The World Conference on Constitutional Justice unites 119 Constitutional Courts and Councils and Supreme Courts in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia/Oceania and Europe. It promotes constitutional justice – understood as constitutional review including human rights case-law – as a key element for democracy, the protection of human rights and the rule of law (Article 1.2 of the Statute).
According to its Statute, the World Conference has three organs, the General Assembly, the Bureau and the Secretariat. The General Assembly is chaired by the Host Court of the Congress. The last host was the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania. The Presidency of the Bureau is ensured for one year by rotation between the groups. The Presidency of the Bureau is therefore not that of an individual Court but of a group of Courts. Since 21 September 2016, the Presidency of the Bureau is exercised by the Conference of African Constitutional Jurisdictions. It is up to the groups to designate their representative. The Venice Commission acts as the Secretariat of the World Conference.
The World Conference pursues its objectives through the organisation of regular congresses, by participating in regional conferences and seminars, by sharing experiences and case-law and by offering good services to members on their request (Article 1.2 of the Statute).
The main purpose of the World Conference is to facilitate judicial dialogue between constitutional judges on a global scale. Due to the obligation of judicial restraint, constitutional judges sometimes have little occasion to conduct a constructive dialogue on constitutional principles in their countries. The exchanges that take place between judges from various parts of the world in the World Conference furthers reflection on arguments, which promote the basic goals inherent to national constitutions. Even if these texts often differ substantially, discussion on the underlying constitutional concepts unites constitutional judges from various parts of the world committed to promoting constitutionality in their own country.
As these judges sometimes find themselves in situations of conflict with other state powers because of decisions they had to hand down based on the Constitution, being part of the World Conference provides them with a forum that not only allows them to exchange information freely with their peers, but where judges from other countries can also offer moral support. This can be important in upholding constitutional principles, which the judges are called upon to defend in their line of work.
The members committed to the principles of the World Conference may see their membership suspended by the General Assembly of the World Conference in case of flagrant violation of these principles.