Rawin Leelapatana

Rawin Leelapatana completed his LLB (1st class honours) from Chulalongkorn University in 2008 and LLM from the University of Bristol in 2011. In 2014, he received a competitive scholarship from the Thai government to pursue his PhD in Bristol. During his PhD study, he received the Anglo-Thai award for academic excellence, and obtained his PhD in 2018. His research interests are in constitutional law, legal philosophy, legal history, legal theory, and human rights. At present, Rawin is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University, and a researcher at Chiangmai University.

Designation: Chulalongkorn University, Faculty of Law & Chiangmai University
Institution: Chulalongkorn University, Faculty of Law & Chiangmai University
Paper: The Kelsen-Schmitt Debate and the Use of Emergency Powers in Political Crises in Thailand
Abstract: "Carl Schmitt and Hans Kelsen were prominent jurists during the Weimar Republic who engaged in the debate on the nature and use of emergency powers in a political crisis of liberal democracy (‘PCLD’). As a liberal, Kelsen advocated a law-based response to an emergency situation together with the narrow interpretation of emergency powers and constitutional review, whereas as an anti-liberal conservative, Schmitt called for legally unconstrained emergency decisions by the sovereign to exclude ‘enemies’ causing a political crisis. This thesis considers how this debate might apply to Thailand. The application of the Kelsen-Schmitt debate in the Thai context exemplifies an aspiring democracy struggling against the declining hegemony of the Schmittian idea. It then reveals what I call the binary-star conception of emergency powers which shows the gravitational pull between the increasing need to liberalise and institutionalise the Schmittian idea, especially by resorting to a Kelsenian legal-rational legitimacy, and the growing need to resort to Schmitt’s idea of political struggle to move the Kelsenian liberal-democratic project forward. Such pull suggests an alternative normative perspective for reading Kelsen and Schmitt—‘pragmatic hybrid’ which directs us to reassess their theories of law and politics."