The Tunisian constitution foresees creation of a Constitutional Court (CC), which will replace the temporary Instance provisoire de la constitutionnalité des projets de lois. The law on the CC was adopted in 2015 (loi organique n° 2015-50 du 3 décembre 2015, relative à la Cour constitutionnelle) and it is now expected that the Court would be established in 2017/2018. According to the Constitution, the CC is composed of 12 members. The members are appointed by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People (the Parliament), and the Supreme Judicial Council and by the President of the Republic, on equal shares, according to the procedures defined by the Constitution and the law. Similarly, the Constitution and the law determine requirements, which candidates must fulfil to be considered for the appointment.
The new Court will face major challenges at the outset of its functioning. As there is a limited tradition of the constitutional justice in Tunisia, there may be a need for clarifying the complex dynamics and practical issues arising from this institution’s setting-up.The issues to be addressed in the first period of establishing and functioning of the future Tunisian Constitutional Court will include the internal rule of procedure and organization of the court’s work and most importantly how will the Court handle the substantive and procedural aspects of issuing the decision.
The Court will then need to contribute to strengthening the citizens’ awareness and understanding of their constitutional rights and the role that the Court plays in protecting these rights and the rule of law in Tunisia. It is the more relevant since the Constitutional Court has no precedent in Tunisian history. Therefore, an average citizen cannot be expected to easily understand the Court’s mission and mandate. On the contrary; there is a risk that the Court might be perceived as an abstract body with little connection to the day-to-day life of Tunisians. At the same time, the citizens’ sense of ownership and responsibility as well as their consciousness of the Court’s role as part of the constitutional rule of law system in Tunisia will be important in protecting its independence from any political attempts to curb or limit its powers in the future.
Some of the concrete issues, which will have to be addressed during the initial period of the Court’s functioning, will include the motivation of the Court’s decisions; the first Court’s decisions will then have to refer to the laws preceding the constitution the Court will then, inter alia, must address the constitutional interpretation of the limitations of the constitutional rights and freedoms.
To promote debate on these issues amongst academics and practitioners as well as to promote the exchange of the comparative experiences DRI will partner with Association Tunisienne de Droit Constitutionnel (ATDC) in organizing series of activities focused on the CC. As such DRI and ATDC will bring together judges of foreign Constitutional Courts and Foreign constitutional experts together with Tunisian constitutional experts, academia, judges, members of parliament, civil society and media over the course of activities organized in Tunis on the following themes:
- A seminar on the subject “The Constitutional court and its environment” (Relationships with other judicial bodies, the role lawyers in triggering the constitutional process, insuring a good communication the court) – to be organized in May 2017;
- A set of diversified activities aiming at clarifying the constitutional court proceedings and mechanisms to the identified stakeholders.
Expected output of the assignment
The consultant will coordinate efforts with DRI team based in Tunis in preparing the seminar: the Constitutional Court and its environment
The consultant will provide substantive inputs and coordinate other DRI’s activities focused on the constitutional court.
Process methodology and approach
The consultant will work with DRI team based in Tunis and occasionally with DRI’s foreign consultants to coordinate preparations for presentation of inputs. The consultant will contribute to the activities by providing substantive presentations as well as will actively contribute to the discussions during events and during individual meetings and working sessions.
The mission will be carried out in Tunis.
Tasks and deliverables of the consultant
Under the direct supervision of the DRI Tunisia Country Director, the consultant will be responsible for:
- Coordinating efforts in organising the seminar “The constitutional court and its environment” that will be held on 23 May 2017 in collaboration with DRI’s team and identified experts;
- Coordination, preparation, delivery of presentations and participation to debates during upcoming events and activities focused on the Constitutional court.
- Other support to the activities focusing on increasing public awareness on the Constitutional court as per the needs.
Deliverables for each mission:
- Coordination for seminar organisation
- Seminar moderation
- Coordination and preparation of presentations and inputs for upcoming DRI’s events on the constitutional court.
Duration of the assignment
The Consultant will be contracted for a period of two months with maximum four working days (4 days) during the contract period starting from 23 May 2017.
Qualifications and competences
- Ph.D. in public/constitutional law;
- Expertise in working on constitutional law in Tunisia;
- At least 10 years of related work experience;
- Extensive proven experience working on constitutional justice;
- Proven extensive knowledge of the Tunisian constitutional justice legal framework;
- Proven network of contacts among Tunisian constitutional justice scholars and practitioners;
- Experience working with members of parliament, government and senior representatives of government institutions as well as with civil society;
- Teaching/training experience, experience in presenting during the conferences;
- Ability to provide written and oral concise analysis and to develop documents;
- Fluency in spoken and written Arabic and French.
DRI values diversity and aims to be an equal opportunities employer.
Interested candidates must send their application (cover letter and CV) in one pdf file to [email protected] and include “National Constitutional Expert Tunisia” in the subject line. Candidates must mention the source in which they found this opportunity.
Closing date for applications is 22 May 2017, 06:00 pm (Tunis time). Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
The position may be filled before the end of the deadline. Early applications are encouraged.