Constitutional Law
Constitutional Law
Study: Law - 3. semester
Code: 79145
ECTS: 8.0
Course coordinators: prof. dr. sc. Branko Smerdel
Lecturers: doc. dr. sc. Ana Horvat Vuković - Lectures
Basic data
Constitutional Law Law - 3. semester
8.0 79145
Lecturer in charge Consultations Location
prof. dr. sc. Branko Smerdel Trg Republike Hrvatske 3, room 15/I
Lecturer Consultations Location
doc. dr. sc. Ana Horvat Vuković (Lectures)

Office hours: Fridays from 11 a.m. or by appointment (

Trg Republike Hrvatske 3, room 10
The Constitution of the Republic of Croatia; Novi informator (2010), str. 15-67
Branko Smerdel; The Constitutional Order of the Republic of Croatia on the Twentieth Anniversary of the "Christmas" Constitution - the Constitution as a political and legal act; Novi informator (2010), str. 83-171
Besselink, L.; Bovend Eert; P., Broeksteeg; H., de Lange, R.; Voermans, W.J.M.; Constitutional Law of the EU Member States; Kluwer (2014)
Fleiner, T.; Basta Fleiner, L.; Constitutional Democracy in a Multicultural and Globalised World; Springer (2009)
Branko Smerdel; Design and operation of the "hybrid" presidency - evaluation of the power sharing in the Croatian top executive; Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu, 65 (2015) 2 (2015), str. 181-211
Branko Smerdel; In quest of a doctrine: Croatian constitutional identity in the European Union; Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu, 64 (2014) 4 (2014), str. 513-534
Branko Smerdel; Central European Democratic Transition: The Paradigm of; Eleven International Publishing, Hague (2014), str. 51-62
Branko Smerdel; Đorđe Gardašević; The notion of Security and Free Access to Information Creation and Development; Politics in Central Europe - The Journal of the Central European Political Science Association, 2 (2007) (2007), str. 24-37
Branko Smerdel; Croatian Parliament in a Comparative Perspective; Croatian critical law review, 1 (1996) 1-2 (1996), str. 137-154
Branko Smerdel; The Constitution of Europe Convention on the Future of Europe and the Process of Constitutional Choices; Revus revija za evropsko ustavnost, 1 (2003) 1 (2003), str. 4-14
Branko Smerdel; Ethics in government: conflict of interest and the Constitution; Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu, 50 (2000) 5 (2000), str. 769-794
This course offers instruction in the historical, philosophical and legal-theory roots of modern political institutions that form the general framework of government - Croatian as well as comparative. It analyses the background structures of the state s organizational scheme, i.e. the interplay of the three branches of government as well as their functions and limitations, the foremost of which is the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms. The students should become able to analyze the various modalities of judicial reasoning and argumentation, and to articulate informed opinions on important and controversial constitutional issues.
Exam dates
Detailed data
Cognitive Skills:

After successfully mastering of the course, students will be able to:

Recognise and analyse sources and significance of a constitution, and its primary importance in the context of strengthening the entire legal architecture of the state.

Develop a framework for understanding the dynamics of the relationship between the state (in its various manifestations) and its citizens, primarily with regard to the origins, significance and mechanisms of the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Understand the demands of fundamental principles of rule of law, constitutionalism and supremacy of constitutional values, and be able to apply them to everyday life in the Republic of Croatia.

Distinguish between, and apply methods of constitutional interpretation, and use them in the application of constitutional provisions to practical cases.

Understand the origins and principles of constitutional jurisprudence, and analyse and critically evaluate decisions of the Constitutional Court in the interpretation of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia.

Develop the skills needed to critically assess social and political institutions, their interdependence and changes related to social, political and economic development of society.

Gain a detailed insight into the contents of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, especially regarding the mechanisms of separation of powers and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Critically evaluate constitutional provisions of the Republic of Croatia in comparison with the constitutional provisions of other states. Deconstruct various social, political and economic circumstances that cause these differences, and identify common challenges and possibilities to learn from comparative examples.

Define the position of the Republic of Croatia in international legal hierarchy, applying a critical stance towards the principles of state sovereignty and supremacy of international and supranational law (EU Law) over fundamental provisions of the Croatian Constitution.

Practical and Generic Skills:

After successfully mastering the course, students will be able to understand the social determination of individual phenomena so that, instead of using a purely legal approach, they will also be able to rationally plan and prepare drafts of important regulations from the field of political legislation on the state and local level.

Students will also increase their capacity to understand social events, e.g. to follow newspapers or television reports while understanding the meaning of the statistical error in reports about public opinion polls

Students will also develop presentation skills, and the skill of having argumented debates and polemics about regulations, both during and after their drafting.

Matching Assessments to Learning Outcomes:

Knowledge will be tested by two partial (midterm) exams, and by a final exam (consisting of a written and oral part).

A partial exam (midterm) is a written form of testing in which students have to show that they can define basic constitutional law and political concepts, reproduce explanations of certain basic political processes, group phenomena (e.g. recognise the problem of minority integration in various contexts), and compare concepts, their meanings and explanatory scope from the standpoint that every rule is intended for application, as well as draft how a certain problem could be researched or explained through various theoretical frameworks, with the aim of regulation on the constitutional law level.

Written part of the final exam consists of a reproduction of elementary explanations of various phenomena, of a comparison of some elementary concepts and explanations from diferent theoretical perspectives, and of the application of concepts and theories to the explanation of various simple phenomena.

Oral part of the final exam consists of testing the understanding of basic concepts and theories, of a comparison of these theories and concepts, of the demonstration of ability to apply them to an explanation of social phenomena and everyday occurrences, and of the evaluation of the applicability of these concepts and theories in the sense of their explanatory power for individual phenomena.