On Thursday 5 March 2015, I will be giving a lecture in the Current Legal Problems series at University College London. I will be speaking to the title: “A post-European British constitution: plus ça change?” I am delighted that Lord Reed JSC has agreed to chair the lecture. My abstract is as follows:
The United Kingdom’s constitution is fast approaching a fork in the road that separates two paths leading to different constitutional futures. The first path represents a continuation of our journey as part of the mainstream of European nations that are parties to the European Convention on Human Rights and members of the European Union. The second path represents the constitutional journey that would be undertaken if the UK were to withdraw from the ECHR or the EU. In this lecture, I will argue that although the fork in the road is one of historic significance, and that choosing the second path would lead us into uncertain constitutional territory, the UK system would nevertheless remain profoundly influenced by the constitutional changes wrought by our long-standing membership of the Council of Europe and the EU. A post-European British constitution would be significantly distinct from its pre-European counterpart, and the normative legacy bequeathed to the UK by its European associations would likely, at least to some extent, survive institutional withdrawal. And while the significance of this point will be greater if the non-European path is chosen, it is in fact relevant to our understanding of the British constitution whichever of the two paths represents our constitutional future.
The full programme of Current Legal Problems lectures for 2014-15 can be found here. The lectures are held at the Faculty of Law, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, London WC1 from 6-7pm. They are public lectures and are free of charge. If you would like to register for my lecture, you can do so here.