The prestigious World Congress of Constitutional Law will be hosted by the Faculty of Law of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) from 5-9 December 2022. This announcement was made by Prof David Bilchitz – Professor of Constitutional and Fundamental Rights at the University of Johannesburg and Director of SAIFAC – in his speech at the closing ceremony of the World Congress of Constitutional Law which has successfully concluded in Seoul, South Korea. Prof Bilchitz was re-elected as Secretary-General of the International Association of Constitutional Law at its four-yearly Council.
Prof Bilchitz explained in his speech that, ‘This is the first time the World Congress of Constitutional Law will be hosted on the African continent. It is indeed fitting that it is hosted by the University of Johannesburg which itself is a symbol of the new South African constitutional order. UJ is widely regarded as successfully having merged higher educational institutions that were divided on the basis of race to create a unified, multi-cultural, dynamic institution. After just one decade in existence, the University and the Faculty of Law have become leading institutions on the African continent seeking to provide high-quality education to its students and make significant contributions to knowledge through its research.’
The World Congress of Constitutional Law brings together academics from across the world to connect with one another as well as discuss and debate the most central questions facing constitutional law and human rights today. In Seoul, over 80 countries were represented and, most notably, there was substantial representation from the Global South.
Prof Bilchitz explained that ‘Johannesburg is the right location for the next World Congress as it is the seat of the Constitutional Court an institution that has made such an important contribution to the entrenchment of fundamental rights and democracy in South Africa. It has also been influential and inspirational to other countries the world for its rich and innovative case law.’
The International Association of Constitutional Law invited an open call for bids to host the 11th World Congress 2022. The University of Johannesburg was supported by the Gauteng Convention Bureau in its preparation of the bid.
Asked about his vision for the World Congress, Bilchitz stated: ‘I hope it will be an opportunity for people from around the world to learn about South African constitutionalism and to experience the vibrant democracy we have become. In the face of many darkening forces around the world, and despite our problems, South Africa remains a beacon of hope. I hope that it will enable us to engage in depth with the common difficulties we face with many other countries and also give expression to the international, global spirit that is embodied in the South African constitution.’