Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit in der Tschechoslowakei (1920-1939)

Verfassungsidee – Demokratieverständnis – Nationalitätenproblem

[Constitutional Jurisdiction in Czechoslovakia, 1920-1939
Constitutional Ideas, Concepts of Democracy and the Problem of Nationalities]

Jana Osterkamp

Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte 243
Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann 2009. X, 309 p.

ISSN 1610-6040
ISBN 978-3-465-04073-6

The Czechoslovak constitution of 1920 introduced a new prototype into the history of European constitutional jurisdictions. For the first time worldwide, a special court was erected with the power to invalidate any unconstitutional law. In contrast to the Austrian Constitutional Court, the Czechoslovak Constitutional Court has been largely forgotten. This book reconstructs its history for the first time on the basis of yet unexplored archival sources. Beyond analyses of its most important decisions, the book also covers the multivocal legal debates on its development. With impressive methodological complexity, it included approaches from natural law, constitutional and legal positivism, as well as innovations from the pure theory of law emerging out of the Brno school. Comparing the Czechoslovak constitutional jurisdiction with those in Austria and the Weimar Republic shows its innovative potential as well as inhibitive structures.

The author simultaneously attends to the contemporary political problems that affected constitutional jurisdiction. These include the conflicts over parliamentary democracy and enabling acts, economic crises, the influence of political parties, the loss of parliamentary power and especially the problem of nationalities, which reached a head in 1938.

The book received the Werner Pünder Prize in 2008.

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