Democracy, Rule of Law, Constitutional Identity

"I never imagined myself at Budapest, but fortunately I could take part in the Summer School at PPCU with lovely staff and professors! I am so sad that it is over now, it was worth participating."

Academic Content

Democracy, Rule of Law, Constitutional Identity

Schedule: 12 lecture days with 4-5 lecture hours per day. In addition to the 48-60 hours of lectures, there will 3-4 hours per day of reading exercises and a discussion/consultation at the end of the day. So, the reading and discussion time adds another 36-48 hours. In total, participants should expect the programme to be approximately 96 hours in 12 days.

How we met


  • What is democracy good for?

    Day 1: Roots of democracy. Theoretical considerations. Democracy in the history of Europe and of the United States. Democratic transitions in post-socialist countries

    Day 2: Democracy and separation of powers.

    Day 3: Democratic decision-making. What are the issues that can be decided by majority? “Will of the People” and elected governments. The role of constitutions

    Day 4: Non-majoritarian entities. The role of constitutional adjudication. Pros and cons about activism


    Download Syllabus

    Lóránt Csink (PPCU)
  • The understanding of the rule of law

    Day 1: Venice Commission standards concerning rule of law. The core formal and substantive elements of the Rule of Law (the Rechtsstaat and the Etat de droit).  

    Day 2: Threats to the Rule of Law.

    Day 3: Populist constitutionalism. What is populism? How populism affects day-to-day politics.

    Day 4: Illiberal constitutionalism. What is liberal and illiberal constitutionalism? The international and supranational reaction. The capture of judiciary. Formal application of the rule of law.

    Agnieszka Bień-Kacała (UMK/NCU, Toruń, Poland)
  • Identity, society and human dignity

    Day 1: Identity and Human Dignity. What is the role of the person, as individual? How do considerations of human dignity inform the treatment of individuals and groups at law? How is a person connected to other groups – and should those groups be recognized by the state? Does this vary by state/country/constitution, or are there rights of individuals and groups that are inherent?

    Day 2: How are constitutions and other laws connected to identity? What must be common to constitutions and how are they different because of their connection to local identity and culture?

    Day 3: History of religious rights in Western thought

    Day 4: Rise of religious liberty in the United States and current status there. Core focus on principles of religious equality, liberty of conscience, free exercise, religious pluralism, no establishment of religion, separation of church and state. Comparison with religious liberty in Europe

    Joel Nichols (St Thomas University, Minneapolis, USA)
  • Constitutionalism a la Latino Americana

    Day 1: Where and what is Latin America? Historical and cultural considerations. The importance of a common language and religion in the shaping of Latin America and its constitutional tradition. Special features of the rule of law in the Latin American tradition

    Day 2: Present trends in Latin American constitutionalism and their influence in global constitutionalism.

    Day 3: Dialogue, criticism and disagreement in the quest for the best constitutional design. Takeaways from the

    Day 4: The theory in action: the estate of the art in economic, social and cultural rights in Latin America.

    Pier Paolo Pigozzi (USFQ, Quito, Ecuador)
  • The challenge of identity

    Day 1: Universal values vs. identities and concurring cultures

    Day 2: Human rights as civil religion? Protection mechanism and their limits

    Day 3: Models for relations of religion and the state

    Day 4: The notion of cultural identity. Beyond history and faith or derived from them?

    Balázs Schanda (PPCU)
  • Constitutional courts: guardians of identity

    Day 1: Courts in the focus of interest

    Day 2: National or constitutional identity? Rule of law as role of law

    Day 3: Courts judgments on “common European tradition” and on national/constitutional identity

    Day 4: Constitutional courts as developers of balance

    András Zs. Varga (PPCU)

Schedule download (pdf)

Preparing for the future


Participants will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation at the Summer School. Courses will be evaluated in accordance with PPCU’s academic rules (1-5 grades). A diploma will be issued for those who stay for the full programme and successfully fulfil the course requirements.

Depending upon your host institution, academic credit may also be earned for successful completion and participation.