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Rights and democracy: the multilevel protection of fundamental rights and the role of constitutional and European courts

Explore the relationship between rights and democracy at the present stage with a focus on the key role of national constitutional courts and European courts

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Master's
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Short-term
  • CIVIS Hub 2
Course dates
13 - 17 June 2022
Application deadline extended to 21 March 2022

The summer school aims to analyze the complex and delicate phase of the development of contemporary democracies. Indeed, they seem to be struggling with an identity and values crisis that jeopardizes the very stability of fundamental rights. In this context, could the dialogue between national constitutional Courts and European Courts actually contribute to the progressive construction of a common heritage of rights? Moreover, may this trend represent one of the suitable ways to overcome the democratic crisis, also understood as a "crisis of rights"? The main goal of the course thus is to offer an opportunity for exploring this problematic framework and to discuss possible perspectives for a democratic "revitalization" in Europe, with a particular focus on the so-called "dialogue between courts".

Main topics

  • The common European heritage;
  • The crisis of democracy in Europe and its relationship with the protection of rights;
  • The most recent trends in the "dialogue" between national constitutional Courts, common jurisdictions, the CJEU and the ECtHR;
  • The heterogeneous and undefined complex of the so-called "third" or even "fourth" generation of rights;
  • The problematic relationship between constitutional courts and legislative power.

Learning outcomes

The course aims to:

  • Deepen the knowledge relating to the issue of democracy and protection of rights in the European context;
  • Provide key competencies to understand the decision-making procedures of constitutional courts and European courts;
  • Foster an empirical perspective through the analysis of relevant case-law;
  • Encourage constructive exchanges between participants;
  • Experience international collaboration and teamwork.
Application deadline extended to 21 March 2022
Location: Rome, Italy ECTS: 3* 
Language: English (B2) Format: Physical**

Contact hours: 35

N° of CIVIS scholarships: 25

Students accepted: 30

*The recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. 

**The physical format of the course may change depending on the development of the current pandemic. If overseas traveling and in-person teaching are not advisable, the entire course will be transferred online.

A maximum of 30 CIVIS students will be accepted in the course and a total of 25 CIVIS scholarships will be given. Please, note that students from the University of Glasgow and the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (PLUS) will not be eligible for the CIVIS scholarships, but they may apply for internal funds.


This CIVIS course is open to Master's and PhD students at one of the 10 CIVIS member universities. Applicants should be enrolled or have a strong interest in the following fields of studies: law, political science, social studies, and humanities. 

An intermediate level of English (B2 or above) is required. However, language certificates are not requested.

Schedule of the course

The summer school will take place in person, scheduling activities both during the morning and the afternoon, including round-table discussions, frontal lectures, workshops, working groups, and student presentations. The course will also involve invited guest lectures. 

Additional cultural and social events will be organized, such as an optional visit to an Italian political institution (or a cultural tour) and a social dinner in order to reinforce the bond between students coming from different CIVIS universities.

Application process

Applicants will be selected on the basis of their academic background and motivation. 

The evaluation will be based on students’ active involvement in classes and workshops and on the ground of the group presentations. 

Applicants should send their CV and a short motivational statement (max. 2 pages) in English to before 21 March 2022.

Selected applicants will be notified on 23 March 2022.


Students will be assessed by participant instructors based on their final group presentations and their involvement during the summer school’s activities.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Application deadline extended to 21 March 2022
  • Antonio Lopez Castillo, Professor of Constitutional Law, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.                                             
  • Raphaël Déchaux, Lecturer of Public Law, Aix-Marseille University.
  • Athina Dimoupoulou, Professor of Legal History, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
  • Martin Nettesheim, Professor of Constitutional, Administrative, European and International Law, University of Tuebingen.      
  • Maria Grazia Rodomonte, Professor of Public Law and Constitutional justice, University Sapienza of Rome.
  • Nathalie Rubio, Professor of Public and European Law, Aix-Marseille University.
  • Elena Simina Tănăsescu, Professor of constitutional and EU law, University of Bucharest; and judge of the Constitutional Court of Romania.