Constitutional Conventions in the Digital Era: Lessons from Iceland and Ireland

Paper by Silvia Suteu: “Mechanisms of constitutional development have recently attracted significant attention, specifically, instances where popular involvement was central to the constitutional change. Examples include attempts by British Columbia, the Netherlands, and Ontario at electoral reform, in addition to the more sweeping reforms sought in Iceland and Ireland. Each of these countries’ attempts exemplifies varied innovative avenues to reform involving participatory and partially citizen-led processes aimed at revitalizing politics. The little legal scholarship on these developments has provided an insufficient analytical account of such novel approaches to constitution-making. This Essay seeks to build upon the current descriptive work on constitutional conventions by focusing on the cases of Iceland and Ireland. The Essay further aims to evaluate whether the means undertaken by each country translates into novelty at a more substantive level, namely, the quality of the process and legitimacy of the end product. The Essay proposes standards of direct democratic engagements that adequately fit these new developments and further identifies lessons for participatory constitution-making processes in the digital twenty-first century….(More)”