There are 196 countries in the world, which equals at least 196 constitution-like instruments. But what is meant by “constitution”? Must it be written, or does custom suffice?
Episode 3 of Maastricht Law Talk is all about state organisation. Some countries have presidents, some a Prime Minister, and some even both. What is the difference between sovereignty based on the Crown or e.g. based on a nation itself?
Aalt Willem Heringa is Full Professor of (Comparative) Constitutional and Administrative Law at Maastricht University and the head of its public law department as well as the Montesquieu Institute. He has worked with the Harvard Law School and University of Edinburgh on several occasions. His PhD on “Sociale Grondrechten”, which would nowadays translate into economical constitutional rights, was defended in Leiden where he studied Dutch law. In 2013 he also published a book co-authored with Hetty Geursen “China in blogs en tekeningen” (China in blogs and drawings). As promised in the episode, you can find it here.
Aalt Willem and I talk about
- monarchies in the European Union and what is left thereof,
- why we need constitutions,
- the concept of sovereignty,
- democracies and autocracies,
- the difference between a federation and a unitary state,
- power ideologies and their heads of government,
- parliaments and their organisation,
- election systems,
- Brexit and Trump,
- Human Rights, and
- much more.
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