"Separation of Powers and Independence of Constitutional Courts and
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 16-18 January 2011
eight Constitutional Courts, Constitutional Councils and Supreme Courts as well as
the 10 regional and linguistic groups of courts from Africa, the Americas,
Asia and Europe gathered for the 2nd Congress of the World Conference on
Constitutional Justice on the "Separation of Powers and Independence of
Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Bodies" hosted by the Federal Supreme
Court of Brazil in co-operation with the Venice Commission (Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil, 16-18 January 2011).
The Congress gave the Courts the opportunity to discuss issues relating to their independence in their relations with other state powers,
especially on pressure from the executive or the legislative but also at
times also from the media.
The purpose of the Congress was to enable judges to draw inspiration for such situations from their peers in other countries, especially at a time
when constitutional justice in danger in a number of
countries. Reference to similar cases in other countries can give an added
legitimacy to a judgement. This can be crucial in cases where a judge
expects the decision to be disliked by the other state powers. Discussions
among judges may provide the moral support necessary to remain faithful to
the Constitution even in difficult situations.
The discussions focused on the independence of the constitutional court or
equivalent body as an institution, the constitutional independence of
individual judges and operating procedures of courts as a means to guarantee
their independence. The discussions revealed that these aspects are closely
Link to key-note speech.
The participants also discussed a draft Statute for the
World Conference as a permanent body.