constitutional thinking beyond borders
Konrad Lachmayer

NICLAS Summer School

NICLAS – New International Constitutional Law & Administrative Studies Summer School

NICLAS was an annual (2007 – 2012) two weeks summer university on International Constitutional Law on changing general topics, jointly offered by

  • University of Vienna (coordinating institution)
  • European University Institute Florence – EUI
  • Central European University Budapest – CEU (hosting institution 2010)
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles – ULB
  • Freie Universität Berlin
  • Masaryk University Brno
  • Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne
  • Andrássy Gyula Deutschsprachige Universität Budapest
  • Jagiellonian University Cracow
  • Vilnius University
  • Leiden University
  • Pan-European University Bratislava – PEU
  • Goethe University Frankfurt/Main
  • Austrian Academy of Sciences – ÖAW/EIF



NICLAS was a so called Intensive Programme in the framework of the EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme for higher education, sub-programme Erasmus, running from 2006/07 – 2012. It was organized as an international two weeks summer school programme, approaching three policy areas currently showing tremendously dynamic changes and therefore being of special importance for and forming a special challenge to the future development of the EU from an International Constitutional Law (ICL) perspective: FREEDOM, SECURITY, JUSTICE, ENVIRONMENT, MIGRATION, MINORITIES.

International Constitutional Law as a legal discipline combines constitutional law, public international law, European law, legal theory and administrative studies. At an academic level students should learn to understand constitutions and thereby legitimised administrative structures in their historic but in particular in their contemporary context and learn to question constitutional concepts instead of accepting them as sacrosanct.

A first three-years cycle of NICLAS summer schools had been organized at the law school of the University of Vienna on the EU’s Area of Freedom Security and Justice from 2006/07 to 2008/09 (NICLAS for Freedom in 2007, NICLAS for Security in 2008, and NICLAS for Justice in 2009). Following the same ICL approach: analysing the policy areas at stake through main ICL categories like human rights, democracy and justice (rule of law, good governance), NICLAS generation II (NICLAS on the Environment, Migration and Minority policy of the EU) running from 2009/10 to 2011/12 explored their interrelation in the national-EU-international-law matrix with the policy areas of environment, migration, and minorities: NICLAS for Environment in 2010, NICLAS for Minorities in 2011, and NICLAS for Minorities in 2012. Whereas NICLAS generation I to a greater extend was focusing on constitutional aspects of ICL, NICLAS generation II paied special attention to the administrative aspects of ICL, understanding procedural and administrative structures as complementary to constitutional guarantees of human rights, democracy and justice in the form of rule of law and good governance. The Fundamental Rights Charter of the EU, on the way to play a crucial role in the mediation of these dimensions of ICL and therefore to form particular challenge to it, was another core topic for the NICLAS summer schools 2010 – 2012.


NICLAS Summer Schools




– 2009: JUSTICE

– 2008: SECURITY

– 2007: FREEDOM


This project had been developed with PRO FUTURO – Agentur für internationale Projektentwicklung und Bildungsberatung and was funded with support form the European Commission (Lifelong Learning Programme, Erasmus Intensive Programmes.


niclas Logo-Lifelong-Learning-programme

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Thereby, NICLAS 2008 had been honoured as best and most innovative ERASMUS programme in Austria in 2008.



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