Comparative Analysis of the National Constitutional Mechanisms of Human Rights Protection

Course outline 

A common feature of constitutional democracies is the existence of national constitutional mechanisms for protecting human rights. The constitutional solutions, however, may differ significantly due to legal traditions and political circumstances. In its introductory part the course will examine the main contemporary constitutional principles relating to institutional protection of human rights (e.g. separation of power, rule of law, majoritarian premise and its limits, the counter-majoritarian difficulty, judicial independence). The course will give an overall assessment of different models of judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms (USA constitutional review on federal and state level, the Kelsenian model, the French Constitutional Council, the new Supreme Court in the United Kingdom, the solutions of the Visegrad countries and other nations in transit.) The course touches upon the specific constitutional roles and models of ombudsperson in European countries. Finally, the course examines the relationship between national mechanisms of human rights protection and international human rights institutions, most importantly the impact of the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights on the national government and judiciary.


The main objective of the course is to enable the participants to get a proper view on the common and divergent elements of the human rights protection in constitutional democracies (analytical skills). Moreover, the course aims to give the means to the participants to develop their comparative and evaluative skills concerning national human rights mechanisms (critical skills). With the help of text reading and case studies, students will be able to identify and solve conflicts of competence and procedural problems in legal decision-making. These are skills of high importance in legal theory and practice.


  • Norman Dorsen, Michel Rosenfeld, András Sajó, Susanne Baer, Comparative Constitutionalism, Cases and Materials; West Publishing, 2010, 2nd edition, 139-173 ISBN 978-0-314-17946-3


  • Victor Ferreres Comella, Constitutional Courts and Democratic Values: A European Perspective; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. ISBN 9780300148671
  • Kevin Boyle (ed.), New Institutions for Human Rights Protection; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-957054-6
  • Gabriele Kocsko-Stadlmayer (ed.), European Ombusman Institutions: A Comparative Legal Analysis Regarding the Multifaceted Realisation; New York, Wien: Springer, 2008. ISBN 978- 3211728802
  • Paul Blokker, New Democracies in Crisis? A comparative constitutional study of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia; London, New York: Routledge, 2013. ISBN 978-0-415-69586-2
  • Wojciech Sadurski, Rights Before Courts: A Study of Constitutional Courts in Postcommunist States of Central and Eastern Europe; Springer, 2007, ISBN 978-1402069826


Nóra Chronowski