Public Law and Political Theory


José Canotilho 

In a perspective mainly focused on the present and future, the group of Public Law and Political Theory will go a long way toward investigating the role that is assigned to Constitutional Law and Administrative Law in a moment of globalization, multi-level governance, and of the announced end to the absolute sovereignty of the state.

At the same time, the articulation between private law and popular representation is now fundamental, since the decisions of the latter depend on its organization, through electoral laws and other legal frameworks. The present time has new or renewed demands, with the close connection between the national legal orders and the international order.

It is a framework with implications in a wide range of fields, for example in the area of contracts, justifying one of the lines of research to which CEJEA is devoted.


One of the objectives to be achieved by CEJEA, in a line of articulation between political theory and public law, is to determine if the electoral law is now an autonomous right, and what the normative standards are that contribute to it. Along with other analyses, taking into account that in the year 2020 we will enter a cycle of successive bicentennial anniversaries, starting with the Revolution of 1820 and the Constitution of 1822, one of the objectives of CEJEA will be to highlight the actuality of these memorable dates.

The Group has three Research Lines (RL):
RL1: Constitutional theory and history

Description: It is a line dedicated to the study of the legal-constitutional phenomenon in its multiple aspects, with particular emphasis on the constitutional history of our country. In this historiographic perspective, the two major chronological periods of pre-constitutionalism (12th to 19th century) and modern constitutionalism (19th to 21st century) are included.     

RL2: Contract theory

Description: This is a line that takes into account new perspectives on contracts, in a period in which the contributions of the economy and the law are approaching. The expansion of contracts "invades" rights, freedoms, leading doctrine, and dogma to overtake the saturated core of the “privatístic” juridical order. It is a law transformed into an "imperative law" (housing law, labor law), leading to a new legal transformation.

RL3: Transnational public law

Description: The growing role that is recognized regarding the reality of Constitutional Law and Common Administrative Law to different legal orders is taken into account; within a framework of globalization and an end to the dogma of the absolute sovereignty of the state.


Afonso Filipe Pereira de Oliveira Martins 0000-0002-3588-7049 -
António Manuel de Almeida Santos Cordeiro 0000-0001-7119-1420 061B-CD63-20DD
António Miguel Ferro Catela Teixeira - -
Bernardo de Mendonça Teixeira de Castro 0000-0002-5867-2155 -
Fernando Jorge Ceriz 0000-0003-2407-4736 -
Filipa Maria de Almeida Marques Pais d'Aguiar 0000-0003-1614-1521 0E14-6E26-7CC7
Joaquim Marques de Ascensão 0000-0001-7105-5816 -
João Carlos Carvalho Godinho 0000-0002-8824-8830 8A1F-5DB9-5FB4
Joel Silva Ferreira da Mata 0000-0002-3441-1209 3512-E77C-183D
Joel Timóteo Ramos Pereira 0000-0002-6271-8101 -
José António Martins Lucas Cardoso 0000-0003-3911-5879 D41D-8DBF-CCC4
José Daniel Tavares Fernandes da Silva 0000-0003-4064-1366 0C11-CD9D-14DA
José Domingues 0000-0002-7072-3680 8114-C679-84CF
José Henrique Caldas Guimarães 0000-0002-6340-1579 -
José Joaquim Gomes Canotilho 0000-0002-3565-1466 -
José Manuel de Matos Correia - -
Luís Manuel Barbosa Rodrigues 0000-0002-0386-3704 -
Manuel Fernando da Silva Monteiro 0000-0002-3936-2274 -
Maria do Céu Rueff de Saro Negrão 0000-0002-1944-9284 -
Maria Margarida Rego Costa Salema d'Oliveira Martins 0000-0002-4086-5442 -
Ricardo Luís Leite Pinto 0000-0002-6615-4120 -
Rui Pedro Passos Pinto 0000-0002-7823-5809 5318-95AB-EC0A
Sílvia Maria Galvão Teles Franco Pulido Pereira 0000-0003-3107-4363 -
Susana Antas Fernandes Videira Branco 0000-0002-9246-2557 -
RP1: Contracts in the Digital Age

Person responsible: José Joaquim Gomes Canotilho

Description:  To investigate new prospects in relation to contracts, in a period in which the contributions of economics and law are close. The expansion of contracts "invades" rights and freedoms, causing doctrine and dogmatism to move beyond the saturated core of the efficiency of fundamental rights tied to the “privatístic” juridical order. The law of contracts is furthermore transformed into "imperative law" (housing law, labor law), leading to a new "legal transformation", going back to the regulatory law of contracts.   

RP2: Transnational Public Law

Person responsible: Afonso Filipe Pereira d'Oliveira Martins 

Description: To investigate the increasing role that is recognized in the reality of Constitutional Law and Common Administrative Law in different legal systems, within a framework of globalization and the end of the dogma of the absolute sovereignty of the state.

Persons responsible: José Domingues, Vital Martins Moreira

“Uma Lei Fundamental de eleições pode chamar-se o paládio das liberdades civis” (Génio Constitucional 13, de 16 de outubro de 1820).

Description: In 2020 we will be completing two hundred years of the first Portuguese constituent elections, held in December 1820, which inaugurated the modern constitutional era in this country. It is a memorable landmark of the Portuguese Constitutional History, due to the liberal revolution of August 24, 1820, in the city of Porto. A unique moment to reflect on relevant constitutional issues such as constitution, representative government, separation of powers, parliamentarism, political representation, electoral systems, etc.

Projected scientific activities, or already being implemented: Scientific articles; dissemination articles (for the general public); monographic studies; biographies; scientific support to local authorities; thematic colloquia; biblio-iconographic exhibitions; involvement of the 3rd cycle of Law studies (PhD); dedicated International Conference on “Electoral Constitutionalism” (24 September 2020).

RP4: QOT@ ( Quod Omnes Tangit) História Constitucional Lusíada.

Persons responsible: José Domingues, Vital Martins Moreira

Description: “Antes da revolução de 1820, Portugal tinha com efeito sua constituição, nem há Estado que a não tenha, mas a antiga Constituição de Portugal era, de mais a mais, livre e representativa” (A. Garrett, Portugal na Balança da Europa, 1830, 296). Digital database of open access documents on the Portuguese Constitutional History, from the 12th to the 21st Century, comprising:

  1. The medieval "non-written" constitution: Lamego founding law, general Cortes, limits to political power, royal oath, habeas corpus, popular sovereignty, succession and regency of the kingdom, local power, justice, etc.
  2. The modern "written" constitution: Constitutional supplication of 1808, Constitution of 1822, Draft Basic Law of 1823, Constitutional Charter of 1826, Constitution of 1838, Constitution of 1911, Constitution of 1933 and Constitution of 1976.