3: Constitutional studies of free trade and political economy

Free trade constitutionalises the political economy of jurisdictions. Free trade is a norm that conceives the trade in goods, services, labour, and capital among or within sovereign states as an exchange without government discrimination.

The establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) suggests that global systems of political economy have the constitutional norm of free trade at their foundation. The European Union (EU), for example, and other regional and sub-regional systems also have that normative foundation.

It is an implicit assumption that local systems have that normative foundation too. The assumption holds true for unitary states. It also holds true for the United States of America, Commonwealth of Australia, Dominion of Canada, Republic of India, Federal Republic of Germany, Kingdom of Belgium, Federal Republic of Brazil, United Mexican States, Argentine Republic, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Malaysia, and other federal, con-federal (Swiss Confederation), quasi-federal (Kingdom of Spain), and non-unitary states.

However, unlike unitary jurisdictions, non-unitary jurisdictions rely on a constitutional guarantee of free movement of goods, services, labour, and capital among their constituent states. That guarantee is not always reliable because its judicial interpretation is subject to multiple considerations: doctrinal, practical, political, economic, and other. It is, therefore, the mission of constitutional courts in nonunitary jurisdictions to reconcile their sometime contradictory jurisprudence with the constitutional norm of free trade.

The successes and the failures of that mission can assist supranational and international jurisdictions to further develop their preferential and free trade areas, customs unions, single markets, and economic and monetary unions. Conversely, the free trade jurisprudence of supranational and international jurisdictions can assist the mission of constitutional courts in non-unitary jurisdictions to further develop their political economies. Thus, the judicial interpretation of the constitutional freedom of interstate trade comprises a valuable and viable subject of comparative and analytical study. The workshop aims to study the significance of the free trade jurisprudence of supranational and international jurisdictions is to the constitutional development of the political economy of non-unitary jurisdictions and vice versa.

The workshop welcomes papers from constitutional and public law scholars everywhere with a research interest in:

  • Economic Constitutional Law
  • International Economic Law
  • Trade and Commercial Law and
  • (Comparative) Federalism and Federal Political Systems and
  • inter-disciplinary interests in Political Science and Economics.

Relevant papers would include comparative and analytical studies of the constitutional regime of the WTO as the only international jurisdiction in the area of trade and commerce, the EU, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Central American Integration System (SICA), Andean Community, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and other supranational single markets and economic and monetary unions, and the constitutions of the United States, Australia, Canada, India, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Nigeria, Malaysia, and other nonunitary markets.

While the choice of jurisdiction is entirely open, papers must examine aspects of the reception of International Trade Law by Constitutional Courts and, more widely, the role of Constitutional Courts in the constitutionalisation of free trade in federal and supranational jurisdictions. Accordingly, the research topics that will inform the workshop are:

  • the reception of International Trade Law by Constitutional Courts; and
  • the role of Constitutional Courts in the constitutionalisation of free trade in federal and supranational jurisdictions.

Papers on any subject of significance to the research topics above would be welcome. They should follow the general instructions given above and follow the Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) (http://www.law.ox.ac.uk/published/OSCOLA_4th_edn.pdf). Upon further revision, participants would be invited to submit their papers into a collection of essays for publication as a book on Economic Constitutional Law with a lead academic publisher.

The book would hope to review the economic constitutional system of the various jurisdictions that participants represent. Several notable publishers have already expressed an interest in this proposal.

Accepted papers

Go to accepted papers for workshop 3

Published Apr. 2, 2013 11:54 AM - Last modified June 11, 2014 1:19 PM