Honours Class and Staff Workshop ‘The Powers That Be’

On Tuesday 24th June 2014 the participants of the Honours Class ‘The Powers That Be’ gathered in the Sterrewacht to attend its final session.

Three international guest speakers had been invited: Prof. Dr. Christoph Möllers (Humboldt Universität, Berlin), Dr. Joseph Corkin (Middlesex University London) and Dr. Aoife O’Donoghue (Durham University).

In the course of a generation, the world has witnessed a proliferation of transnational legal and political orders, of which the EU is probably the most advanced. This development raises fundamental questions with respect to the legitimacy of national and transnational institutions and the way they enact law and policies. What kind of constraints do the Rule of Law and democratic rule impose on their work? And, more specifically, do we need to rethink the traditional doctrine of the separation of powers and reapply it in order to maintain its status as the foremost Western contribution to legitimate decision-making?

These were the kind of questions that were discussed during the closing session of the Honours Class, which was followed that day by a staff workshop on the same topic and also attended by the three international guests. A dozen staff members of the Leiden Law School presented draft chapters for a forthcoming volume on the separation of powers in a transnational era which they had been working on during the past year. Hans-Martien ten Napel, Reijer Passchier, Ingrid Leijten, Michal Diamant and Wim Voermans acted as panel chairs. Two honours students offered guided tours of the old observatory and through town.

Both the Honours Class and the volume are linked to the Leiden University research profile ‘Politicial Legitimacy: Institutions and Identities’. Earlier on during the Honours Class, Prof. Dr. Ruud Koole (Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Institute of Political Science) and Prof. Dr. Henk te Velde (Faculty of Humanities, Institute for History), who together with Wim Voermans form the interdisciplinary team of coordinators of this profile area, had already made appearances. Reflecting recent developments in the field of comparative constitutional law, the approach of the volume will also be both theoretical, comparative and interdisciplinary.

Last Modified: 30-07-2014