Unalterable constitutional principles – the core of constitution – and the role of constitutional courts in protection thereof discussed at XVII Congress of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts
From 28 June to 1 July President of the Constitutional Court Ineta Ziemele and her advisor Laila Jurcēna participated in XVII Congress of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts, held in Batumi, Georgia. During the Congress representatives of European constitutional courts discussed the role of constitutional courts in safeguarding and application of general principles of law, as well as unalterable norms of constitution and constitutional review of amendments to a constitution.
Both the current case law and legal science show that constitutional courts review not only the procedure for amending a constitution, but also the content thereof. The theory of constitutional core, i.e., of unalterable norms and principles, has already become consolidated in the case law of constitutional courts in many democratic states. Thus, participants of the Congress focused also upon the issue of hierarchy of general legal principles and values. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia in the so-called Lisbon Treaty Case (2008-35-01) pointed to values, the safeguarding of which is the obligation of the State and that could not be infringed upon by amendments to the Satversme introduced only by a law.
Ineta Ziemele gave a presentation at the Congress on the role of the Latvian Constitutional Court in safeguarding and application of constitutional principles. In her presentation she spoke about the significant role of the Constitutional Court in the transformation of Latvia’s legal system following restoration of independence. Ineta Ziemele examined, inter alia, two important general principles of law: the principle of state’s continuity and the principle of superiority of international law. Ineta Ziemele, touching upon historical aspects, among them, the fact that Latvia was illegally occupied, concluded that there were no legal means for altering the fundamental values of Latvia’s constitutional identity – the core of the Satversme.
Ineta Ziemele’s presentation given at the Congress on the role of the Latvian constitutional court in safeguarding and application of general principles of law is available [in English] here.