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Editors - Constitutional Law


Prof. André ALEN


Education and academic qualifications

  • Law studies at the KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) (1968-1973; licentiate in law, magna cum laude)

  • Ph.D in law at the KU Leuven on 2 June 1983 (doctoral thesis on the historical and philosophical sources of the Belgian Constitution, awarded a scientific prize)


Professional activities

a. Judicial activities

-Judge of the Belgian Constitutional Court (2001 until present)

-Ad hoc judge with the European Court of Human Rights(2010 until present)

b. Non-judicial legal activities

- barrister traineeship before the Brussels Court of Appeal (1976-1978)

- “assistant” (tutor - lecturer) (1973-1977) and professor of constitutional law at the KU Leuven (1986 until present); professor of constitutional law at Ghent University (1984-1994); visiting professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain (1997-1998); visiting professor at the University of Fribourg (1998)

- “assessor” (professor lending professional advice and assistance) in the Legislation Division of the Council of State (providing legal opinions on draft legislation and draft regulations) (1992-2001)


Activities and experience in the field of human rights

  1. As a judge of the Belgian Constitutional Court (composed of six French-speaking and six Dutch-speaking judges): established in 1980 in order to resolve the competence conflicts between the federal and federated legislators, the Court’s jurisdiction has been enlarged in 1989 and mainly in 2003 to include examining whether constitutional human rights have been respected by all legislators. The vast majority (95%) of the Court’s workload concerns this type of issue. Moreover, the Court reads constitutional rights in combination with analogous treaty provisions binding on Belgium, and in particular the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Belgian Constitutional Court thus interprets constitutional rights in the light of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, which is widely cited in Constitutional Court’s judgments.


  1. As a professor of constitutional law:

  • Human rights represent a significant part of the course on constitutional law.

  • Many publications pertain to these issues (e.g. the principle of equality). The same goes for the symposia I organised (e.g. regarding minority rights and regarding children’s rights). Moreover, more than half of the 20 PhD. theses for which I served as a jury member, concerned human rights (including, e.g., the freedoms of opinion and of speech, the right to family life, language freedoms, and socio-economic rights).    


  1. Academic research:

  • My previous academic research concerned the theory and practice of federal       systems.
  • The subject of my current academic research concerns the relations between the European constitutional courts, the European Court of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights.

  • Other research topics included:

  • Children’s rights (in particular, an inter-university research project entitled “Human rights of children. Implementation and monitoring through participation”, and which included an international symposium and the publications mentioned below;

  • The protection of minorities (symposia in South Africa and on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, and several publications).


  1. Expert Advice given concerning foreign conflicts:

  2. Former Yugoslavia (Cavtat, 21-24 October 1990): section president in the conference “Democratic Governance in Multi-Ethnic States”, organised by W.F. Mondale;

  3. South Africa (1-15 August 1993): several speeches and meetings during the establishment of the new Constitution;

  4. Cyprus (18-21 January 2000): research concerning the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, with a report to the Vice Secretary General of the United Nations, Alvaro de Soto;

  5. Congo (Kinshasa, 4-9 February 2007): legal opinion for a commission charged with the establishment of laws implementing the new Constitution, concerning the high jurisdictions.


Public activities

Advisor to the Minister of Justice (1978-1979); Deputy Chief of Cabinet for the Prime Minister (1979-1981) ; Chief of Cabinet for the Minister of Institutional Reform (1981-1984) and for the Prime Minister (1984-1987) ; Secretary of the Council of Ministers (1985-1992). These functions have allowed me to steer the 1980, 1988 and 1993 Belgian state reforms and have helped me to acquire knowledge and experience in the field of federalism. 


Other activities

  • Member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Literature of Belgium, section Literature (1999 until present);

  • Member of the International Association of Constitutional Law ;

  • Fellow of the European Law Institute (ELI) ;

  • Member of the European Summer University organised by the Institute of Federalism of the University of Fribourg (courses on federalism, statements in symposia, e.g. 15 March 2004 on “Federalism: A Tool for Conflict Management in Multicultural Societies with regard to the Conflicts in the Near East”);

  • Legal opinions :

    • To the Presidents of the Houses of Parliament (e.g. concerning the concurrence of a parliamentary enquiry and a judicial enquiry);

    • To the Federal Government concerning a new draft Belgian Constitution (1993-1994);

    • To the European Parliament on a draft Constitution for the European Union (1993);

  • President and Member of the scientific committee of two law journals;

  • Speeches (± 120) in Belgian and international colloquia; representation of the Belgian Constitutional Court in international symposia (e.g. as general rapporteur of the XIIth Conference of European Constitutional Courts;

  • Author of several journal articles and book chapters.


Other relevant information

  • Honorary title of baron, granted by the King in 1993;

  • Active role in the Belgian state reform.


Institute for Constitutional Law – KU Leuven
Collegium Falconis
Tiensestraat 41 - bus 3441
3000 Leuven
Tel.: ++32 16 32 51 42    
Fax: ++32 16 32 54 66

Building 103.03, room 03.10.


Constitutional Court
Koningsplein 7
1000 Brussels
Tel.: ++ 32 2 500 12 88
Fax: ++ 32 2 500 12 70



Prof. David HALJAN


David Haljan is a Senior Research Fellow with Institute for Constitutional Law, University of Leuven. He was a HiiL Fellow between 2007 and 2010 wih the Constitutional and Administrative Law Group, University of Utrecht. He holds a PhD (Laws) from the University of Leuven (2007), an LLM from King's College London (1995), and an LLB from Osgoode Hall (1991). He is a member of the Bars of Ontario and Alberta, and specialised in commercial and administrative litigation. He has published a number of articles, notes, and reviews.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Instituut voor Constitutioneel Recht

Tiensestraat 41

3000 Leuven



Tel: +32 16 32.52.13

Fax: +32 16 32.54.66




  • Last modified 21-09-2015