Skip to main content

Photo: “Visegrad Group and Eastern Partnership meeting in Budapest 14“, by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Drinóczi, Tímea, and Agnieszka Bień-Kacała, eds. Rule of Law, Common Values, and Illiberal Constitutionalism: Poland and Hungary within the European Union. Routledge, 2020.


This book challenges the idea that the Rule of Law is still a universal European value given its relatively rapid deterioration in Hungary and Poland, and the apparent inability of the European institutions to adequately address the illiberalization of these Member States.

The book begins from the general presumption that the Rule of Law, since its emergence, has been a universal European value, a political ideal and legal conception. It also acknowledges that the EU has been struggling in the area of value enforcement, even if the necessary mechanisms are available and, given an innovative outlook and more political commitment, could be successfully used. The authors appreciate the different approaches toward the Rule of Law, both as a concept and as a measurable indicator, and while addressing the core question of the volume, widely rely on them. Ultimately, the book provides a snapshot of how the Rule of Law ideal has been dismantled and offers a theory of the Rule of Law in illiberal constitutionalism. It discusses why voters keep illiberal populist leaders in power when they are undeniably acting contrary to the Rule of Law ideal.

The book will be of interest to academics and researchers engaged with the foundational questions of constitutionalism. The structure and nature of the subject matter covered ensure that the book will be a useful addition for comparative and national constitutional law classes. It will also appeal to legal practitioners wondering about the boundaries of the Rule of Law.

Table of Contents

  • Part I: Rule of Law In context
    • Chapter 1: Illiberal constitutionalism and the European Rule of Law
      Tímea Drinóczi, Agnieszka Bień-Kacała
  • Part Part II: Rule of Law A common value
    • Chapter 2: European values and the Rule of Law
      Andrzej Madeja
    • Chapter 3: ‘Where the laws do not govern, there is no constitution’ – On the relationship between the Rule of Law and constitutionalism
      Wojciech Włoch
  • Part Part III: Rule of Law in national practice Is it a common value?
    • Chapter 4: The Rule of Law, democracy, and human rights in Hungary Tendencies from 1989 until 2019
      András Jakab, Eszter Bodnár
    • Chapter 5: The Rule of Law The Hungarian perspective
      Tímea Drinóczi
    • Chapter 6: The Rule of Law The Polish perspective
      Iwona Wróblewska
  • Part Part IV: Rule of Law and supranational struggles Is it a common value?
    • Chapter 7: Rule of Law in Hungary What can law and politics do?
      Lóránt Csink
    • Chapter 8: Safeguarding the European Union’s core values The EU Rule of Law mission in Poland
      Sylwia Majkowska-Szulc
    • Chapter 9: Are the EU Member States still masters of the Treaties? The European Rule of Law concept as a means of limiting national authorities
      Agnieszka Grzelak
  • Part Part V: Illiberal legality vs. European Rule of Law
    • Chapter 10: Illiberal legality
      Tímea Drinóczi, Agnieszka Bień-Kacała

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.