A world class research centre
Influence of the Constitution Unit
Our research has had an impact in a number of different areas: most recently one of our reports gave rise to the new Cabinet Manual, and another to establish a Backbench Committee for parliamentary business. We have been influential in devolution, human rights and the courts. "Their work is invaluable." (Lord Falconer)
Robert Hazell founded the Constitution Unit in 1995 to do detailed research and planning on constitutional reform in the UK. The Unit has done work on every aspect of the UK’s constitutional reform programme: devolution in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions, reform of the House of Lords, electoral reform, parliamentary reform, the new Supreme Court, the conduct of referendums, freedom of information, the Human Rights Act. The Unit is the only body in the UK to cover the whole of the constitutional reform agenda.
The Unit conducts academic research on current or future policy issues, often in collaboration with other universities and partners from overseas. We organise regular programmes of seminars and conferences. We do consultancy work for government and other public bodies. We act as special advisers to government departments and parliamentary committees. We work closely with government, parliament and the judiciary. All our work has a sharply practical focus, is concise and clearly written, timely and relevant to policy makers and practitioners.
The Unit has always been multi disciplinary, with academic researchers drawn mainly from politics and law. We also have people with public service backgrounds, and welcome secondments from the public service. The Unit has 25 honorary Senior Research Fellows, who have worked on research projects with us; and a Council of 40 members who are distinguished figures with an interest in constitutional reform.