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Berlin Colloquium

Foto: Ksenya Kumm

Rethinking Law in a Global Context:

Violence, Surveillance, Secrecy:

Constitutionalism and  the "Deep State"

New technologies have increased the capacity of governments to make citizens itransparent to public authorities, wheras the internal structure and practices of the security apparatus remains subject to only very limited public oversight. This asymmetry raises a wide range of questions relating to the control and accountability of public authorities. These questions become particularly pressing when the state uses violence against individuals in the context of asymmetric warfare and when fighting terrorism. In this colloquium we will try to get a deeper understanding of some core issues and reflect on the public law frameworks that govern and ought to govern the practices of surveillance, secrecy and violence in liberal constitutional democracies.

The focus of the colloquium will be texts and presentations by invited guests. A leading scholar or practitioner will present a paper, which will then be discussed by the participants. Because the majority of invited guests are non-German native speakers, the language of the colloquium will mostly be English.

The colloquium is this years installment of the Berlin Colloquium Series on "Rethinking Law in a Global Context". Besides Prof. Kumm Profs. Ingolf Pernice, Georg Nolte, Christoph Möllers and Jan-Werner-Müller (Princeton) will occasionally participate as co-chairs.


15 April 2014 Introduction (students only)
22 April 2014

Wolfgang Neskovic

Former judge at the German Federal Court of Justice, former Member of  the Parliamentary Intelligence Supervisory Committee
29 April 2014

Frederik Roggan
Brandenburg University of Applied Police Sciences

Paper (pdf):

Part 1: Der tkü-spezifische Kernbereichsschutz im Verständnis des Zweiten Senats des BVerfG

Part 2: Anhang 2-bvr-236-08-1
06 May 2014

Students only

The Data Retention Decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

Decision in German (pdf)

Decision in English (pdf)
13 May 2014

Andrew Weissmann

NYU School of Law

The paper is available on Moodle (see link on the right) and is only accessible to students of the Humboldt-University

Two documents for background information:

1. Letter John. D. Bates (pdf)

2. Letter Reggie B. Walton (pdf)

20 May 2014

Documentary Film Screening

"Secrecy" (2008)
27 May 2014

Jack Balkin
Yale Law School

Paper (pdf): Old School/New School Speech Regulation
03 June 2014

Clemens Arzt

Berlin School of Economics and Law

Paper (pdf): Antiterrordatei verfassungsgemäß

Background information (to be read in advance):

Discussed Judgement of the Federal Constitutional Court (to be read in advance): Diskutiertes Urteil des BVerfG (Lektüre vorausgesetzt)

Report of the Government Committee concerning the Security Legislation in Germany from 28 Aug. 2013 (read up to page 35): Bericht der Regierungskommission zur Überprüfung der Sicherheitsgesetzgebung in Deutschland vom 28.8.2013 (Lektüre bis Seite 35)
10 June 2014

Deirdre Curtin

University of Amsterdam

Paper (pdf): Overseeing Secrets in the EU: A Democratic Perspective
17 June 2014

24 June 2014

The Right To Be Forgotten?
Removing Personal Information Found in Google Searches and Its Relevance for Surveillance

Documents (pdf)
1. Judgement of the European Court of Justice 13 May 2014
2. Removing Content from Google

1 July 2014

Moshe Halbertal

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Paper(pdf): Moral Challenges in Asymmetric Warfare