Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-nmvwc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-24T11:14:49.120Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The Secession Conundrum – Through the Looking Glass - David Haljan: Constitutionalising Secession (Oxford/Portland: Hart Publishing2014), 429 pp., ISBN: 978-184-9464-376

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2015


Image of the first page of this content. For PDF version, please use the ‘Save PDF’ preceeding this image.'
Book Review Essay
Copyright © The Authors 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Professor of International and European Law, Radboud University Nijmegen; Guest Professor of European Institutional Law, University of Antwerp; Senior Fellow, Centre for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.


1 Compare e.g. van Creveld, M., The Rise and Decline of the State (Cambridge University Press 1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; see also Held, D., Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance (Stanford University Press 1995)Google Scholar.

2 On which, inter alia, Brölmann, C. and Vandamme, T. (eds.), Secession within the Union – Intersection Points of International and European Law (ACELG/ACIL, 2014)Google Scholar.

3 Haljan, Constitutionalising Secession, p. 14.

4 Ibid., p. 19-20.

5 Reference re Secession of Québec [1998] 2 S.C.R. 217.

6 Haljan, Constitutionalising Secession, p. 81.

7 Ibid., p. 382.

8 Ibid., p. 192.

9 Ibid., p. 298.

10 Somehow disconnected from, rather than antecedent to the formation of a system’s Grundnorm; even when Haljan does not adopt a rigid Kelsenian perspective, in accordance with that vocabulary he does repeatedly tag the break-up as a ‘revolution’. For his take on such a ‘transformative event’, see below.

11 See e.g. Buchanan, A.,Secession: The Morality of Political Divorce from Fort Sumpter to Lithuania and Québec (Westview Press 1991)Google Scholar; Beran, H., ‘A Liberal Theory of Secession’, 32 Political Studies (1984) p. 21-31CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Wellman, C. H., A Theory of Succession: The Case for Political Self-determination (Cambridge University Press 2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12 Among the recent monodisciplinary works are inter alia Walter, C. et al. (eds.), Self-determination and Secession in International Law (Oxford University Press 2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar and van den Driest, S. F., Remedial Secession: A Right to External Self-determination as a Remedy to Serious Injustices? (Intersentia 2013)Google Scholar.

13 Haljan, Constitutionalising Secession, respectively p. 113-115 and p. 165-179.

14 See e.g. Beran, H., The Consent Theory of Political Obligation (Croom Helm 1987)Google Scholar; Philpott, D., ‘Self-determination in Practice’, in M. Moore (ed.), National Self-determination and Secession (Oxford University Press 1998), p. 79-102CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

15 See e.g. Buchanan, A., ‘The International Institutional Dimension of Secession’, in P. B. Lehning (ed.), Theories of Secession (Routledge 1998), p. 227Google Scholar; Birch, A., Nationalism and National Integration (Unwin Hyman 1989)Google Scholar.

16 Though the scepticism and hostility deserve mentioning that already the Wilsonian (Fourteen Points) pledge faced.

17 Haljan, , Constitutionalising Secession, respectively p. 122-123Google Scholar, 192-193 and 246-247.

18 Haljan, , Constitutionalising Secession, p. 247Google Scholar.

19 Ibid.

20 Vindicating the opinion of the Canadian Supreme Court (supra n. 5), which embraced a kindred ‘duty to negotiate’.

21 Haljan, , Constitutionalising Secession, p. 27Google Scholar.

22 Haljan, , Constitutionalising Secession, p. 295Google Scholar.

23 Cf. Norman, W., Negotiating Nationalism. Nation-Building, Federalism, and Secession in the Multinational State (Oxford University Press 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Mancini, S., ‘Secession and Self-determination’, in M. Rosenfeld and A. Sajó (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press 2012), p. 481-499Google Scholar.

24 International Court of Justice, Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo, ICJ Reports 2010, p. 403.

25 Haljan, , Constitutionalising Secession, p. 381Google Scholar.

26 Regrettably failing to take on board, inter alia, the sterling recent work of van den Driest (supra n. 12).

27 Haljan, , Constitutionalising Secession, p. 389Google Scholar.

28 Featuring for instance sections entitled ‘The Hart of a Constitution’ and ‘Next Steps: Who’s the Boss?’.