The seminar addresses the recent problems surrounding the erosion of a liberal-oriented rule of law in Central and Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on Hungary and Poland. The policies of the Orbán and Kaczyński administrations have raised foundational, pressing questions in academia and political spheres. Who is the sovereign? What constitutes political will and the body politic? What sort of legitimacy is necessary for political cohesion and how is legitimacy built and managed? This seminar will open up room for different perspectives and narratives, placing specific regional contexts in relation to broader philosophical thought concerning the limits and possibilities of a liberal rule of law (e.g., Habermas, Kelsen, Mouffe, Schumpeter, Schmitt).
The seminar is open to everybody who is interested in the topic.
Date: Wednesday 15 February 2017
Venue: The Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki; Unioninkatu 33, Seminar Room, 2. floor
Arranger: Dawid Bunikowski, LLD in legal theory

12:00   Welcoming with coffee, refreshments
Session I. “Practice” (Chair: Dr Heino Nyyssönen, University of Turku)
12:10  Dr Dawid Bunikowski (IGILT ESIL/Cardiff Centre for Law and Religion), The crisis in Poland, and Schmittian questions in “the rule of law” debate
12:40   Dr Katalin Miklossy (Aleksanteri Institute), The lack of the rule of law in the lawyers’ regime: Hungary
13:10   Dr Emilia Palonen (Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki), Populism and polarization in Hungary
13:40   Discussion
14:10 Coffee break
Session II. “Theory” (Chair: Dawid Bunikowski, Co-chair: Dr. Maria Varaki, Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights)
14:30   Dr Walter Rech (Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki), Political Subjects and Structural Constraints
15:00   Prof. Kaarlo Tuori (Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki), Constitutional courts, Schmitt and Kelsen 
15:30   Discussion
16:00   Concluding remarks
For more information, please contact Katalin Miklossy (katalin.miklossy(at)