Author Archives: UKCLA blog editors

About UKCLA blog editors

The UKCLA blog is edited by NW Barber (Oxford) and Jeff King (UCL).

Andrew Le Sueur: UKCLG (“G” for group) becomes UKCLA (“A” for association)

UKCLA logoPlease take out membership for 2014 (£15) to support our work: details here.

At the UK Constitutional Law Group AGM, held on 17 January 2014, members agreed to provide our activities with a more formal framework by adopting rules and becoming an association. The UKCLG is therefore now the UK Constitutional Law Association or UKCLA and, for the twitterati, our twitter account has become @UKCLA. No need for the 2,700-plus blog followers or 1,100-plus twitter followers to do anything: you’re still with us.

The Association’s executive committee, elected at the AGM, now includes: me (as president, continuing also in my role on the International Association for Constitutional Law executive committee); Nick Barber (vice-president and co-editor of the blog); Sebastian Payne (vice-president and events organiser); Jeff King (treasurer and co-editor of the blog); Javier Garcia Oliva (membership secretary); Merris Amos; Aileen McHarg; and Richard Ekins; with Robert Hazell and Peter Leyland co-opted for 2014.

The organisational changes are part of a general revitalising of our activities, something that all organisations should do from time to time. In the 10 years from its launch as a small network of scholars by Anthony Bradley, Stephen Sedley and Mads Andenas in 2003, followed by leadership from Dawn Oliver, we have grown into a larger membership organisation with supporters throughout the UK and beyond.

The initial focus of the group was relatively small events usually held in London, supplemented by occasional larger conferences. The UKCLA continues to organise and sponsor events (there are three in January). Sebastian Payne is always happy to have suggestions for events, all the more so if a venue can also be provided. We are especially keen to help members with events outside London. Some events are UKCLA “own productions”; others are organised by members and their institutions with the UKCLA providing varying packages of support (including, for example, pre-event publicity through our web and blog and a post-event report on the blog).

The blog now allows us – though a panel of over 60 contributors – to provide scholarly commentary on constitutional law issues to readers around the world: in 2012, we had more than 400,000 ‘hits’ on the blog. Nick Barber and Jeff King are keen to hear from academics who would like to contribute to the blog. Authoritative posts of around 800-1,000 words, written by scholars, will remain the blog’s distinctive style. The UKCLA remains affiliated to the International Association of Constitutional Law, which holds the IXth Congress in Oslo from 16-20 June 2014.

Andrew Le Sueur is president of the UKCLA and Professor of Constitutional Justice in the School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, UK.  

Suggested citation:  A. Le Sueur, ‘UKCLG (“G” for group) becomes UKCLA (“A” for association)’ U.K. Const. L. Blog (23 January 2014) (available at http://ukconstitutionallaw.org)

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UKCLA event: Margit Cohn on non-statutory powers, 30 January 2014

Margit Cohn (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

‘Non-Statutory Executive Powers in Five Regimes: Assessing Global Constitutionalism in Structural-Institutional Contexts’ 

Thursday 30 January 2014,  6.00-7.30 pm

Venue: Room 1.2, School of Law, Queen Mary, University of London (Lincoln’s Inn Fields Campus), 67-69 Lincoln’s Inn Fields London WC2A 3JB

 

Members of the UK Constitutional Law Association and readers of the blog are all welcome to attend. No need to book.

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Event: AGM and current issues roundtable Friday 17 January

As previously announced, on Friday 17 January  2014 the UK CLG will hold an Annual General Meeting at which proposals for developing the Group will be discussed.  The agenda and papers were circulated by email on Friday 10 January to everybody who has paid the 2013 subscription.

The AGM will be followed by a roundtable on current issues, consisting of two sessions. All members who have paid subscriptions for 2013 are encouraged to attend the AGM; the short conference is open to all. There is no need to RSVP.

Venue: Keeton Room, UCL, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, London WC1H 0EG.

12.30: Light refreshments will be served.

