UCL Faculty of Laws


UCL Public Law Group

Welcome to the Public Law Group. We are a group of researchers at UCL Laws organising regular activities to discuss current research and ongoing developments in the field of public law

A sign showing the front entrance to Bentham House
The UCL Public Law Group is a community of scholars working in the field of public law, broadly understood. Our aim is to provide a supportive forum for the discussion and development of theoretical and doctrinal questions in constitutional theory, comparative constitutional law, human rights, judicial review, legal and political theory, and more.

The group brings together academic staff and visiting fellows, PhD researchers, and advanced students at UCL Laws interested in these topics. We regularly host seminars with scholars from UK-based and international institutions interested in sharing recent work.

The group’s mission is to foster creative dialogue between diverse scholars at all levels and to promote rigorous academic debate of public law topics.

The Convenor of the Group is Jeff King.
Current members include:

Upcoming events
Past events

Events organised during the 2022/23 academic year:

Events organised during the 2021/22 academic year:

  • 19 October 2021, Renata Uitz (CEU), ‘Constitutional Practices in Times “After Liberty”’ (and launch of the Routledge Handbook of Illiberalism (2021))
  • 22 November 2021, Stefan Theil (Cambridge), Towards the Environmental Minimum: Environmental Protection through Human Rights
  • 6 December 2021, Silvia Suteu (UCL), Book Launch: Eternity Clauses in Democratic Constitutionalism (OUP 2021) with Vicki Jackson (Harvard), Tom Ginsburg (Chicago), and Mara Malagodi (CUHK) commenting (event page here)
  • 17 January 2022, Stephen Tierney (Edinburgh), The Federal Contract
  • 7 February 2022, Rosalind Dixon (UNSW), Responsive Judicial Review
  • 14 March 2022, Madhav Khosla (Columbia), ‘Is a Science of Comparative Constitutionalism Possible?’
  • 9 May 2022, Martin Loughlin (LSE), Against Constitutionalism

Events organised during the 2020/21 academic year:

  • 17 November 2020 Alice Margaria (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany), ‘The Construction of Fatherhood: The Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights’ (video recording available here, UCL login required)
  • 1 December 2020 Joel Colón-Ríos (University of Victoria of Wellington), ‘Constituent Power and the Law’ (video recording available here, UCL login required)
  • 25 January 2021 Gary J. Jacobsohn (University of Texas) and Yaniv Roznai (IDC Herzliya), ‘Constitutional Revolution’ (video recording available here, UCL login required)
  • 12 April 2021 Bojan Bugaric (Sheffield) and Mark Tushnet (Harvard), ‘Power to the People: Constitutionalism in the Age of Populism’
  • 18 May 2021, Prof Mara Malagodi (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), ‘Gender Constitutionalism and Reproductive Rights’
  • 14 June 2021, Natalie Sedacca (University of Exeter and UCL Laws), ‘Domestic Workers, the ‘Family Worker’ Exemption from Minimum Wage, and Gendered Devaluation of Women’s Work’

2019/20 events

  • 12-13 September 2019 Co-hosted Conference on ‘The Rise of Constitutional Identity Review in Europe: A Critical Assessment’ (in collaboration with LUISS Rome and funded by UCL’s Rome Cities Partnership Programme) – full details here
  • 17 October 2019 Jessie Blackbourn (Durham), ‘Children, Terrorism, and Closed Material Procedures in the Family Court'
  • 31 October 2019 Ana Cannilla (Reading), ‘“Political” Political Constitutionalism and the “Populist” Challenge’
  • 9 December 2019 Jason Varuhas (Melbourne), ‘The Principle of Legality’
  • 12 February 2020 Paul Kildea (UNSW), ‘Recent Referendum Developments in Australia: Same-sex Marriage, First Nations Voice and Beyond'
  • 13 February 2020 Margit Cohn (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), 'Keeping the Executive Branch under Check: The Role of Courts in a Multi-Player Deliberative Democracy'
  • 28 February 2020 Donald Bello Hutt (KU Leuven and visiting scholar at UCL Laws, 2020), ‘Making What Present Again? A Critique of the Notion of Judicial Representation’

