JJUA54039U States of Emergency, Emergency Powers, and Liberal Democracy

Volume 2015/2016

This course will examine different theories of emergency powers within liberal constitutional democracies, with reference to domestic legal orders and international law. Emergency situations to be considered may range from political turmoil to insurgencies and war, as well as international terrorism and mass flows of migrants. Focus will be on how different responses to such crises challenge constitutional norms, the rule of law, and individual rights. In addition to examining positive legal standards and actual emergency scenarios, both recent and historical, this course will also consider theoretical paradigms of emergency powers. To this end, readings will include: a variety of constitutional provisions, legislation and court judgments from different national jurisdictions, treaties and other international legal materials, historical accounts of crisis events, news about current world affairs, and secondary academic literature on the subject.

Learning Outcome

- Identify and analyze complex and concrete legal problems surrounding emergency powers in legal, theoretical, and historical contexts;
- Present the wider policy and legal arguments behind different theoretical models of emergency powers;
- Put controversies about States responses to national crises into historical, national, and international perspective, in order to test the relevance of different emergency powers theories;
- Analyze the impact of different emergency powers upon the concept of liberal democracy and the rule of law, consider their links to illiberal or authoritarian regimes, and understand their relationships to the nature of the State itself;
- Argue carefully and logically for and against specific legal positions in factual context, present the theoretical foundations for those arguments, and make reasoned choices in terms of public policy;
- Formulate and communicate ideas and legal issues;
- Utilize international and foreign legal materials, and historical accounts, in a coherent, competent, and professional way.

Good knowledge of the English language is a requirement, not only for oral discussion but for reading a considerable amount of legal material;
As the course is in seminar format, students must read assignments in advance and take an active part in group discussion. Adequate attendance and preparation are therefore critical. There will be no lectures, so success of the course depends upon student participation.
Provisions on form requirements can be found in the exam catalogue on the online Study Pages.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 241
  • Seminar
  • 34
  • Total
  • 275
Type of assessment
Written examination, 1 day
Assigned individual written assignment, 1 day
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

26 May - 27 May, 2016


1 August - 2 August, 2016