Constitutional Judges and Secession. Lessons from Canada … twenty years later

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Abstract

In constitutional theory, the referendum is an instrument that allows for the expression of the popular will in government decisions and through which people are asked to vote directly on an issue or policy. Over the last decades, the referendum has been the instrument used by minority groups to claim their independence supported by popular will. This paper examines trends in constitutional jurisprudence on the issue of independence referendums. The birth of this constitutional trend can be found in the 1998 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Reference Re Secession of Quebec. The principles developed therein have been further explored in two recent cases, issued by the Italian Constitutional), and by the Spanish Constitutional Tribunal in the latest decision of the Catalonia saga (Judgment no. 114/2017).

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