Constitutional Adjudication in North Africa and the Middle East following the “Arab Spring”: Reforms, Challenges and Perspectives

One of the most significant trends following the “Arab Spring” was the emergence and strengthening of constitutional courts. The aim of this paper is to discuss whether these bodies have acquired or not the potential to place adequate checks on the executive branch and thus contribute to the democratization processes in a more effective way compared to the past. In order to do so, I will first identify the main reasons why constitutional courts before the Arab Spring rarely acted as counter-majoritarian bodies. I will then discuss the major novelties introduced by the recent constitutional reforms in the field of constitutional adjudication, and I will analyze the role played by constitutional courts during the transition process. I will show that despite profound differences, some of the challenges Arab courts are currently facing are similar to the challenges faced by European constitutional courts in the past century after the fall of the respective authoritarian regimes.