Breaking the cast: The Ecuadorian Constitutional Court’s attribution to declare related legal norms unconstitutional as a case of cross fertilization between models of constitutional review

This paper examines the way the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court has interpreted and exercised the attribution stated in article 436 (3) of its Constitution. The provision allows the Court “[to declare related norms unconstitutional ex officio, when it concludes that, in the cases under its consideration, one or many of them are contrary to the Constitution]”. The Court has understood that the aforementioned provision grants it the power to review the constitutionality any legal norm –in a broad sense– regardless of whether the plaintiff has expressly challenged its constitutionality, or the issue came to be as a part of a controversy in a concrete case. While many Ecuadorian scholars and lawyers regard this as exceeding the constitutional power of the Court, we hold that this is because they part from a civil law approach to constitutional adjudication, and the assumption that the Ecuadorian arrangement has to fit into the cast of the Austro-German model of constitutional review.