Merris Amos: Report from the International Association of Constitutional Law

For those of you who are not familiar with the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) since its foundation in 1981 it has evolved into a diverse and dynamic group of constitutional law scholars from around the world led by new President, Professor Adrienne Stone from the University of Melbourne. The UKCLA has always had a close association with the IACL and in fact was created in part to support the work of Professor Anthony Bradley as the UK member of the IACL executive committee. Professor Dawn Oliver succeeded Anthony, then Professor Andrew Le Sueur (2010-2018). In June 2018 I took over from Andrew and having just attended my first executive committee meeting in Delhi, the purpose of this post is to give you a brief insight into the future plans and activities of the IACL.

With many thanks to Andrew, the IACL now has a solid online presence. You can follow it on Twitter @iacl_aidc and many of you will be familiar with the excellent IACL blog which was relaunched in Seoul earlier this year. In addition, the IACL organises two roundtables per year and increasing efforts are being made to involve young scholars. The next roundtable will be in New York from 31 March-1 April 2019 with the title: ‘A Passion for Civil Liberties: Building on the Legacy of Norman Dorsen’. There is a call for papers, open until 3 December 2018, for PhD students and young scholars on the theme ‘contemporary issues and challenges relating to fundamental rights protection’. I imagine there will be no shortage of topics to discuss.

Flowing from the World Congress in Seoul earlier this year, five new research groups have just been approved: free speech; gender and constitutions; algorithmic states; exclusion/inclusion from state membership; and rule of law traditions. Whilst under the umbrella of the IACL, these groups operate independently and conduct research, publishing findings and organise seminars and other events. Also arising from the last World Congress, the IACL will host a junior scholars form in Singapore in 2020 with the IACL sponsoring 12 stipends for junior scholars from the Global South. You can find further details on the blog and the website once these are published.

Finally, for those who like to plan ahead, the roundtable following New York will be held in Cusco, Peru from 31 October – 2 November 2019 on the theme of ‘Constitutional Challenges of 21st Century Migration Processes’ and the 11th World Congress will be held in Johannesburg from 5-9 December 2022. Keep an eye out for further details.

My first experience of the IACL was participating in a conference organised by the Constitutional Responses to Terrorism research group held in Sydney in 2012. I was impressed by the truly global nature of the association with participants from all over the world contributing papers and discussion. I also took part in the Oslo World Congress in 2014 and the Seoul World Congress in 2018 where again the diversity of participants was really impressive. As I have just discovered again, having attended the roundtable in Delhi on judicial appointments and independence, to really understand other constitutional traditions there is no substitute for being on the ground and meeting fellow constitutional law scholars.

I hope to be able to live up to the high standard set by Andrew. I was told by many at the conclusion of the Delhi Roundtable that they were pleased I ‘seemed okay’ as they all missed Andrew and couldn’t imagine his replacement. My current task, along with fellow executive committee member Zaid Al Ali, is to re-model the website and, on a personal note, to improve my French – à bientôt!

Merris Amos, Professor of Human Rights Law, Queen Mary University of London, treasurer of the UKCLA and member of the IACL executive committee

(Suggested title: M. Amos, ‘Report from the International Association of Constitutional Law’, U.K. Const. L. Blog (9th Nov. 2018) (available at