Constitutional Law

Constitutional law is a discipline which examines the constitutional grounds for the regime and the legal system. The most fundamental constitutional provisions have been collected in the Constitution of Finland, which came into force in the year 2000. Constitutional law defines the fundamental constitutional doctrines which define the legal system, such as respect for human dignity, the democratic principle, the representative principle, the distribution of power, parlamentarism, and the principle of rule of law.

The internal hierarchy of the legal system is also defined in constitutional law. A central issue in constitutional law are the fundamental rights which define the legal state of an individual in relation to the use of public force. Furthermore, constitutional law examines the meaning of international treaties on human rights in the Finnish legal system. It also defines the status of the supreme branches of the government (the Parliament, the president of the republic, the government, and courts of final appeal) and their relationship with each other, as well as the principles in the use of legislative, governmental, and judicial power. Constitutional law also includes the principles of relationships between national law and international law, the issues related to the combining of the legal systems of the European Union and Finland, as well as the questions related to the national preparation of matters related to the European Union.

The education in the discipline of constitutional law at the University of Turku emphasizes the issues related to the general doctrines of constitutional law as well as both fundamental and human rights. This is based on the tendency of the legal system to lean towards constitutional law, which has emphasized the meaning of fundamental rights in different fields of law as well as the legislative activity and practical search for legal solutions. European constitutional law, which studies the constitutional foundations of the European Union and is currently developing fast, also belongs to the field of study of constitutional law. Constitutional law has close connections to all other disciplines.

The discipline of constitutional law at the University of Turku has been working on a vast research project, ‘Transformations in Law and Power’, which is part of the multidisciplinary research programme ‘Power and Society in Finland’ (2007-2010) funded by the Academy of Finland.