1.00-2.00 pm:  the AGM

Session 1: 2.00pm – 3.00pm Key Constitutional Themes of 2013 

Speakers:  Nick Barber; Professor Robert Hazell and Professor Aileen McHarg

Session 2:  3.03-4.05 pm

Dr Merris Amos: ‘Dialogue between the UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights’

Professor Roger Masterman: ‘Competing Supremacies’

4.10p.m. -5pm Drinks

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Event: book launch discussion 20 January 2014

Bamforth and LeylandAccountability in the Contemporary Constitution (OUP)

Monday 20 January 2014, 6-8 pm (you are welcome to arrive from 5.30 pm)

Venue: Faculty of Business and Law, London Metropolitan University, City Campus, 16 Goulston Street, London E1 7TP. Goulston Street is in close proximity to Aldgate East and Aldgate underground stations.

UK Constitutional Law Group members are invited to the launch of  Accountability in the Contemporary Constitution, edited by Nicholas Bamforth and Peter Leyland. The event is in association with Oxford University Press, London Metropolitan University and the Global Policy Institute. RSVP essential:  j.kingmalik@londonmet.ac.uk

The event chaired by Mr Justice Bean will include a brief introduction from the editors and feature Professor Mark Tushnet (Harvard Law School) who will speak on the subject of constitutional accountability. Oxford University Press will be selling copies of the book on the evening at a special discounted price.

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Events: UK Constitutional Law Group events in January 2014

There are three UK CLG events in January 2014.

Annual General Meeting and short conference 17 January

On Friday 17 January  2014 the UK CLG will hold an Annual General Meeting at which proposals for developing the Group will be discussed. The AGM will be followed by a short conference consisting of two sessions. All members who have paid subscriptions for 2013 are encouraged to attend the AGM; the short conference is open to all. 

Venue: Keeton Room, UCL, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, London WC1H 0EG.

12.30: Refreshments will be served.

1.00-2.00 pm:  the AGM (papers will be circulated in early January)

Conference:  2.00 – 4. 15 pm

Session 1 Nicholas Barber will lead a discussion on ‘Key constitutional themes of 2013’

Session 2 Merris Amos will present a paper on, ‘Dialogue between the UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights’. Further speakers to be confirmed.

4.15 – 5 pm Drinks

Book Launch and Discussion: Accountability in the Contemporary Constitution (OUP) 20 January

Bamforth and LeylandMonday 20 January 2014, 6-8 pm (you are welcome to arrive from 5.30 pm)

Venue: Faculty of Business and Law, London Metropolitan University, City Campus, 16 Goulston Street, London E1 7TP. Goulston Street is in close proximity to Aldgate East and Aldgate underground stations.

UK Constitutional Law Group members are invited to the launch of  Accountability in the Contemporary Constitution, edited by Nicholas Bamforth and Peter Leyland. The event is in association with Oxford University Press, London Metropolitan University and the Global Policy Institute. RSVP essential:  j.kingmalik@londonmet.ac.uk

The event chaired by Mr Justice Bean will include a brief introduction from the editors and feature Professor Mark Tushnet (Harvard Law School) who will speak on the subject of constitutional accountability.

Oxford University Press will be selling copies of the book on the evening at a special discounted price.

Talk:  Margit Cohn on ‘Non-Statutory Executive Powers in Five Regimes: Assessing Global Constitutionalism in Structural-Institutional Contexts’ 30 January

Thursday 30 January 2014,  6.00-7.30 pm

margit_cohnVenue: Room 1.2, School of Law, Queen Mary, University of London (Lincoln’s Inn Fields Campus), 67-69 Lincoln’s Inn Fields London WC2A 3JB

Margit Cohn of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will present a talk entitled ‘Non-Statutory Executive Powers in Five Regimes: Assessing Global Constitutionalism in Structural-Institutional Contexts’.

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Call for Papers: Conference on “Constitutionalism Across Borders in the Struggle Against Terrorism”

The International Association of Constitutional Law’s* Research Group on Constitutional Responses to Terrorism has issued a call for proposals (in the form of abstracts) for papers to be given at a roundtable to be held at Harvard Law School, USA on 6-7 March 2014 entitled “Constitutionalism Across Borders in the Struggle Against Terrorism

During the last two decades the struggle against terrorism has increasingly acquired a world-wide dimension. States have pooled their forces by coordinating their counter-terrorism policies in the framework of international or regional organizations. At the same time, states have resorted to transnational instruments of cooperation, for instance by sharing information on national security threats on a peer-to-peer basis. The recent disclosure about surveillance by the NSA has occasioned transnational disputes and concerns. We welcome proposals that seek to bring comparative analysis to bear on these new dynamics, from the perspective of national security and human rights.

