Strengthening the Constitutional System of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Enhancing the Capacities of the Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation and the Jordanian Bar Association

In 2011, His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in his instructions to the Royal Commission to amend the Constitution, emphasised the creation of a Constitutional Court as a step towards reform and as a major step to promoting the principle of the separation of powers and for defending the rights and liberties of people as provided for in the Jordanian Constitution. Following the issuance of a Royal Decree, the Kingdom of Jordan took an important step in the advancement of reform by amending the Constitution to this effect and passing a law which would establish the Constitutional Court.

The Court was established in 2012 and began its work towards the end of 2012.

From 2014-2015, the Max Planck Foundation successfully delivered a tranche of capacity building workshops for Members of the Constitutional Court on the roles and functions of Constitutional Courts and the competences of the Members of the Constitutional Court from a comparative legal perspective. Alongside this, the Foundation also delivered a series of capacity building workshops for over 70 Judges of the Judicial Institute of Jordan, serving in the ordinary courts, to enhance their understanding of the roles and functions of the Constitutional Court in Jordan.

The new project, which lasts from 2016-17, aims to enhance the understanding of an intricate constitutional system in Jordan based on a complex inter-relationship between executive institutions, ordinary courts, the Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court. In consultation with its partners in Jordan, the Max Planck Foundation widened the approach to strengthening the constitutional system in Jordan to include other actors within the constitutional justice system. The Foundation selected the most relevant institutional partners, in addition to the Constitutional Court, and designed a programme to include capacity building workshops for Judges of the Court of Cassation on constitutional law and the competencies of the Constitutional Court under the relevant law regulating the work of the Court. In addition to this, the Max Planck Foundation will provide training to lawyers of the Jordanian Bar Association to enhance their understanding of the competencies of the Constitutional Court, with particular emphasis on the preparation and submission of a case challenging laws or regulations on grounds of unconstitutionality.

Lastly, the Foundation will analyse and discuss with the relevant partners the procedural and substantive rules followed and applied by apex courts and Constitutional Courts from a comparative perspective. Particular emphasis will be put on how these rules are applied when considering the constitutionality of laws and regulations with the Constitution using comparative examples from other constitutional jurisdictions within the MENA region and abroad.