Ivo Gruev

Ivo Gruev

Socio-Legal Studies (2015 cohort)

My research, co-funded by Merton College, focuses on the rights-protecting function of constitutional review in post-authoritarian societies. The project looks at how newly created constitutional courts deal with individual human rights, with a particular emphasis on individual access to constitutional adjudication. 

Whilst my MSt focused on the intricacies of the Bulgarian Constitutional Court, my DPhil project’s aspiration is to develop a more general framework about the theory and practice of post-authoritarian constitutional review by incorporating the model of the South African Constitutional Court into the analysis.

The first part of my study provides a socio-political and historic contextualisation of the adoption of constitutional review models in societies recovering from authoritarian regimes.The main methodological approach in this part is archival analysis of the constitution-drafting processes after the collapse of authoritarianism.

The second part of my dissertation studies the performance of the adopted models in practice. It focuses on the following three elements: initiation, adjudication, and implementation of constitutional review.

The initiation parts studies the practical pathways through which individual cases access the level of constitutional court adjudication.

The adjudication part provides a qualitative study of decision-making patterns in constitutional rights cases through jurisprudential analysis and interviews with constitutional court judges.

The implementation section evaluates the effectiveness of constitutional review through analysis of the administrative and legislative responses to unconstitutionality decisions of the constitutional courts.

Prior to commencing my doctorate, I completed the Magister Juris at Balliol College Oxford, focusing on comparative equality law, international criminal law, and legal anthropology. I also hold a law degree from the Humboldt University of Berlin and a Diploma in Legal Studies from Oxford with specialisation in European Union law, public international law, and jurisprudence.

I have worked as a legal consultant to the German Parliament, an academic assistant at the Humboldt University, and clerked for the International Criminal Court. I recently discovered my passion for teaching as a tutor in jurisprudence and human rights law for the Oxford Study Abroad Programme.

At Oxford, I served as the 2015-16 Chairperson of the award-winning public interest law organisation Oxford Pro Bono Publico (OPBP) and have been an active member of the Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) group since 2014.