Issues that authors might want to address include, for example:
- Constitutional challenges and opportunities arising from international institutions and obligations
- Constitutional issues arising from EU and ECHR obligations and coordination
- Constitutional challenges posed by transnational cooperation and divergence in counter-terrorism policy and practice
- Constitutional questions about trans-border coverage and protection: who beyond a nation’s own citizens enjoy constitutional rights, and where do such rights apply?

The conference will last a day and a half and will feature the participation, among others, of Martin Scheinin (President of the IACL and former UN Special Rapporteur on Terrorism and Human Rights), Lech Garlicki (Former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights), Savvas Papasavvas (Judge of the General Court of the EU), Kim Lane Scheppele (Princeton University), Erika de Wet (University of Pretoria) and Vicki Jackson, the host of the event at Harvard Law School. Abstract proposals of max. 300 words and the author’s cv should be emailed, along with any query, to federico.fabbrini@gmail.com by 17 November 2013. Once abstracts are accepted, papers of max. 6,000 words will be due 15 February 2014 to permit exchange of drafts prior to the conference and possible inclusion in a publication with a top international publisher soon afterwards. Selected speakers are expected to bear their own costs for travel and accommodation.

Convenors
Prof. David Cole, Georgetown University, Research Group Chair
Ass. Prof. Federico Fabbrini, Tilburg Law School, Research Group Coordinator

* The UK Constitutional Law Group is an affiliated national organisation to the the IACL.

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Event: The Future of Judicial Review, 19 November 2013

The Future of Judicial Review: Report Launch
Tuesday 19th November 6:15pm for a 6:30pm start
The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

The UK Constitutional Law Group is supporting an event to launch of The Constitution Society’s report “The Future of Judicial Review”.  Places are limited and advanced booking is essential: please email events@consoc.org.uk.

The Constitution Society writes: Judicial review faces an uncertain future. The government’s proposed reforms in this area – not least, restricting who may bring a claim – are attracting controversy. Our new report takes a step back from the heat of that debate to illuminate the broader picture from a constitutional perspective.  What are the constitutional implications of attempts by the executive to limit the ability of individuals or organisations to challenge its decisions – and the power of the courts to rule on the lawfulness of its actions? What is the impact on the rule of law and the relationship between institutions of state? What are the potential consequences of altering the constitutional balance between our judges and Parliament? And why is this issue so important to the government, to Parliament and to lawyers?

Members of the panel will include: Amy Street, author of the report; Richard Gordon QC; Sir Konrad Schiemann; and a leading Parliamentarian. Following a panel discussion on the report the audience will have the opportunity to put questions to the speakers. A hard copy of the report will be available on the night.

 

 

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Andrew Le Sueur: IACL and UKCLG organisational matters

The latest newsletter from the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL, of which the UK Constitutional Law Group is an affiliated national organisation) has been published (click on this link IACL newsletter 4 November 2013 resized). Key points:

  • deadline for receipt of expressions of interest for presenting papers at the 17 workshops of the 2014 Oslo World Congress has been extended from today until 31 December 2013, with selection taking place no later than 31 January 2014. (Thanks to everybody who met the original deadline). Also announced is a scheme for registration fee reduction for young scholars and an earlybird reduction for all.
  • The next IACL roundtable is at Harvard Law School, 6-7 March 2014 on “Constitutionalism across boarders in the struggle against terrorism”.

Meanwhile, in the UK: a small steering group (Sebastian Payne, Nick Barber, Jeff King and I) have been discussing the helpful responses to the consultation on formalising the UK Constitutional Law Group and relaunching it as the UK Constitutional Law Association. A revised set of rules is being drafted and a meeting (combining discussion/adoption of the rules and an academic event) is planned for January 2014. More details soon.

Andrew Le Sueur is a co-convenors of the UK Constitutional Law Group and serves on the executive committee of the IACL. He is Professor of Constitutional Justice at the University of Essex, UK. 

Suggested citation: A. Le Sueur, ‘IACL and UKCLG organisational matters’ (1 November 2013) (available athttp://ukconstitutionallaw.org).

