The 11th IACL World Congress will take place in Johannesburg in 2022. The proposed theme of the World Congress is “Constitutional Transformations”. This theme will enable Congress participants to explore at least three aspects of constitutional transformation. First, how constitutions themselves change and transform over time, whether through an amendment to their text, through judicial interpretation, through changes in social and political practices, including constitutional conventions, and through revolutionary changes.
Secondly, the transformative role of constitutions, that is, how constitutions can foster or impede social, economic and political transformation in societies as well as change in the lives of individuals. This relationship has been explored in a range of constitutions at different times: in the United States in the Lochner era, in Germany as well as in India, Colombia and South Africa.
Thirdly, the role of constitutions in responding to changing circumstances, whether that be the threat of climate change, the state response to Covid-19, the challenges of the digital revolution and artificial intelligence, democratic deficits, the expanding power of private corporations or the rise of authoritarian and populist constitutional orders.
It is fitting that IACL is to hold its first World Congress in Africa now, for the last thirty years have been a period of prodigious constitution-making in the region: 21 of the 25 countries in southern and eastern Africa have adopted new constitutions since 1990. Much attention has been paid to the South African constitutional transition in the mid-1990s and to the new Kenyan Constitution of 2010, but otherwise the processes and products of constitution-making in Southern and Eastern Africa have not received significant scholarly attention.
The IACL World Congress always showcases scholarly engagement with constitutional developments across the globe. The World Congress in 2022 will be no different, but the IACL also hopes that by hosting a conference in Africa greater scholarly attention will be drawn to the practice of constitutional democracy and fundamental rights in Africa.
The Congress will have the following plenary sessions:
- Poverty, discrimination and constitutions
- The environment, climate justice and the rights of nature
- Constitutional governance in crisis?
- Constitutionalism in the era of private power and the Fourth Industrial Revolution