The Austrian Constitutional Court maintains a variety of bi- and multilateral contacts with other constitutional courts. In recent times, these contacts – that are supervised by the department of international affairs and protocol – have increased considerably. This development can be traced back to two phenomena: The increasing dissemination of constitutional jurisdiction on the continents – through the establishment of constitutional courts mostly based on the Austrian model – results in an elevated exchange of information and communication on a global scale. Concurrently, the ongoing process of the Europeanisation of constitutional law requires closer cooperation and networking of European and national courts.
Apart from the regular exchanges with constitutional courts in Europe – in particular with the Courts of Austria’s neighboring countries – new contacts are frequently established. Moreover, the Austrian Constitutional Court is a founding member both of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts (CECC) and the World Conference on Constitutional Justice (WCCJ).
The Conference of European Constitutional Courts
The Conference of European Constitutional Courts was established in 1972 in Dubrovnik. It unites the representatives of European constitutional courts and similar institutions that conduct a judicial review. It promotes the exchange of information between its members especially with regard to judicial review as well as the exchange of ideas on institutional, structural or miscellaneous problems in the field of public law and constitutional jurisdiction. Furthermore, the CECC takes measures in order to strengthen the independence of constitutional courts – a crucial element for the implementation and guarantee of democracy constitutionality – with a particular focus on the protection of human rights. The Conference strongly supports the development of lasting ties between European constitutional courts and similar institutions.
The Conference of European Constitutional Courts consists of 41 Full Members, one Associate Member (Belarus) and a number of Observers and invited guests (interested courts of countries outside of Europe like Israel, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia). From 2011 to 2014, the Constitutional Court of Austria has presided over the Conference for the second time and hosted the XVIth Congress of the CECC in Vienna in 2014. The website containing information on this Congress can still be accessed through the following link: XVIth Congress of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts.
The World Conference on Constitutional Justice (WCCJ)
The World Conference on Constitutional Justice is the result of the merging of linguistic and regional groups (inter alia the Conference of European Constitutional Courts, the Asian Constitutional Courts and the Ibero-American Conference on Constitutional Justice) with whom the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe has cultivated contacts since 1996. The aim of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice is to strengthen the cooperation of its members through the organization of regular congresses, the participation in regional conferences and seminars as well as the exchange of experiences and jurisdiction. No less than 93 constitutional judges from nine different linguistic and regional groups attended the first Congress of the WCCJ that took place in Cape Town in 2009. The main purpose of the Conference is to encourage the communication between constitutional judges on a global basis. Today its members include more than 110 constitutional courts, constitutional councils, and supreme courts with constitutional jurisdiction in Africa, America, Australia and Europe.