Friday 25 September 2020 saw Prof. Dr. baron André Alen, the former President of the Belgian Constitutional Court, reach emeritus status. Linked to this occasion a book in his honour appeared under the title Semper Perseverans: Liber amicorum André Alen. In this blog series we give central stage to a number of the book’s contributors. In this post Dr. David Haljan considers constitutional gaps and the way (not without peril) in which one such gap on its own functioning was filled by Canada’s Supreme Court.
Reanimating moribund democracies with the tools of direct democracy and injections of citizen participation is not without its risks. The flip-side to lauding deliberative and direct democracy is decrying the abuses and dangers of populism. Chief among the risks is a real divergence between the will of the majority and the established constitutional ideology. Assume an orderly national referendum produces a democratic majority in favour of legislation having “illiberal” effects. A free and democratic society has directly expressed its will through a free and open vote. Could such referendum backing immunise legislation from constitutional review? Continue reading “The “instrument of future mischief”: Constitutionalism, Democracy, the People? A foretaste of the Democratic Renewal Conference”