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   Course Title    Constitutional Law
Lecturer    Zigurds Mikainis 
Institution    University of Latvia
Country    Latvia


CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

The goal of the course of the Constitutional Law is to insure a systematic mastering of complex of constitutional rights - the legal background of constitutional order.

Students have to acquire knowledge about the Latvian constitutional rights as a branch of rights, its norms, institutes and sources, constitutional legal relations. They have to acquaint with the subjects of these rights, the structure and actions of the Latvian constitutional order, the science of constitutional law. At the same time the mastering of course of this subject gives the students the possibility to estimate the place and role of constitutional law in the system of Latvia's legal norms.

The main attention is to be paid to the studies of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia and other sources of constitutional rights. The chance to get to know these sources give official publications of laws and other normative acts in the ''LR Saeimas un MK Ziòotâjs'' ( the Bulletin of the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia and Cabinet of Ministers) and in the newspaper ''Latvijas Vçstnesis'' (The Herald of Latvia). The students have to follow the introductions of the University lecturers during the lectures and seminars.

Appropriate attention is to be paid to special literature of studies. Accordingly to the possibilities of students they have to get acquired with the sources of literature in English, German and French, that give the information on experience and values of the constitutional development of the European and other countries.

During the studies the students have to follow the practical processes of the development of the constitutional order in Latvia.

Theme Nr.1

Constitutional Law - the branch of law and science.

  1. The concept and nature of constitutional law and the subject of regulation. The dual character of constitutional law.
  2. The role and place of constitutional law in the system of legal norms and delimitation from others.
  3. Norms and institutes of constitutional law. The peculiarities, modes and classification of norms of constitutional law.
  4. The concept and content of the constitutional legal relations and its

subjects and structure.

  1. Legal sources of constitutional law and their classification.
  2. The science of constitutional law.
  3. The methods of research of constitutional law.

Theme Nr.2

The origins and the historical development of Constitutions.

  1. The beginnings of constitutions in the USA and Europe.
  2. The first stage of the development of the constitutions:
  3. 1787.-1918.
  4. 1918.-1939.
  5. The second stage of the development of the constitutions:
  6. 1945.-1989.
  7. after 1989.

Theme Nr.3

The theory of the Constitution.

  1. The concept and the nature of constitution. The content and form of constitution. The constitutiuon as a basic law of the land.
  2. The comparative study of constitutions. The classification of constitutions and their main features.The amendment procedure.
  3. The procedure of adaptation and changing of the constitutions.
  4. The fundamental functions of constitutions.

Theme Nr.4

The nature and fundamental principles of constitutionalism.

  1. The concept and structure of constitutionalism. The origins and main stages of the historical evolution of the constitutionalism. Constitutionalism: ancient and modern. The elements of Constitutionalism.
  2. The concept and structure of sovereignty. The sovereignty of state. Banner, national anthem, state emblem. The substance of public sovereignty and its role. People as the source of the sovereign state power. National sovereignty.
  3. The content and place of the principle of the democracy in the constitutional law. Direct and indirect forms of democracy. The totality of citizens and its functions.
  4. The content and place of the theory of seperation of state power in Constitutional law. The principle of the seperation of state power. The implementation of the separation of state power in the Republic of Latvia.
  5. The main principles of the legal state and the process of its development in the Republic of Latvia.

Theme Nr.5

The historical background and development of the constitutional state and order in Latvia.

  1. Subjects of the Latvian Constitutional development. The historical and political preconditions of the origin of the state and constitutionalism in Latvia.
  2. The formation of the sovereign state and the first constitutional acts in Latvia (1918.-1922.).
  3. The drafting and adopting of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. The first and the second part of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia.
  4. Latvian constitutional process till and after 1934.
  5. The dismantling of the sovereign Republic of Latvia ( June 17, 1940 till July 21, 1940).
  6. The constitutional status of the Republic of Latvia after May 4, 1990 and renewal of the constitutional system in Latvia.
  7. Renewal of the action of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia and main stages of this process.
  8. Constitutional development today.

Theme Nr.6

The institute of Human rights in Constitutional law.

  1. The place of human rights in constitutionalism. The concept and structure of human rights and its sources.
  2. The standards of international law in the sphere of human rights.
  3. The historical development of Human rights in Latvia.
  4. The constitutional regulation of the status of the person in the Republic of Latvia. The structure of the rights and duties of a person and citizen of the Republic of Latvia.
  5. The problems of guarantees and protection of human rights in the Republic of Latvia. Legal, organizational and institutional garantees for rights and freedoms.

Theme Nr. 7

The institute of Citizenship in the Republic of Latvia.