 

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Andrew Le Sueur: IACL IXth World Congress 2014 call for papers

event_16_jun_2014The deadline for expressions of interest to present a paper at the 9th World Congress of the International Association of Constitutional Law is fast approaching: 1 November 2013. The procedure is set out here, on the congress website. To be held in Oslo, Norway,  16-20 June 2014, the overarching theme of the event is “Constitutional Challenges: Global and Local”. The programme includes a mix of plenary sessions and the following workshops (for which papers are invited):

  • 1: Constitutional responses to terrorism
  • 2: Sub-national constitutions in federal and quasi-federal constitutional states
  • 3: Constitutional studies of free trade and political economy
  • 4: Social Rights and the challenges of economic crisis
  • 5: Judicial and extra-judicial conversation on the Constitution
  • 6: The constitutional challenges of immigration
  • 7: Sexual and reproductive rights : liberty, dignity and equality
  • 8: The Citizen and the State in the Digital Age
  • 9: Constitutional identity and constitutionalism beyond the nation state
  • 10: The constitution and illiberal democracies
  • 11: The new spring of constitution-making
  • 12: Constitutions and financial crisis
  • 13: Constitutional dimensions of political parties and elections
  • 14: New challenges to the freedom of the media
  • 15: The transformation of the principle of the separation of powers
  • 16: Direct democracy
  • 17: Federalism, community identity and distributive justice.

Members of the UK Constitutional Law Group, and other readers of this blog, are warmly encouraged to participate in the congress, which is held once every three to four years. The UK Constitutional Law group is affiliated to the IACL as a national organisation.

Andrew Le Sueur is co-convenor of the UKCLG, a member of the IACL executive committee and Professor of Constitutional Justice at the University of Essex.

Suggested citation: A. Le Sueur, ‘IACL IXth World Congress 2014 call for papers’  UK Const. L. Blog (7th October 2013) (available at http://ukconstitutionallaw.org)

 

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Andrew Le Sueur, Sebastian Payne & Nick Barber: Next steps for the UK Constitutional Law Group

This is a consultation about the development of the UK Constitutional Law Group. Paid-up members received a similar email last month. Several helpful comments have been received and we would like now to open up consultation with people who read the group’s blog but who are not paid-up members. (For the avoidance of confusion: there are no plans to charge for access to the blog; but readers are, of course, encouraged to support the group’s work by joining — if you are not a 2013 member please consider joining here). We are especially keen to hear from people willing to take part in running the group and becoming members of the proposed executive committee.

The gist of the proposals

  • the group is placed on a more formal footing by adopting a set of simple rules and transforms itself into the UK Constitutional Law Association with an executive committee elected by members to run its affairs
  • there should be a drive to attract more members
  • the blog should continue to be developed as a central activity
  • alternative income streams are needed to sustain the group; the blog should take paid advertising by legal publishers
  • there should be an annual one-day or half-day conference (timed to coincide with an AGM) designed to explore issues and themes that have emerged on the blog during the preceding year.

These changes are evolutionary and have the support of the current co-convenors, the blog editors, and the group’s founders. If you would like to comment on these proposals, please do so either by sending an email to alesueur@essex.ac.uk (which will not be published) or leaving a “comment” at the end of blog post (some of which may be published).

History

The UKCLG was founded in 2003 by Tony Bradley (who became its first convenor), Stephen Sedley (who remains the group’s honorary president) and Mads Adeneas (the then director of BIICL). Dawn Oliver succeeded Tony Bradley as convenor in 2007; and she in turn in 2010 by me and Sebastian Payne (as co-convenors). The group has operated informally without a written constitution. A small steering group exists.

What the group does

The group has four main areas of activity. First, since November 2010, the blog edited by Nick Barber regularly publishes contributions from a large team of academic experts. Jeff King has recently joined as a co-editor. Over 1,800 people have signed-up to receive delivery of each blog post to their email inboxes; traffic is increasing, with more than 12,600 visitors in April 2013. The majority of readers are based in the UK but the blog has an international reach.

Second, the group organises meetings. Initially these were held at BIICL, then moved to UCL, and more recently the focus has been on working with other organisations (such as the Study of Parliament Group and the Italian-based Devolution Club).

Third, some larger scale conferences have been put on between 2006 and 2009. The topics included Terrorism and the policy cycle (2006), Reforming Britain’s war powers (2009, in conjunction with RUSI) and Surveillance and the information society (2010), organised by Sebastian Payne. Dawn Oliver organised a roundtable on Constitutional implications of the regulatory state (2008). Clifford Chance LLP kindly provided sponsorship to help fund some of these events.

