A Playbook for Reinstating the
Rule of Law

Constitution as Practice in Times of Transformation (ConTrans)

20–21 June 2024
Aula, Kollegiengebäude I

About the Conference

As part of the Excellence Cluster Initiative “Constitution as Practice in Times of Transformation” (ConTrans), the two day conference is intended to shed light on the transition process back to the rule of law in Poland from a comparative perspective. Following an interdisciplinary approach, the conference aims to develop a playbook for reinstating the rule of law.


Register here




After an opening statement by Professor Paulina Starski, the Polish Minister of Justice Adam Bodnar will provide insight in the current challenges of restoring the rule of law in Poland. This will be followed by a talk by Professor Joseph H. H. Weiler on the populist challenges to liberal democracies in Europe. The conference continues in four panels with excellent scholars and practitioners from all over Europe and Australia. First, a legal-historical panel on the practice of legal transition processes, especially in recent Polish and Hungarian history. Second, an interdisciplinary panel on legal culture and communication, with a focus on the role of state media. Third, a theory-based panel on the role of the constitution in such a transitional process. Fourth, a panel on the impact of the European multi-level system on the rule of law in Poland and Hungary. Finally, in a concluding discussion, the nature and shape of a “playbook for reinstating the rule of law” will be examined.

20 June 2024

Opening Remarks


Paulina Starski

Keynote Speech


Adam Bodnar

Setting the Scene


Joseph H.H. Weiler

Coffee Break


Panel I


The Practice of Transition Processes

Chair Paulina Starski

Wojciech Sadurski (online)

Commentary Barbara Grabowska-Moroz

Dariusz Mazur

Petra Bárd

Commentary Márta Pardavi

Iris Canor

Commentary Rodrigo Cadore

Lunch Break


Panel II


Legal Culture and Communication

Chair Jens-Peter Schneider

Anna Wójcik

Commentary Kaja Kaźmierska (online)

Silvia von Steinsdorff

Commentary Beáta Bakó

Ethel Matala de Mazza

Commentary Antonia Paulus

Gabriele Britz

Commentary Johannes Vöhler

End of first Conference Day


Conference Dinner


Zum Roten Bären , Oberlinden 12, 79098 Freiburg
Chairs, Speakers and Commentators only

21 June 2024



Matthias Jestaedt

Panel III


Constitutional Transition

Chair Tom Daly

András Jakab

Commentary Aleksandra Kustra-Rogatka

Anna-Bettina Kaiser

Commentary Marcin Szwed

Christoph Bezemek

Commentary Rike Sinder

Coffee Break


Panel IV


Supranational Actors

Chair Sarah Katharina Stein

Dimitry Kochenov

Commentary Thomas Mollenhauer

Monica Claes

Commentary Luke Dimitrios Spieker

Diana Panke

Commentary Anna Śledzińska-Simon

Lunch Break


Concluding Discussion


Chair Paulina Starski

Tom Daly

Johannes Masing

Mirosław Wyrzykowski

End of Conference



  • Is there a registration fee?

    No, you can attend the conference for free.

  • Do I have to register?

    You are kindly asked to register if you attend in person. You do not need to register to follow the livestream.

  • Are students from faculties other than law also invited to join the conference?

    Yes! The conference is interdisciplinary in nature and directed at students from all faculties, especially law, political science and sociology.

  • Is the conference open for everyone?

    Yes, the conference is open for everyone who is interested, especially students.

  • Is there catering at the conference?

    Drinks and snacks will be provided during the coffee breaks, but not during the lunch breaks.

  • Where do I find information on the accessibility of the conference for people with disabilities?

    If you need information on the accessibility of the conference, please contact us at ruleoflaw@jura.uni-freiburg.de.


Freiburg im Breisgau
Aula, Kollegiengebäude I
Platz der Universität 3
79098 Freiburg

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Prof. Dr. Paulina Starski, University of Freiburg
Johannes Vöhler, University of Freiburg

University of Freiburg
Institute for Public Law
Department 1: European and International Law
Werthmannstraße 4
79098 Freiburg

About ConTrans

Modern constitutions are at the centre of sociopolitical hopes and conflicts. Often understood as foundational documents of modern nation-states, they are associated with permanence and stability. However, the limits of the modern conception of constitutions become apparent when it comes to understanding the basic orders of societies and communities across space and time. Constitutions are based on social practices, making them a factor in the process of adaptation of social orders. This dimension becomes especially prominent in times of economic, social, and political change and crisis but has so far been neglected. This implies the need for a consistently interdisciplinary approach.

To this end, ConTrans brings perspectives from different disciplines together for the first time – from law and history to literary studies and psychology – in a comprehensive and sustained endeavour to investigate constitutions as social practices. Only in this way is it possible to comprehend variations of constitutionality across space and time. They range from symbols, rituals, and procedures to the discursive function of ‘ancient constitutions’ in modern debates. This requires an innovative analytical framework to explore communicative and institutional practices of different actors.

The goal of the participating researchers is to establish an international and interdisciplinary constitutional research programme in the humanities and social sciences through ConTrans and to give it concrete form in a Freiburg Centre for Interdisciplinary Constitutional Studies (FreiCIC).


There will be a live stream of the conference available on this website. Registration is only required if you attend in person.

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