newsletter feb 2013

IACL Newsletter
February 2013

A Word from the President
 
First of all, let me wish Happy New Year to all readers of this first IACL Newsletter of 2013.
 
Now that we are in the New Year, it is to be noted that the IACL is already beyond the half-way point between its 8th and 9th Congresses. In November 2012, the Executive Committee (EC) confirmed the decision to have the next Congress in Oslo, Norway, from 16 to 20 June 2014. In the same EC meeting, discussion arose on how to improve internal democracy within the IACL.
 
Indeed, what could be a better time to discuss that question than now, less than one and a half years to the next Congress? There are a number of factors that make the issue more complex than presumed, also related to how the IACL has been developing during the last decade.
 
Originally, national associations formed the backbone of the IACL, so that the EC could legitimately be said to consist of ‘representatives’ of national associations. Today, we have many more individual members than before, we have regional networks, and some national associations have become dormant or perhaps fairly closed ‘clubs’, when compared to the broader constitutional law debates in the same countries.
 
Another traditional feature of the IACL has been its reliance on our ‘elders’ who have made remarkable contributions in the setting up and consolidation of the organisation. But is this reliance on seniority and tradition appealing to new generations of constitutionalists who may wish to turn a new page?
 
Together with individual membership, the creation of semi-autonomous thematic research groups has opened up new ways of participating in the life of the IACL. How should this affect the decisionmaking structures of the organisation?
 
Finally, the rapid evolution of the Internet and new social media has resulted in a situation where direct global participation in the day-to-day life of the IACL has become a real possibility, at least as far as technology is concerned.
 
As President, I have just reached out to some of the younger (newer) members of the EC, asking them to prepare short discussion papers about what internal democracy in the IACL could mean. The
matter is therefore on the agenda of the next EC meeting on 15 April 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. Hopefully we will be able to agree on a course of action, so that eventual changes in the modus operandi of the IACL can be made in the Oslo Congress.
 
Some of the questions to be addressed in Rio will be whether a process towards amending the IACL Statutes in Oslo will be launched, and whether a traditional Nominations Committee will be set up to prepare the elections of a new EC and IACL officials in Oslo. One idea aired in the New York meeting was to move to an open process for nominating candidates for various positions. This and many other ideas will merit careful consideration.
 
In closing, I would like to welcome the active input of all IACL members, as a truly participatory process is of course the best way to ensure that we come to good solutions that will bear fruit in the years and decades to come. Please enjoy reading the IACL Newsletter, and all the best for 2013!
 
Martin Scheinin