal of political elites, a greater emphasis on collective action, and a set of reforms that would make Eastern European regimes more transparent and more effective in achieving the goals of democratization.
However, a turning point has been reached in recent years in countries as diverse as Brazil, Poland, and Hungary, in which law was produced against the rule of law, the spirit of democracy, and pluralism (see SDI 2019 and SDI 2022). Today, things are evolving in a way that is not very reassuring. In the 2010s, Hungary carried out a series of reforms aimed at diminishing the independence of checks and balances, particularly in the judiciary. In 2017, in Poland, the reform of the third estate drew protests from European institutions.
Today, Israel is dealing a major blow to its political system with one more attempt to diminish the power of judges. Thus, it is no longer abuses of the law, but new judicial reforms, sometimes at the constitutional level, that seem to be taking these countries in the opposite direction to that followed by many countries in the 1990s.
This SDI workshop aims to shed light on the issues at stake in the landmark judicial reforms of the last four decades when they were presented as consolidating the new democracies. This historical review seems necessary today, as the democratic rule of law has sometimes been seen as a definitive and non-negotiable stage of Western history.