20110482 - Comparative Constitutional Law and Digital Democracy

The course introduces the most relevant topics of comparative constitutional law through their historical contextualization and by addressing the problems of contemporary societies, with special attention to the intersection with digital revolution. The course aims t these objectives through the study of actual cases, in order to highlight the intersections between systems, their convergence and divergence.
scheda docente | materiale didattico


The course introduces some of the main topics in the field of comparative constitutional law and the intersections between constitutional law and the digital revolution, with a focus on the Western legal tradition and constitutional democracy. It is organized in four modules. Module I. on State, constitutionalism(s), constitutional democracy and beyond (Lessons 1-10) presents the historical trajectory of constitutionalism towards constitutional democracy as well as the Russian and Chinese counter-models. Module II. on Crosscutting issues of constitutional democracy (Lessons 11-16) presents some relevant issues for constitutional democracies, including constitutional safeguards, horizontal and vertical separation of powers, systems of government. Module III. on Fundamental rights and the digital revolution (Lessons 18-21) focuses on Dignity, Freedom of Expression, Equality and non-discrimination, Freedom of thought and religion and on the impact of new technologies on them. Module IV. on Perspectives on digital democracy and digital constitutionalism (Lessons 22-27) investigates form a more general perspective the main challenges of the digital revolution for constitutional democracies. Lessons 17 and 28 are devoted to students’ presentations and to the final test respectively. For a meaningful participation in classes, it is essential to go through the assigned readings

1. Friday 20 October 8-10
Comparative constitutional law, constitutionalism and the digital revolution | Course structure and practical info

2. Wednesday 25 October 14-16
State, Constitutionalism, rights: three traditions

3. Thursday 26 October 14-16
From liberal to constitutional democracy: values and principles

4. Friday 27 October 8-10
From liberal to constitutional democracy: society, economy, and history

5. Wednesday 1 November 14-16
The crisis of constitutional democracy

6. Thursday 2 November 14-16
Crisis of constitutional democracy: crisis of the State?

7. Wednesday 8 November 14-16
Beyond the Western legal tradition

8. Thursday 9 November 14-16
The State beyond the western legal tradition: Russia

9. Friday 10 November 8-10
The State beyond the western legal tradition: China

10. Friday 10 November 10-12
Guest lecture by Shu Zghang (Deakin Law School), Introduction to Chinese Law

11. Wednesday 15 November 14-16
Constitutional safeguards I: constitutional review

12. Thursday 16 November 14-16
Constitutional safeguards II: Amending the Constitution

13. Friday 17 November 8-10
Separation(s) of powers and the political question doctrine

14. Wednesday 22 November 14-16
Legislative-executive relations and systems of government: parliamentarism

15. Thursday 23 November 14-16
Legislative-executive relations and systems of government: presidentialism and semi-presidentialism

16. Friday 24 November 8-10
Federalizing processes and vertical separation of powers

17. Wednesday 29 November 14-16
Student presentations (20 minutes each)

18. Thursday 30 November 14-16
From rights to dignity

19. Friday 1 December 8-10
Freedom of Expression

20. Wednesday 6 December 14-16
Equality and non-discrimination

21. Thursday 7 December 14-16
Religious freedom - Guest lecture


22. Wednesday 13 December 14-16

23. Thursday 14 December 14-16

24. Friday 15 December 8-10
Guest lecture by Peng Guo - The digital and public power

25. Wednesday 20 December 14-16
The digital and private powers: regulating platforms

26. Thursday 21 December 14-16
Data sovereignty and digital constitutionalism

27. Friday 22 December 8-10
Digital constitutionalism in Europe and across the Atlantic

28. Friday 22 December 10-12
Written essay

Testi Adottati

A. Buratti, Westernm Constitutionalism, History, Institutions, Comparative Law, Springer, 2019
Readings will be listed in the syllabus and provided through the e-learning platform.

Bibliografia Di Riferimento

Jackson and Tushnet's Comparative Constitutional Law Buratti Western Constitutionalism G. De Gregorio, Digital Constitutionalism in Europe, CUP, 2022. H.-W. Micklitz, O. Oreste Pollicino, A. Reichman, A. Simoncini, G. Sartor, G. De Gregorio (eds.), Constitutional Challenges in the Algorithmic Society, CUP, 2022.

Modalità Erogazione

The course favours in-class discussion and the students’ involvement in classroom activities aiming at analyzing the problems discussed. It is mostly based on readings and other materials that are discussed in classrom. Attendance to the course is non-compulsory. However, students who attend the lectures (at least 80%) will have the opportunity to discuss in class a topic agreed with the teacher, which will be taken into consideration for the final assessment. Students who attend at least 80% are exempted from some of the readings for the final exam.

Modalità Frequenza

In-class, attendance is not mandatory

Modalità Valutazione

Final assessment is based on in-class participation and an open-books written essay for students who attend at least 80% of inclass lectures. Students who do not attend classes will undergo a mixed written/oral exam