Leverhulme Research Fellowship
Human Dignity and Constitutionalism in Europe
Dr Catherine Dupré
Catherine Dupré holds a PhD from the European University Institute. She is an Associate Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law.
She is the director of the Human Rights and Democracy Forum based at the University of Exeter.
Her office hours are onTuesdays and Thursdays between 2.30 pm and 3.30 pm, in B112 (Amory building)
My work focuses on the interaction between human rights, democracy and constitutionalism in Europe.
I have been a pioneer in studying and developing the concept of human dignity in the field of comparative constitutional law and my latest monograph, The Age of Dignity: Human Rights and Constitutionalism in Europe (Hart 2015) was the first comprehensive and theoretical engagement with these issues in the European context. You can watch me discuss key issues of this book in the Dignity Rights International reading group in January 2021.
I expanded the original theoretical scope of my research with an ESRC-funded project on ‘Human Dignity in UK Legal Practice: Realities, Challenges, Potentials’ in collaboration with Daniel Bedford (University of Portsmouth) and barristers from London-based chambers, including Doughty Street, Garden Court and Matrix. This work fed into a special issue of the European Human Rights Law Review on human dignity in UK legal practice (issue 2/2019) that I guest-edited .
I have continued to explore the connections between human dignity and democracy and I have co-edited (together with Daniel Bedford, Gabor Halmai and Panos Kapotas) a collection entitled ‘Human Dignity and Democracy in Europe: Synergies, Tensions and Crises’ (E Elgar 2022). You can watch a discussion of this book hosted by Dignity Rights International on 4 May 2022. This project also built on my earlier research on Hungarian constitutionalism which took on renewed significance following the adoption of the Hungarian Fundamental Law in 2011. At that time, I was one of the first scholars to engage in critical discussion of the Hungarian government’s self-proclaimed turn to ‘illiberal democracy’ and my analysis of the Fundamental Law’s provision on human dignity was translated into Hungarian, Spanish, Italian and French (see publications page).
My research on constitutionalism has also included the unprecedented constitutional reform process in Iceland, which followed the collapse of their banking system in 2008. Together with Agust Thor Arnason, I co-edited the first comprehensive study of the reform from beginning to end which brings together key actors in that process: Icelandic Constitutional Reform: People, Processes, Politics (Routledge 2020). The book was launched in December 2020 at the University of Akureyri (Iceland). Most contributors took part in the discussion, including the Icelandic Prime Minister who opened the event and the President of the Republic of Iceland who paid tribute to the work of Agust Thor Arnason.
More recently, I have extended my reflection on time, human dignity and democracy in relation to the issues of climate change and the rights of future generations. You can watch my presentation at the University of Essex human rights and climate change symposium in June 2021 here.
I am happy to supervise postgraduate research on most topics of comparative constitutional law with a European focus, and I have a special interest in human rights, human dignity, constitutional crises, constitutional justice and adjudication, constitutional reform and drafting, as well as ECHR law.
- LAW1035 - Constitutional and Administrative Law
- LAW3171 - Human Rights and Human Dignity
- LAWM146 - Dignity, Democracy and the Law
- LAWM686 - Approaches to Research in Law (ESRC)