Holey Union: The Constitutional Paradox of Secession

Dr Rivika Weill, Associate Professor at the Radzyner School of Law.
Event date
Event time
17:30 - 19:00
Faculty of Law
St Cross Road
Venue details

The Cube

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required

In this lecture, Dr Rivka Weill will demonstrate how constitutional democracies seek to prevent secessionist movements from achieving their goals by manipulating extremely potent constitutional tools at their disposal. She argues that nation states are often guilty of a lack of transparency in the use of these tools, which are generally intended to protect democratic values rather than to be used against secessionists, and that such approaches are characterized by a significant gap between ‘the law on the books’ and ‘the law as practised’. Drawing on case studies from the US, UK, and European countries, including Ukraine, she suggests ways that nation states could better use structural design to combat secession without compromising democratic values than currently done. The lecture will assess the unique challenge secessionists pose to democracies that gives rise to these legal and constitutional conflicts. It will suggest that although, by and large, constitutional democracies—even those that supposedly allow for secession—leave no option but for secessionists to resort to extra-legal means to achieve their goals, the nature of sovereignty in a given country may justify such an outcome. Dr Rivka Weill is an Associate Professor at the Radzyner School of Law. She received her J.S.D. and LL.M. from Yale Law School and has clerked for President Aharon Barak of the Israeli Supreme Court. Her areas of expertise are Constitutional Law and Administrative Law, with a focus on both theoretical and comparative aspects.