On 5th June 2019, Dr. Derek O’Brien, Senior Lecturer at the Truman Bodden Law School, attended the Max-Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt, Germany, to deliver a paper on constitutional interpretation. The Max-Planck Institute is one of the leading research institutes in Europe, specialising in legal history and legal transfers in the common law world.
Dr O’Brien’s paper was based on a chapter which he has written for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Caribbean Constitutions of which he is one of the co-editors. The chapter interrogates the licence for judicial creativity granted to judges when interpreting the independence constitutions of the Commonwealth Caribbean which include clauses that save old colonial laws, such as the death penalty and laws which criminalise homosexuality, from constitutional challenge, even though these laws are in conflict with international human rights norms.
The workshop was attended by 15 comparative law scholars, including the Director of the Max Planck Institute, Professor Stefan Vongauer, formerly of the Department of Law at the University of Oxford.
Dr O’Brien’s attendance was funded jointly by the Max-Planck Institute and by the Truman Bodden Law School.