The major international conference of the legal field in the year of Latvia’s centenary on the role of courts in the globalised world has concluded
Friday, 25 May, was the final day of the international conference, held by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia, “The Role of the Constitutional Courts in the Globalised World of the 21st Century”. On this day, a round-table discussion was held, which was moderated by the President of the Constitutional Court Ineta Ziemele. The participants of the Conference shared their opinions and actively engaged in discussions on matters of law highlighted during the first day of the Conference, underscoring that the constitutional courts in the contemporary conditions of globalisation, which do not, however, change the nature of the states, have a particularly important role in ensuring a balance in the plural legal space.
Issues pertaining to the relationships between the national legal system, the legal system of the European Union (hereinafter – the EU) and the system of international law and the possible conflicts between the legal norms included in these systems were examined during the discussions. A number of participants in the discussions were of the same opinion, i.e., that, notwithstanding the supremacy principles that exist in legal systems, these legal system share the same basic goal – strengthening the rule of law and ensuring protection for human rights.
An opinion was expressed during the discussions that, perhaps, these legal systems should change their perspective from the hierarchic approach to the heterarchic approach, which allows taking into consideration aspects of each country’s traditions of constitutional law and constitutional identity. Melloni case, which has caused and continues to cause extensive discussions between (hereinafter – CJEU), was mentioned a number of times. This case raises the question, whether in a situation, where the traditions of the constitutional court provide for a higher standard of human rights protection, it could happen that the system of the EU law would demand lowering this standard.
Ineta Ziemele drew the attention of those present to the fact that, due to the impact of globalisation, the constitutional courts had also the dimensions of the European and the global level, therefore the dialogue between the constitutional courts, CJEU and the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter – ECHR) was of particular importance. She noted that until now CJEU and ECHR had taken a general view of the case law of the European constitutional courts and that it should be facilitated in the future. Likewise, Ineta Ziemele recognised that the judicial dialogue was necessary in the age of globalisation, since this created a common understanding of the interpretation and application of legal norms, thus consolidating the existence of a united European legal space. This is of particular importance in matters related to the protection of fundamental rights.
The conclusion of the discussion focused upon the fact that the constitutional courts, in their turn, should use the European and the international law as a support mechanism for the constitutional courts.
The invited foreign guest from 24 countries, among others, Italy, Germany and Spain participated in the round- table discussions. Scholars and experts of law and the invited guests from the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Human Rights, and officials from the institutions of the Council of Europe, as well as Justices and employees of the Constitutional Court, Latvian scholars and experts of law also took part in the discussion.
The video recording of the first day of the conference is available here:
The video recording of the round-table discussion is available here:
 Judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union, 26 February 2013, Case C-399/11, Stefano Melloni v. Ministerio Fiscal.
Judgement in this case in English is available here:
Press release on this case in English is available here: