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Carlos Bernal

Professor of Law

Full-Time Faculty

School of Law


Email: Carlos Bernal
Keller Hall


Professor Bernal stepped down as a sitting justice on the Colombian Constitutional Court to join the School of Law in August of 2020. In 2021 he was elected as an Inter-American Human Rights Commissioner for the term 2022-2026. Professor Bernal also holds a fractional appointment as Professor of Law at the University of La Sabana (in Bogota, Colombia), and he has previously held academic positions at Macquarie Law School (Sydney, Australia), and the Faculty of Law of the University Externado of Colombia.

Additionally, he has held visiting professorships at the Faculties of Law of the Universities of Paris I (Sorbonne) and X (Nanterre), the University of Copenhagen, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Leon (Spain). He has also held Senior Research Fellowships at the Yale Law School, the Kings’ College Law School, and the Max Plack Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg).

Professor Bernal specializes on the interpretation of constitutional rights and comparative constitutional change. He also has a focus on jurisprudence (in particular, on the intersection between social ontology and legal theory) and the philosophical foundations of tort law. His work has been published in prominent peer-reviewed journals as well as books and edited collections in English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Russian.

Prof. Bernal earned his LL.B. in 1996 from the University Externado of Colombia (Bogotá). He additionally holds an S.J.D. awarded in 2001 from the University of Salamanca (Spain) and an M.A. awarded in 2008 and Ph.D. awarded in 2011 in Philosophy from the University of Florida (U.S.A).  

The Colombian Government has awarded Prof. Bernal the Order of Boyaca and the Medal Jose Maria Cordova.

Courses Taught

Constitutional Law I


LL.B., University Externado of Colombia (Bogotá – Colombia), 1996
S.J.D., University of Salamanca (Spain), 2001
M.A. University of Florida (U.S.A.), 2008
Ph.D., University of Florida (U.S.A.), 2011

Selected Publications (in English)

"Peace and Plebiscites", in: Richard Albert and Richard Stacey (eds.), The Legitimacy of Plebiscites and Referenda. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press.

“The Biblical Foundations of the Separation of Powers and the Catalytic Judicial Function”, in: Nicholas Aroney and Ian Leigh (eds), Christianity and Constitutionalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press.

The Migration of Proportionality to Australia”, 48 (1) Federal Law Review (2020) 288-291. ISSN: 0067-205X.

“I·CONnect-Clough Center 2019 Global Review of Constitutional Law: Colombia”, in: Richard Albert, David Landau, Pietro Faraguna and Šimon Drugda (eds), I·CONnect-Clough Center 2019 Global Review of Constitutional Law. Boston: Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy (2020) 67-71. ISBN: 978-0-692-15916-3 (with Diego González, María Fernanda Barraza, Sebastián Rubiano-Groot and Natalia Correa).

Constitutional Change and Transformation in Latin America. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2019, 314 pp. ISBN: 978-1-509-92351-9 (with Richard Albert and Juliano Zaiden Benvindo). 

“Introduction”, in: Richard Albert, Carlos Bernal, and Juliano Zaiden Benvindo, Constitutional Change and Transformation in Latin America. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 978-1-509-92351-9 (with Richard Albert and Juliano Zaiden Benvindo).

“Constitution-Making (without Constituent) Power”, in: Richard Albert, Carlos Bernal, and Juliano Zaiden Benvindo, Constitutional Change and Transformation in Latin America. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2019.

“How Constitutional Crowd-drafting can enhance Legitimacy in Constitution-Making”, in: Hanna Lerner and David Landau, Comparative Constitution Making. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2019.

“2018 Global Review of Constitutional Law: Colombia”, 17 (2) International Journal of Constitutional Law (2019) (with Diego González, María Fernanda Barraza, Nicolás Esguerra, Santiago García Jaramillo, and Vicente Benítez).

“The Constitutional Protection of Economic and Social Rights in Latin America”, in: Rosalind Dixon and Tom Ginsburg, Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2017.

“The Constitutional Adjudication of Positive Social and Economic Rights by Means of the Proportionality Analysis”, in: Martin Borowski, Stanley Paulson, and Jan R. Sieckmann, Rechtsphilosophie und Grundrechtstheorie (Legal Philosophy and Theory of Constitutional Rights). Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017.

“The Right to Water: Constitutional Perspectives from the Global South”, in: Shawkat Alam, Sumudu Atapattu, Carmen G. Gonzalez, and Jona Razzaque (eds.), International Environmental Law and the Global South. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

“Transitional Justice within the Framework of a Permanent Constitution”, 3 (4) Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law, 2014.

“The Migration of Proportionality Across Europe”, 11 (3) New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law, 2013.

“Austin, Hart and Shapiro: Three Variations on Law as an Entity Grounded in a Social Practice”, 44 (2) Rechtstheorie, 2013.

“Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendments in the Case Study of Colombia: An Analysis of the Justification and Meaning of the Constitutional Replacement Doctrine”, 11 International Journal of Constitutional Law, 2013.

“Precedents and Balancing”, in: Carlos Bernal and Thomas Bustamante (eds.), On the Philosophy of Precedent. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2012.

“In Search of the Ontological Structure of Law”, Analisi e Diritto, 2012.

“Is Tort Law a Practice of Corrective Justice?”, 12 Diritto e Questioni Pubbliche, 2012.

“A Speech Acts Analysis of Judicial Decisions”, 2 (1) European Journal of Legal Studies 2007.

“On Alexy’s Weight Formula”, in: Agustín J. Menéndez and Erik O. Eriksen (eds.), Arguing Fundamental Rights. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2006.