Czech Constitutional Court: Constitution Provides Space for Legislators in Implementing Social-Economic Rights
05 November 2019

The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms of the Czech Republic lists various provisions relating to the basic rights and freedoms of citizens in economy and social life. However, in reality, there could be opposite results because economic and social rights often conflict with other values ??protected by the Constitution. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court has traditionally used the proportionality test in case of a conflict of constitutional values. As a result, the Constitution leaves room for legislators to regulate content and restrictions on the implementation of these rights by law. This was conveyed by Constitutional Justice Jaroslav Fenyk of the Czech Republic representing the President of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetský in The 3rd Indonesian Constitutional Court International Symposium (ICCIS 2019), Short Course, and Call for Papers held by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia (MKRI) on Monday (4/11/2019) in Nusa Dua, Bali. 

 

Fenyk revealed that the Constitution of the Czech Republic has a poly-legal characteristic where, in a broader sense, it consists of constitutional laws that list basic human rights. Articles 26 to 35 of the charter list economic, social, and cultural rights. Moreover, international human rights treaties also influenced the development of the Constitution of the Czech Republic. 

 

A prosperous society, Fenyk explained, must have built a pyramid for the protection of human rights gradually, from political rights to personal and procedural rights, to economic and social rights at the top of the pyramid, or often referred to as positive rights. According to him, this assumption is not entirely true because modern democracies governed by the rule of law even 200 years ago have often put forward the concept of welfare that must be fulfilled by the state. 

 

"Nevertheless, I believe that state activities in relation to economic and social rights must follow the provisions that guarantee certain rights. There are those who facilitate the implementation of these rights, and if problems arise they must also support the implementation of those rights, and in fulfilling these rights there must also be benefits under those rights directly," Fenyk said in his presentation on "European-American Perspectives" in the fourth session of the international symposium, moderated by the President of the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of Afghan Constitution Muhammad Qasim Hashimiza. 

 

The next speaker Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Andora Dominique Rosseau outlined the diversity of protection of social and economic rights by the constitutional judiciary in Andorra. The Judge of the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland Justyn Piskorski talked about the transition of the Polish Constitution, which initially embraced communism.

 

Through the ICCIS, Short Course, and Call for Papers on November 4-7, 2019, hopefully the participating countries can form better relations to improve the role of the MKRI and similar institutions in protecting the constitutional rights of citizens in the world. (Sri Pujianti)

Translated by: Dedy/Yuniar Widiastuti