The International Association of Constitutional Law || l'Association Internationale de Droit Constitutionnel

University of Siena, Certosa di Pontignano
June 15-16, 2023

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Equality, as a concept, is as old as mankind and, as a principle, it has been part of many constitutional documents since the American and the French Revolutions. After the Second World War it became a core element of the “Postwar paradigm”, as part of international documents and national constitutions. Afterwards, it has been entrenched in many constitutions willing to fight against social inequalities, in the context of the “transformative constitutionalism” movement, especially in the Global South.

The different understandings of equality always raised challenges for constitutional law: How to reconcile the tension between formal and substantive equality? Which nondiscrimination clauses should be considered? Could written constitutions be interpreted progressively, in order to broaden the nondiscrimination principle? How can substantive equality be protected, if the legislator is inactive? Could courts make up for legislators, to fill in their omissions? Is gender equality more likely to be achieved through the formal or substantive equality principle?

New challenges have developed in the 21st century, in the context of democratic decay. In many democracies, old and new, political forces hostile to liberal democracy appear to attack the rule of law and constitutional guarantees, after winning electoral majorities in the polls.

The Roundtable will be co-organized by the DIPEC Research Group at the University of Siena, within the research projects PRIN 2017 “Framing and diagnosing constitutional degradation: a comparative perspective”, Principal Investigator: Prof. Tania Groppi and PRIN 2017 “The constitutional implications of European separatist claims”, Principal Investigator: Prof. Alessandro Torre – Siena Unit “Separatist claims, minority rights and citizenship transformation”, Responsible: Prof. Valeria Piergigli and the Jean Monnet Module EUGENIA (responsible prof. Tania Groppi).


The Roundtable is structured around a keynote speech, three main sessions, and a young scholars’ session:

  • Keynote speech: Equality and Democratic Decay. New Challenges
  • First Session: The Principle of Equality and Social Justice
  • Second Session: Gender Equality
  • Third Session: Pluralism and Minorities
  • Special Session for Young Scholars: The Principle of Equality and Rule of Law
  • Final Speech: Non-discrimination Principle as a Major Source of Equality

15 June

  • 9:30/10:30, Opening Session
    Keynote Speech: The Expressive Complexities of Constitutional Equality

  • 11:00/13:00, First Session
    The Principle of Equality and Social Justice

  • 14:00/16:00, Second Session
    Gender Equality

  • 16:30/19:00
    Special Session for Young Scholars
     The Principle of Equality and Rule of Law

16 June

  • 9:30/11:30, Third Session
    Pluralism and Minorities

  • 12:00/13:00, Final Speech


15 June

9.30-10.30 Opening Session

Chair: Tania Groppi, University of Siena

Opening Speeches

Helle Krunke, President of the IACL
Roberto Di Pietra, Rector of the University of Siena
Rolando Tarchi, President of DPCE
Barbara Pozzo, President SIRD

Keynote Speech - Tom Ginsburg
“The Expressive Complexities of Constitutional Equality”

16 June

First Session 11:00/13:00

The Principle of Equality and Social Justice

Chairs: Helle Krunke, University of Copenhagen & Marek Zubik, University of Warsaw

David Bilchtiz, University of Johannesburg
“Equality of What? The Need for Minimum Thresholds in Giving Effect to Socio-Economic Rights”

Irene Spigno, Academia Interamericana de derechos humanos, Saltillo, Coahuila, México
“Social Rights in Mexican Constitutionalism”

Akiko Ejima, Meiji University, Tokyo
“The Principle of Equality in Transforming Society: Achievements and Challenges”

Siri Gloppen, University of Bergen
“Can Social Movements Advance Substantive Equality through Social Rights Lawfare?”

Second Session 11:00/13:00

Gender Equality

Chairs: Susanna Mancini, University of Bologna & Tom Daly, University of Melbourne

Angelo Schillaci, University Sapienza of Rome
 “A Matter of Equal Dignity. New Paths in the Recognition and Protection of Gender Identity in European Constitutional Experiences”

Selin Esen, University of Ankara
 “Protecting the Women's Rights through a Constitutional Court: the Case of Turkey”

Iris Nguyen Duy, University of Agder, Norway
“Gender Equality in France: Constitutional Framework and Challenges”

Neila Chaabane, University of Carthage & Salwa Hamrouni, University of Carthage
 “Gender equality in the Tunisian Constitutions”

Special Session for Young Scholars: The Principle of Equality and Rule of Law

Jens Elo Rytter, University of Copenhagen
When-Chen Chang, National University Taiwan
Ayushi Agarwal, University of Oxford
Interpreting ‘Equality’: What can it Contribute for The Rule of Law in Sports?

Arca Alpan, Marmara University
Degrowth or Sustainable Development: Can We Hold Governments Responsible for Shrinking Their Economies to Make Room for Justice and Equality?

Maria Francesca De Tullio, University of Napoli “Federico II”
Which Data Governance for a Social Post-Pandemic Recovery?

Micol Ferrario, University of Neuchâtel
The Principle of Equality Amidst the Protection of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: The Case of Switzerland

Toni Fickentscher, University of Regensburg
Social Security Generational Justice as a Constitutional Justifiable Mandate?

Garcia Maia Tainá, University of Münster
The Right to Equality of LGBTI Persons in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: A Prototypical Case of the Negligible Role of Consensus?

Miki Kadota, Keio University Tokyo
Reviving “The Social Obligation of Property” Against the Exclusion from Public Spaces

Sato Naito, Waseda University Tokyo
Equality principle in Japanese Case Law

Suresh Sandeep, Jindal Global Law School
Equality = Non-Arbitrariness? Locating This Equation in the Indian Equality Jurisprudence Using the Rule of Law Framework

Davide Zecca, University of Pavia
Equality of Arms in Politics: the Role of Courts in Adjudicating the Openness of Political Processes

Davide Zecca, University of Pavia
Equality of Arms in Politics: the Role of Courts in Adjudicating the Openness of Political Processes

Rueven Ziegler, University of Reading
Are all LGBT+ Asylum-Aeekers Created Equal?

Third Session 11:00/13:00

Pluralism and Minorities

Chairs: Valeria Piergigli, University of Siena & Anna Cornell Jonsson, University of Uppsala

Oumarou Narey, Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey-Niger
“Les droits des minorités en Afrique: jeux et enjeux“

Josè Maria Serna, Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas, UNAM, Mexico
“Pluralism and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico: the Difficult Coexistence of State and Non-state Judicial Systems”

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Queen Mary’s University, London, UK
“Pluralism in the UK: inequities, devolution and independence in Scotland”

Jens Woelk, University of Trento
“Political Participation and Representation of Minorities in the Western Balkans”

Closing Remarks - Giuliano Amato
”Non-discrimination principle as a major source of equality” 

Jointly organized by:


Gruppo di ricerca e formazione sul diritto pubblico comparato ed europeo


International Association of Constitutional Law

with the collaboration of: