The African Network of Constitutional Lawyers (ANCL), in collaboration with the Department of law at the University of Botswana and partners, is organising the next ANCL Biennial Conference in Gaborone – Botswana in 2018 on the theme “Courts, Power and Constitutional Law in Africa”. The progressive introduction and establishment of constitutional courts or special tribunals with explicit constitutional law and fundamental rights protection mandates across the continent has no doubt reached its highest point since the beginning of the 21st century. The rising powers and role of courts in general is perhaps one of the most substantial developments in African constitutionalism over the last three decades. In some countries, the actual role of courts in safeguarding fundamental rights, the rule of law, democratic governance, in protecting vulnerable groups, and in umpiring division of powers has been marginal at best, often despite their formal empowerment.
The organisers invite both experienced and upcoming African constitutional experts and individuals interested in constitutionalism in Africa to submit abstracts responding to these questions or to any other question related to the general theme of the conference. Also, prospective participants should pay attention to questions of public power: how, and under what conditions, do courts, enjoy the power, legitimacy and independence necessary to serve as a balanced and meaningful check on national actors in the general foresight of advancing progressive democratic governance in Africa. We invite potential participants to reason closely within the framework of the theme of this conference and the questions it intends to answer when choosing a topic or approach for their papers or panels.
Specifically, the organisers are calling on participants interested in presenting papers to pay attention on the following issues in answering the questions above: a) Constitutional courts as judicial bodies of principle pragmatism or precedent; b) Public opinion and constitutional courts; c) Constitutional courts as political actors; d) Remedies fashioned by constitutional courts in Africa; e) Comparative constitutional methodologies adopted by African constitutional courts and use of foreign law by African constitutional courts; f) Transformative constitutionalism and African constitutional courts.