Influential Constitutional Justice: its influence on society

and on developing a global human rights jurisprudence


World Conference on Constitutional Justice

Cape Town, 23 24 January 2009


organised by

the Constitutional Court of South Africa


the Venice Commission


Lists of sub-topics which could be discussed



A.      The influence of constitutional justice on society


1.       Have there been cases where a judgment of your Court / Council (hereinafter Court) has made a major impact on society? Please give examples.

2.       What was the reaction of political actors, the media, and the public in general to these judgments? Has there been pressure on your Court?

3.       Does your Constitution contain social and economic rights and if so how does your Court apply them?

4.       Does your Court consider the impact its judgments may have?

5.       Has your Court tried to limit the effects of its judgments on society when they might be too serious?

6.       Do you think that some judgments of your Court shape society or rather do they follow existing developments in society?

7.       Are there any obstacles to guaranteeing the supremacy of the Constitution / rule of law in your country?


B.      The development of a global human rights jurisprudence


1.       Does your Court refer in its judgments to international (including regional) human rights instruments?

2.       Are such instruments binding for your Court, i.e. are they applied as a standard of control alongside with your Constitution?

3.       Does your Court refer to the case-law of international courts when interpreting international human rights instruments?

4.       Is there a global / regional human rights jurisprudence because of the influence of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international instruments?

5.       Does your Court research into foreign case-law? How is this research done, how are the cases selected?

6.       Does your Court refer to foreign case-law in its judgments? If so, how are such references being perceived? Is there a discussion about such references in your country?

7.       Do you think that the case-law - at least of some - constitutional courts and equivalent bodies shows a tendency to converge?