Fourth: there is a link between the group and the International Association of Constitutional Law. Tony Bradley was a member of the IACL executive committee from 1999 to 2007 and the group was partly formed in order to become an affiliated institutional member of the IACL. Dawn Oliver (2007-2010) and I (2010 to date) have subsequently been elected to the IALC executive committee, ensuring British representation on this body. The IACL’s main event is a world congress, held every four years – Athens in 2007, Mexico in 2010, Oslo in 2014 – with smaller scale round-tables two or three times a year to coincide with executive committee meetings.

Proposals for evolution of the group

Adopting a constitution. For so long as the group was essentially a small group of academics, well known to each other, meeting in London for discussions from time to time, an informal association worked well. As the group’s activities grow and more members are sought we believe that there are benefits in adopting a set of simple rules and restyle the group as the “UK Constitutional Law Association”, with an executive committee elected by members to run its affairs. A draft set of rules can be downloaded here 2013.07.10 Draft Rules for UKCLA  and will, if there is sufficient support, be adopted at an AGM held later in the year. Enthusiastic people willing and able to help lead the association will be needed to offer themselves for election to the executive committee.

Membership drive. There is a need to attract more subscribing members and new people willing and able to be involved in the group’s activities. This growth is partly to put the group on a more sustainable financial footing but is equally important to ensure that the group remains a lively, relevant and respected body adding something to the British constitutional law scene. Under the draft rules, three categories of membership are proposed. The main kind is “ordinary membership”, which is intended to be similar to that of the Society of Legal Scholars, ensuring that the Association is a scholarly led by academics (broadly defined), with other people welcome to join as associate members.

Finances. So far in 2013, 70 people have paid a £15 annual subscriptions (mostly bought online). This brings in just sufficient income to meet the group’s running costs, which fall under the following heads:

  • the annual affiliation fee to the IACL is €750 (roughly £635)
  • travel and accommodation costs for a member attending IACL executive committee meetings are considerable: like previous representatives, Andrew Le Sueur has mostly funded these personally or through his research budget (thanks are especially due to his previous employer, Queen Mary, University of London) but he claimed the cost of an economy air ticket to attend a IACL meeting in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year.
  • there are various costs associated with keeping the blog online; as readership increases, it would be prudent to find a webmaster able to ensure security and to develop some more sophisticated features of the site (such as hosting audio and video recordings), which will involve some further expense
  • when meetings are held, modest refreshments are provided afterward.

Financial reserves built up from surpluses generated by conferences a few years ago act as a buffer but clearly it is prudent to seek growth in the number of members or alternative income streams, to ensure that longer-term future of the group. We propose that blog should take paid advertising by legal publishers to generate a new income stream; whenever possible, members will be offered discounts on selected publications.

The blog. Building on its considerable success, the blog should continue to be developed as a central activity for the group. The editorial team has recently been enlarged, with Jeff King of UCL joining Nick Barber as a co-editor. The blog has given the group a reach beyond London and (though posts and comments) enables participation in the group’s activities. In the run-up to the 2014 IACL Oslo world congress, the blog provides a way of informing people about the work of the IACL. There are a number of ideas for the creative development of the blog, while maintaining its high academic standards. There is no proposal to make the blog accessible to members only; it will continue to be free to read.

Events. In its early years, the group’s main activity was to hold evening seminars (first at BIICL then at UCL), which attracted a loyal, but sometimes quite small following. Over the years, a wide range of topics has been discussed, attracting audiences of between single figures and 50 plus. The evening meetings have taken place in London, which makes them inaccessible to some members and would-be members. As outlined above, Sebastian Payne organised several larger scale events. We propose a new type of event – an annual one-day or half-day conference (and AGM) built around themes and issues explored in the preceding year on the blog. Efforts will be made to attract sponsorship for this. Other ad hoc events, some in conjunction with other organisations, would continue to be held from time to time.

Please let us have your views.

 Andrew Le Sueur and Sebastian Payne are the co-convenors of the UK Constitutional Law Group. Andrew serves on the executive committee of the IACL. Nick Barber is the founding editor of the blog.

Suggested citation: A. Le Sueur, S. Payne and N. Barber, ‘Next steps for the UK Constitutional Law Group’ (21 August 2013) (available at http://ukconstitutionallaw.org).

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