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Kalmo, Hent

Research Fellow in Public Law

University of Tartu, Estonia


Max Weber alumnus

Department of Law

Cohort(s): 2014/2015

Ph.D. Institution

Université Paris-Ouest, France


My PhD thesis, written in the Faculty of Law of the University Paris-Ouest, under the supervision of Prof. Michel Troper, was devoted to exploring the way in which the abstract doctrine of the indivisibility of sovereignty was generated and redefined by the practice of legal argumentation. A fundamental fact about sovereignty – as the concept is traditionally used – is that it cannot be observed empirically. In other words, every set of empirical data concerning the actual use of power is compatible with multiple accounts concerning the location of sovereignty. In the thesis, I argued that it is precisely this feature of our modern constitutional theory which creates scope for endless arguments over the fortunes of statehood. The awarding of the degree is scheduled for later this year.
Since 2009, I have been adviser to the Chancellor of Justice of Estonia. I have also taught a number of courses in legal theory and constitutional law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu.
My research has been focused mainly on constitutional argumentation. In addition to a few more general articles on legal theory, I have written extensively on the doctrine of proportionality, on the primacy of EU law and on the notion of sovereignty. My work on proportionality, in particular, has been strongly influenced by economic theory, for I seek to show that the contemporary understanding of fundamental rights as principles results from a highly problematic transposition of the methodology of economics to constitutional jurisprudence.
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