The program is focused on comparative constitutional law. Within this broader area, the main focus lies on the problems of constitutional systems in the context of changes in the form of government, state establishment and state regime in a comparative perspective (topics such as the introduction of constitutional courts, constitutional aspects of the dealing with the past, judiciary self-government, key issues of the application of fundamental rights in individual states, comparison of the nature and functions of public authorities, etc.).
The program is an interdisciplinary one. It is therefore intended for graduates of a master's degree program in law or other social sciences (mainly political science, international relations, European studies). The program will be open to applicants from around the world. This opens the possibility of studying constitutional issues at the doctoral level for applicants who would otherwise be prevented by the language barrier from doing so (at MU Law Faculty). The accreditation of the program thus meets the requirements of the labor market in the field of science and research, where the need for an interdisciplinary approach to legal problems is increasingly emphasized.
Please see the official programme catalogue for the overview of courses.
Ph.D. theses topics
The following illustrative topics fall within the degree programme:
- "Protoconstitutionalism": analysis of limits imposed on political power in early modern Europe
- Conseil constitutionnel in the French constitutional and political system
- Disciplining and removing judges: analysis of in a selected legal system
- Judicial self-restraint and its techniques: comparative approaches
- Political question doctrines: comparative approaches
- Bicameralism in the 21st century: legitimacy, role and debate
- Conceptual analysis of human rights
- Bills of rights till the first half of the 20th century: origins, historical context, later application
- Origins of human rights discourses in classical antiquity and medieval Europe
- Drafting of Legislation and Legislative Process (any topic related to these fields, application of empirical methods is expected)
- Relationship between European and National Constitutional Law (any topic related to these fields, with the emphasis on „resistence“ of national level towards the EU law, e.g. national identity, discretion during implementation)
- Constitutional Changes and their Short- and Longterm Impact on the Political System (any topic related to this field)
- Learning outcomes
- Occupational Profiles of Graduates
- Practical Training
- Goals of Theses
are available from the official programme catalogue.
Key staff profiles
Robert Zbíral is an associate professor at Masaryk University Faculty of Law. He studied political science and law at Palacky University in Olomouc (Ph.D. in constitutional law) and was a research fellow at University of Michigan School of Law. He works as a law clerk to the Justice of the Czech Constitutional Court and is a member of the Legislative Council of the Czech Government (Working Group for EU law). Among his main areas of research belong implementation of EU law, division of competences between the EU and Member States, legisprudence or use of empirical methods in law. He has received several grants from the European Commission or Czech Grant Agency. He authored more five monographs and several dozens articles and chapters, his publications have appeared in the Common Market Law Review, Journal of European Public Policy, Hart Publishing or Oxford University Press.
David Kosař is the Head of the Judicial Studies Institute at Masaryk University Faculty of Law. He was awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant to investigate “The rise of judicial self-government and repercussions for separation of powers” (2016-2021). He studied law in Brno (Masaryk University, M.A. in law), the Central European University (LL.M.) and the New York University School of Law (J.S.D.). He previously worked as a law clerk to the Vice-President of the Czech Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic and to the Justice of the Czech Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic. He has been an invited speaker and lecturer at dozens of universities in Europe, to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and to the European Network of the Councils for the Judiciary. His areas of research include various aspects of constitutional law and politics, judicial studies, transitional justice, human rights law, and constitutional theory. His latest book “Perils of Judicial Self-Government in Transitional Societies” (CUP, 2016) investigates the different forms of how judges are held to account and studies how judicial councils affect the use of mechanisms of judicial accountability. His recent publications have appeared in the American Journal of Intl. Law | European Journal of Intl. Law | Heidelberg Journal of Intl. Law | Intl. Journal of Const. Law | European Const. Law Review | Hague Journal of the Rule of Law | German Law Journal | Utrecht Law Review |.
Ladislav Vyhnálek is an assistant professor at Masaryk University Faculty of Law. He was awarded a prestigious grant from the Czech Grant Agency to investigate how extra-legal factors influence the Czech Constitutional Court’s decision-making (2017-2019). He studied law in Brno (Masaryk University, M.A. in law and Ph.D. in constitutional law) and the New York University School of Law (LL.M., Fulbright Scholar). He has worked as a law clerk to the Justice of the Czech Constitutional Court. His areas of research include various aspects of constitutional law and theory, judicial studies and human rights law. He (co)authored several books and numerous academic articles in the fields of (comparative) constitutional law, human rights law and judicial studies. Recent peer reviewed publications have appeared in the European Constitutional Law Review | Vienna Journal of Intl. Const. Law | Heidelberg Journal of International Law.
Furthermore, the Ph.D. researchers may use the possibility to consult their respective topics with other members of the Department of Constitutional Law and Political Science, the Judicial Studies Institute and selected members of the Institute of State and Law of the Czech Academy of Sciences.