Introduction: IACL Research Group on Subnational Constitutions in Federal and Quasi-Federal States

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Introduction: IACL Research Group on Subnational Constitutions in Federal and Quasi-Federal States

Robert F. Williams

I am very pleased to launch the discussion on this new Blog for the International Association of Constitutional Law’s (IACL) Research Group on Subnational Constitutions In Federal and Quasi-Federal Constitutional States.  This Research Group has its origins in the leadup to the IACL’s 2007 World Congress in Athens, Greece.  The then-IACL President, Cheryl Saunders of Australia, approved a proposal made by Alan Tarr and me on behalf of our Center for State Constitutional Studies to present a workshop on subnational constitutions at the World Congress.  We organized that workshop, and it was a great success with over fifty attendees, and very good papers, many of which were published.  Based on the success of our workshop and several others, the IACL leadership moved formally to establish ours together with a number of other Research Groups.  I became the Convenor of our research group.  

We planned another, more official, workshop at the 2010 IACL World Congress in Mexico City.  That workshop was also very well attended, and again, a number of the papers were published.  After the 2010 World Congress our research group was able to develop some activities such as sharing bibliographies, collaborating on publications, and developing a more formal structure.  

In preparation for the 2014 World Congress in Oslo, Norway I requested assistance from Giacomo Delledonne in organizing our workshop in Oslo.  He was extremely helpful, and that workshop was even more successful than the two earlier ones.  We are now in the process of planning for our workshop at the 2018 World Congress in Seoul, Korea.  At the Oslo conference we transferred leadership of the Research Group from me to Professor Patricia Popelier of the University of Antwerp, Belgium as convenor, and Dr. Giacomo Delledonne of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy as Co-convenor.

We believe that the activities of the Research Group over the past ten years have made a significant advancement of this important subcategory of comparative constitutional law.  Our efforts were met with very substantial interest from virtually all federal countries, and the work of the members of the Research Group has contributed substantially to the development of a literature on comparative subnational constitutional law.  There is a good deal of information on our Research Group home page. In the run-up to the next IACL World Congress, there are a number of relevant issues in this area of constitutional law, as developments in US federalism and secession crises in Spain, Belgium and the UK have clearly shown.

Robert Williams is a  Distinguished Professor of Law, Rutgers University School of Law, Camden New Jersey.