First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Economics and Political Science
Course unit
EPP5070010, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
EP1980, Degree course structure A.Y. 2013/14, A.Y. 2019/20
bring this page
with you
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Department of reference Department of Political Science, Law, and International Studies
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit CANNOT be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit is available ONLY for students enrolled in HUMAN RIGHTS AND MULTI-LEVEL GOVERNANCE

Teacher in charge SARA PENNICINO IUS/21

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines IUS/21 Comparative Public Law 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 45 105.0 No turn

Start of activities 23/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2013 course timetable

Examination board
Examination board not defined

Target skills and knowledge: Bridging the gap between comparative politics and comparative constitutional law, the course examines the nature of constitutional development and democratization in developing states using case studies drawn from different parts of the world.
The course's objectives include:
a)introducing students to ongoing research on central aspects of constitutional development
b)encouraging students'active participation and independent thinking engaging with the issues
c) train students to engage with the main theoretical perspectives relevant to understand the dilemmas involved in securing the rule of law and checks and balances between the executive, the legislator and the courts.
e)students will be familiar with foundational notions regarding: constitution-making and constitutional amendment; federalism, regionalism and devolution; electoral laws and electoral justice; the role and functions of constitutional and supreme courts.
Examination methods: Students’ preparation will be assessed through a written exam composed of both a conceptual analysis and a practical exercise reflecting on issues presented and discussed in class.

Class attendance is not mandatory. Accordingly, attending and non attending students will take the SAME exam.
However, it should be noted that attending students' performance in the test will highly benefit from the participation in role plays and case study based exercises carried out in class.
Assessment criteria: The final exam aims at assessing:
1)students’ ability to demonstrate knowledge of applicable conceptual frameworks
2) students’ critical analysis and argumentation on topical issues with reference to real life scenarios
Course unit contents: Week 1 Presentation of the goals and scope of the course Bridging the gap between comparative politics and comparative constitutional law; introduction to key concepts and definition of the legal approach to democratisation.
Self assessment test on basic concepts relevant to Constitutional law
Opening debate: Q1 "The spread of general principles of human rights and constitutional, representative government based on the rule of law: spurs for development or desirable outcomes of development?" Q2 "Cultural specificity and Constitutional law: are regionally-adapted versions of constitutionalism a viable solution?"

Week 2 Domestic and External Factors in Transitions towards Democracy – Part 1
Constitution-Making and Constitutional Amendment Processes

Week 3 Domestic and External Factors in Transitions towards Democracy – Part 2
Transition through Elections (electoral assistance; electoral observation; political rights protection and international standards; electoral laws; electoral justice; electoral management bodies; elections in post conflict societies; electoral violence)

Week 4 Institutional Framework and Transitions Towards Democracy
Illiberal, fragile and unstable democracies: forms of State and forms of Government under stress; State and religion in more recently adopted Constitutions; parliamentary or presidential? Is there a preferable type of executive to foster democratic longevity?

Week 5 Democratisation and Countermajoritarian Institutions
Judicial review and Constitutional adjudication; systems of constitutional adjudication in new democracies: structural and functional approach

Week 6 Society and Economic Transition
Democratisation, inequality and the Constitution: (transition toward a) market based economy, enforcement of social and economic rights and poverty as a constitutional challenge; gender and the Constitution

Week 7 Ethnic Conflict and Federal Structure
Territorial arrangements and conflict resolution; integration or accomodation?; minority rights and the Constitution.

Week 8 Lessons Learned
Selected students’ presentations on assigned case studies
Final discussion: Is there an ideal constitutional framework for Countries transitioning towards democracy?
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Regular class attendance is strongly recommended. The course will consist of lectures, discussions, case studies, and student-led presentations. In all areas, the active participation of students is considered an essential element of teaching, learning and assessment.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Indications on study materials for each part of the course specific readings will be provided in due time. All information on the references to the study materials can be found on MA elearning platform.

NOTE THAT: with regard to the exam, study material for non attending students consist of the material available on the MA elearning platform. In addition to the study material available on moodle, two books (see below) are listed below to help students (attending and non) to prepare for the exam.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Rosenfeld, Michel; Sajó, Andras, The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Tushnet, Mark;, Advanced Introduction to Comparative Constitutional Law. --: Elgar Publishing, 2014. Cerca nel catalogo
  • --, --. Oxford: --, 2012.

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Case study
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Working in group
  • Problem solving
  • Peer feedback

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities Climate Action Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions