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Twenty Years after the Transition: Constitutional Review in Central and Eastern Europe

38 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2009  

Wojciech Sadurski

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: July 23, 2009


After the historical transitions to democracy of (and immediately after) 1989, constitutional courts in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) established themselves as strong political players, especially in those countries where democracy became more robust and stable. Contrary to a well-known theory that the sources of the strength of judicial review lie in their usefulness in clarifying the rules of separation of powers, in CEE rights adjudication from the very beginning was at the center of constitutional courts activities. An important source of the activism of CEE constitutional courts was the context of post-communist transition which triggered the need for adjudicative bodies to often perform legislative functions, especially of filling the inevitable gaps in law. But the most important factor determining the political status of constitutional courts has been the political landscape in which the courts operate. Against these general assumptions, the paper draws a map of constitutional review system in CEE, twenty years after the democratic transition.

Keywords: Constitutional review, judicial review, constitutional courts, comparative constitutional law, human rights, separation of powers, Central and Eastern Europe, post-communism

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Sadurski, Wojciech, Twenty Years after the Transition: Constitutional Review in Central and Eastern Europe (July 23, 2009). Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/69. Available at SSRN:

Wojciech Sadurski (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

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