  1. The concept of citizenship and its content. Citizenship and a person. Identity to the citizenship of the Republic of Latvia.
  2. General ways of obtaining of citizenship and its fundamental rules.
  3. General rules of naturalisation and process of naturalisation in the Republic of Latvia.
  4. The general order of naturalisation. The naturalisation of children. Extraordinary naturalisation. Abridgement of naturalisation.
  5. Null and void of citizenship and rehabilitation of it in the Republic of Latvia.
  6. The regulation of legal status of aliens and other persons in the Republic of Latvia.


Theme Nr. 8

Voting rights in the Republic of Latvia.

  • 1.The concept of the institute of elections and voting rights.
  • 2.The historical development of the institute of voting rights.
  • 3.The fundamental principles of the democratic system of voting rights.
  • 4.The concept of the system of elections. Plurality and proportional system of election and its main features.
  • 5.The law of the election of parliament of the Republic of Latvia. Electoral constituencies and districts and electoral commissions, its forms and competence.
  • 6.The process of voting. The procedure of determination of the results of voting.
  • Theme Nr. 9

    The parliament (Saeima).

  • The concept and peculiarities of the power of legislation. The sphere of legislation. The parliaments as a institutions on the representation of people.
  • The important functions of the parliament (Saeima).
  • The sessions and sittings of the Saeima. Quorum. Kinds of voting.
  • The structure of Saeima. The Officials of Saeima. The committees, factions and Presidium of the Saeima. Council of factions and political blocks in the Saeima.
  • The procedure of the adoption of laws in the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia (in three readings).
  • The Saeima Office (Chancellery).
  • Theme Nr. 10

    The deputies of the Saeima.

  • The concept of the status of a member of the parliament. Deputy mandate. The rights and duties of a deputy.
  • The immunity of a deputy.
  • The material quarantees of the action of a deputy.
  • The assistant of a deputy.
  • Theme Nr. 11

    State President.

  • The institute of the State President. The main types of the institute of the State President.
  • The procedure of election of the State President of the Republic of Latvia and the term of his authorities.
  • The liability of the State President.
  • The functions of the State President. The relations of the State President between the Saeima and the Cabinet of Minister.
  • Theme Nr. 12.

    The Cabinet of Ministers.

  • The specifies of executive power of state and its main features.
  • The Cabinet of Ministers and the procedure of its forming.
  • The competence and functions of the Cabinet of Ministers. The rights and obligations of the Cabinet of Ministers.
  • The structure of the Cabinet of Ministers.
  • The rules of the action of the Cabinet of Ministers. The acts of the Cabinet of Ministers.
  • The concept of the delegation of legislation and its implementation in the Republic of Latvia.
  • Theme Nr. 13

    Administrative territorial division of the Republic of Latvia.

  • The concept of the territory of the state.
  • The concept of the borders of the state. The legal regulation of borders of the state of Latvia.
  • The concept of administrative territorial division and its fundamental principles.
  • The structure of administrative territories in the Republic of Latvia, its types and levels.
  • Concept and legal status of local governments. The attitude toward local governments in the constitution. The system of institutions of local governments in the Republic of Latvia.
  • The concept and structure of populated places in the Republic of Latvia.
  • Theme Nr. 14

    Court power.

  • The concept of court power, its place and role in the system of separation of state power.
  • The constitutional status and peculiarities of court power in the Republic of Latvia. The principle of independence of court and its quarranties.
  • The system and competence of the institutions of court power in the Republic of Latvia.
  • The place and role of the prosecutor's office in the system of court in the Republic of Latvia.
  • Court power institute and the status of constitutional court.
  • Theme Nr. 15

    Constitutional court.

  • The concept of judical review and constitutional court. The American (U.S.) and European models and traditions.
  • The status of constitutional court in the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia.
  • The procedure of formation of constitutional court and tribunal of constitutional court in Latvia.
    1. The subject-matter jurisdiction of the constitutional court in Latvia.
    2. Right to initiate proceedings. General form and content of position.
    3. Preperation of the case for trial and the trial. Rules of procedure of the constitutional court of the Republic of Latvia.


    Theme Nr. 16

    State control.

  • The concept of state control and its legal regulation. The place of state control in the system of state power.
  • The functions of state control.
  • The structure of the institutions of state control in the Republic of Latvia.
    1. The legal regulation of the auditing of state control.


    Reading list.

    1.Literature for all themes:

    The Constitution of the Republic of Latvia and 4 literature sources in the Latvian language.

    1. Constitution as a legal base for a system and functions of organs of the state. - The 4th Baltic-Norvegian conference on Constitution issues, Tallinn, 1996.
    2. On the State of the EU Integration Process- Enlargement and Institutional Reforms, vol. 1.-2., Budapest, 1997.

