The World Conference on Constitutional Justice  (WCCJ)

The World Conference on Constitutional Justice unites 119 Constitutional Courts and Councils and Supreme Courts in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia/Oceania and Europe. It promotes constitutional justice – understood as constitutional review including human rights case-law – as a key element for democracy, the protection of human rights and the rule of law (Article 1.2 of the Statute).

According to its Statute, the World Conference has three organs, the General Assembly, the Bureau and the Secretariat. The General Assembly is chaired by the Host Court of the Congress. The last host was the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania. The Presidency of the Bureau is ensured for one year by rotation between the groups. The Presidency of the Bureau is therefore not that of an individual Court but of a group of Courts. Since 21 September 2016, the Presidency of the Bureau is exercised by the Conference of African Constitutional Jurisdictions. It is up to the groups to designate their representative. The Venice Commission acts as the Secretariat of the World Conference.

The World Conference on Constitutional Justice  (WCCJ)

The World Conference on Constitutional Justice unites 119 Constitutional Courts and Councils and Supreme Courts in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia/Oceania and Europe. It promotes constitutional justice – understood as constitutional review including human rights case-law – as a key element for democracy, the protection of human rights and the rule of law (Article 1.2 of the Statute).

According to its Statute, the World Conference has three organs, the General Assembly, the Bureau and the Secretariat. The General Assembly is chaired by the Host Court of the Congress. The last host was the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania. The Presidency of the Bureau is ensured for one year by rotation between the groups. The Presidency of the Bureau is therefore not that of an individual Court but of a group of Courts. Since 21 September 2016, the Presidency of the Bureau is exercised by the Conference of African Constitutional Jurisdictions. It is up to the groups to designate their representative. The Venice Commission acts as the Secretariat of the World Conference.

The World Conference pursues its objectives through the organisation of regular congresses, by participating in regional conferences and seminars, by sharing experiences and case-law and by offering good services to members on their request (Article 1.2 of the Statute).

The main purpose of the World Conference is to facilitate judicial dialogue between constitutional judges on a global scale. Due to the obligation of judicial restraint, constitutional judges sometimes have little occasion to conduct a constructive dialogue on constitutional principles in their countries. The exchanges that take place between judges from various parts of the world in the World Conference furthers reflection on arguments, which promote the basic goals inherent to national constitutions. Even if these texts often differ substantially, discussion on the underlying constitutional concepts unites constitutional judges from various parts of the world committed to promoting constitutionality in their own country.

 

As these judges sometimes find themselves in situations of conflict with other state powers because of decisions they had to hand down based on the Constitution, being part of the World Conference provides them with a forum that not only allows them to exchange information freely with their peers, but where judges from other countries can also offer moral support. This can be important in upholding constitutional principles, which the judges are called upon to defend in their line of work.

The Courts and Councils, members of and committed to the principles of the World Conference may see their membership suspended by the General Assembly of the World Conference in case of flagrant violation of these principles.

 

History of the World Conference: 

Since 1996, the Venice Commission has established co-operation with a number of regional or language based groups of constitutional courts, in particular the Conference of European Constitutional Courts, the Association of Constitutional Courts using the French Language, the Southern African Judges Commission, the Conference of Constitutional Control Organs of Countries of New Democracy, the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions, the Union of Arab Constitutional Courts and Councils, the Ibero-American Conference of Constitutional Justice and the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa.
 

In pursuit of the goal of uniting these groups and their members, the Venice Commission had organised a Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice for the first time, held in Cape Town, South Africa on 23-24 January 2009 and hosted by the Constitutional Court of South Africa. This event gathered 9 regional or linguistic groups and some 90 courts.

Then, Eighty-eight Constitutional Courts, Constitutional Councils and Supreme Courts as well as the 10 regional and linguistic groups of courts from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe gathered for a second Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice on the topic "Separation of Powers and Independence of Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Bodies". This event was hosted by the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 16-18 January 2011 in co-operation with the Venice Commission.

With the accession of more than 30 Constitutional Courts, Constitutional Councils and Supreme Courts exercising constitutional justice, the Statute of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice entered into force on 24 September 2011.

The 3rd Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice on the topic ‘Constitutional Justice and Social Integration’ was hosted by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea on 28 September – 1 October 2014. 


Upon invitation by the Constitutional Court of Lithuania, the 4th Congress of the World Conference on "the Rule of Law and Constitutional Justice in the Modern World" was held in in Vilnius, Republic of Lithuania, on 11-14 September 2017.

The 2nd General Assembly of the World Conference amended the 
Statute of the World Conference and elected the Constitutional Council of Djibouti and the Constitutional Courts of the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and Italy as members of the Bureau.

 

The main purpose of the World Conference is to facilitate judicial dialogue between constitutional judges on a global scale. Due to the obligation of judicial restraint, constitutional judges sometimes have little occasion to conduct a constructive dialogue on constitutional principles in their countries. The exchanges that take place between judges from various parts of the world in the World Conference furthers reflection on arguments, which promote the basic goals inherent to national constitutions. Even if these texts often differ substantially, discussion on the underlying constitutional concepts unites constitutional judges from various parts of the world committed to promoting constitutionality in their own country.

 

As these judges sometimes find themselves in situations of conflict with other state powers because of decisions they had to hand down based on the Constitution, being part of the World Conference provides them with a forum that not only allows them to exchange information freely with their peers, but where judges from other countries can also offer moral support. This can be important in upholding constitutional principles, which the judges are called upon to defend in their line of work.

The Courts and Councils, members of and committed to the principles of the World Conference may see their membership suspended by the General Assembly of the World Conference in case of flagrant violation of these principles.

 

History of the World Conference: 

Since 1996, the Venice Commission has established co-operation with a number of regional or language based groups of constitutional courts, in particular the Conference of European Constitutional Courts, the Association of Constitutional Courts using the French Language, the Southern African Judges Commission, the Conference of Constitutional Control Organs of Countries of New Democracy, the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions, the Union of Arab Constitutional Courts and Councils, the Ibero-American Conference of Constitutional Justice and the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa.
 

In pursuit of the goal of uniting these groups and their members, the Venice Commission had organised a Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice for the first time, held in Cape Town, South Africa on 23-24 January 2009 and hosted by the Constitutional Court of South Africa. This event gathered 9 regional or linguistic groups and some 90 courts.

Then, Eighty-eight Constitutional Courts, Constitutional Councils and Supreme Courts as well as the 10 regional and linguistic groups of courts from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe gathered for a second Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice on the topic "Separation of Powers and Independence of Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Bodies". This event was hosted by the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 16-18 January 2011 in co-operation with the Venice Commission.

With the accession of more than 30 Constitutional Courts, Constitutional Councils and Supreme Courts exercising constitutional justice, the Statute of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice entered into force on 24 September 2011.

The 3rd Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice on the topic ‘Constitutional Justice and Social Integration’ was hosted by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea on 28 September – 1 October 2014. 


Upon invitation by the Constitutional Court of Lithuania, the 4th Congress of the World Conference on "the Rule of Law and Constitutional Justice in the Modern World" was held in in Vilnius, Republic of Lithuania, on 11-14 September 2017.

The 2nd General Assembly of the World Conference amended the 
Statute of the World Conference and elected the Constitutional Council of Djibouti and the Constitutional Courts of the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and Italy as members of the Bureau.