On 11 July 2013, Constitutional Transitions faculty members Samuel Issacharoff and Mattias Kumm delivered papers at the 5th Constitutional Court Review Symposium, held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Issacharoff and Kumm spoke on a panel entitled “Constitutional Courts as Hedges against Democratic Authoritarianism.” Issacharoff delivered the lead paper for the panel, “The Democratic Risk to Democratic Transitions”; Kumm (along with Theunis Roux and Martin Krygier from the University of New South Wales) delivered papers reacting to Issacharoff’s piece. The papers from the panel will appear in Volume 5 of the Constitutional Court Review later in 2013.
The Constitutional Court Review is a once-a-year journal dedicated to the analysis of the decisions of the Constitutional Court of South Africa of the previous year. Its purpose is to provide a platform for high-level academic engagement with the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court.
An important theme in recent South African constitutional jurisprudence is the set of constitutional problems created by the ongoing electoral dominance of the African National Congress. The problems that South Africa is facing are of considerable interest to new democracies that are establishing constitutional courts as hedges against democratic authoritarianism—for example, in the Middle East and North Africa. Because of the relevance of the South African experience to transitional democracies, Constitutional Transitions and the Constitutional Court Review decided to partner on this initiative.