    2. Literature for separate themes:

    For themes Nr.1.-5.

    1.-29. Sources in Latvian language.

    1. Constitutions of the countries of the world. - New York, Ocean publication, 1994., Vol. 1 - 18.
    2. Constitutional making in Eastern Europe. - Baltimore, 1993.
    3. Constitutional and Administrative Law. Second Edition. London, 1994.
    4. King Riger. The State in modern society. - New Jeisay, 1986.
    5. Wallington M.A., Lec Robert G. Blaktones. Statutes of Public Law. Fifth edition. London, 1996.
    6. Ducat Craig R., Chase Harold. Modern Constitutional Law. - New York, 1992.
    7. Stephen T. Early Jr. and others. Responsible Government. American and Britisch. - London, 1995.
    8. James Mac Gregor Burns and Peltoson J.W. with Thomas E. Cronin. Government by the People. National Edition. - Washington, 1993.
    9. Lijphart Arend . Democracies. - New Haven , London, 1994.
    10. Constutionalism in transformation: European and theoretical perspectives, Edited by Richard Bellany and Dario Caltiglione.- Blackwell Publishers, Great Britain, Norwich, 1996.
    11. James M. Buchanen. The Economics and the Etnics of constitutional order.- The University of Michigan Press, 1992.
    12. Cecil S. Emden. The People and the Constitution. - Oxford, 1956.
    13. Stephen Holmes. Comparative Constitutional Law. - CEU, 1997.
    14. O.Hool Philips. Constitutional and Administrative Law. Seven edition. - London, Sweeds Maxwell, 1987.
    15. Irvins Stevens. Constitutional & Administrative Law. 3rd edition. - London, 1996.

    For theme Nr.6.

    6 literature sources in the Latvian language.

    1. Human Rights for the 21th Century. - London and Washington, 1997.
    2. Andras Sajo. Constitutionalism and Rights in post-comunist Europe.- Central European University,CEU, 1997., p. 141.-178., p. 219-246., p.305.-315.
    3. Cranston Maurice. What are human Rights. - New York, 1973.
    4. Pollis Adamantia, Peter Schwab. Human rights. - Praeges Publishers, 1979.

    For theme Nr.7.

    9 literature sources in the Latvian language.

    1. Parry Clieve. Nationality and Citizenship Laws. - London, 1957.
    2. Guido van der Berghe. Political rights of European Citizens. - Cornwall, 1982.
    3. Constitutionalism in transformation, p. 122.-141.

    For theme Nr.8.

    5 literature sources in the Latvian language.

    For themes Nr.9.-10.

    4 literature sources in the Latvian language.

    1. Andras Sajo. Constitutionalism and Rights in post-communist Europe.- CEU , 1997., p. 179.-246., p. 396.-399.
    2. Comparative Contitutional Law.- CEU , 1996., p. 296.1.-296.9.
    3. Stephen Holmes. Comparative Constitutional Law. - CEU, 1997., p. 3.-37., 77.-119., 186.-227.

    For theme Nr.11.

    5 literature sources in the Latvian language.

    1. Stephen Holmes. Comparative Constitutional Law. - CEU, 1997., p. 228.- 251.
    2. Lijphart Arend . Parlamentary versus Presidental government. - Oxford university press, 1992.
    3. Andras Sajo. Constitutionalism and Rights in post-communist Europe.- CEU , 1997., p. 182.-186.

    For theme Nr.12.

    5 literature sources in the Latvian language.

    1. Stephen Holmes. Comparative Constitutional Law. - CEU, 1997., p. 186.- 303.

  • For theme Nr.13.
  • 5 literature sources in the Latvian language.
    1. Comparative Constitutional Law. - CEU, 1996., p. 297.- 323.

  • For theme Nr.14.
  • 3 literature sources in the Latvian language.
    1. Comparative Constitutional Law. - CEU, 1996., p. 253.- 296., 572.-597., 610.-625.
    2. Bickel A.M. The Supreme Court and the Idea of Progress.- New Haven and London: Jale university Press, 1978.

    For theme Nr.15.

    2 literature sources in the Latvian language.

    4. Faveran L. Les cours constitutionnelles. - Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1986.

    5. Comparative Constitutional Law. - CEU, 1996., p. 250.- 264., 626.-632.

    1. Andras Sajo. Constitutionalism and Rights in post-communist Europe.- CEU, 1997., p. 196.-304., 355.-363.
    2. Stephen Holmes. Comparative Constitutional Law. - CEU, 1997., p. 3.-19.

    For theme Nr.16.

    2 literature sources in the Latvian language.

  • Head of Department of the State Law,
  • associated professor, Dr. phil.Z.Mikainis




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