2018/19 events

  • 18 October 2018 Nimer Sultany (SOAS), ‘Law and Revolution: Legitimacy and Constitutionalism after the Arab Spring’
  • 14 November 2018 Eva Pils (King’s College London), ‘China’s Dual State Revival’
  • 21 November 2018 Jens Meierhenrich (LSE), ‘Authoritarian Rule of Law’
  • 28 November 2018 Hosted Workshop on ‘Exclusionary Constitutionalism’ (a Back to Bentham event) – Speakers: Mara Malagodi (City University); Mazen Masri (City University); Zoran Oklopcic (Carleton); and Silvia Suteu (UCL Laws)
  • 30 November 2018 Zoran Oklopcic (Carleton), ‘Beyond the People: Social Imaginary and Constituent Imagination’
  • 6 December 2018 Graeme Orr (University of Queensland and visiting scholar at UCL Laws, 2018), ‘Horizontal Censorship: Liberties of Speech and Private Power’
  • 13 December 2018 Bosko Tripkovic (Birmingham), ‘The Metaethics of Constitutional Adjudication’
  • 22 January 2019 Yossi Nehustan (Keele), ‘Judicial Review of Legislation and Democratic Legitimacy’
  • 5 February 2019 Margit Cohn (Hebrew University of Jerusalem and visiting scholar at UCL, 2019), ‘On a Theory of the Executive Branch’
  • 5 March 2019 Gavin Phillipson (Durham and visiting scholar at UCL, 2018-19), ‘Are Constitutional Conventions Legitimate?’
  • 19 March 2019 Hayley J. Hooper (Oxford), ‘The Counterbalancing Constitution: Judicial Review of Primary Legislation in Exceptional Circumstances’
  • 15 May 2019 Alex Schwartz (Hong Kong University), ‘An Agent-Based Model of Judicial Power’

2017/18 events

  • 2 October 2017 Helen Irving (Sidney), ‘Citizenship Revocation and the Question of Allegiance: Lessons from a Neglected History’
  • 16 October 2017 Yuresha Fernando (Attorney General’s Office, Sri Lanka), ‘The Sri Lankan Constituent Assembly’
  • 3 November 2017 Tarun Khaitan (Oxford), ‘The Place of Religion in Human Rights Law: Distinguishing Freedom of Religion from the Right against Religious Discrimination’
  • 13 November 2017 Dimitrios Kyritsis (Reading), ‘Where Our Protection Lies: Separation of Powers and Constitutional Review’
  • 16 November 2017 Francisco J. Urbina (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile), ‘A Critique of Proportionality and Balancing’
  • 23 April 2018 Trevor Allan (Oxford), ‘Practice, Principle, and Precedent: Vindicating Justice, According to Law’
  • 3 May 2018 Tom Poole (LSE), ‘Foreign Relations Power’
  • 8 May 2018 Lord Justice Fulford, 'Secrecy and Oversight: The New Investigatory Powers Commissioner Regime'
  • 6 June 2018 Laura Valentini (LSE), ‘Why the Notion of a Moral Claim Right is Unhelpful’
  • 11 June 2018 Martin Loughlin (LSE), ‘Political Jurisprudence’
Research projects

Lex-Atlas: Covid-19

The Lex-Atlas: Covid-19 (LAC19) project provides a scholarly report and analysis of national legal responses to Covid-19 around the world. There are nearly 200 jurists participating in the LAC19 network and who have contributed to writing national country reports. The Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to Covid-19 launched on 21 April 2021 with 19 Country and Territory Reports and a further 41 will be added on a rolling basis across the Spring and Summer of 2021. It is made open-access on a permanent basis through the generous support of the Faculty of Laws, University College London, the Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London, and the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany. The LAC19 project is supported more widely by the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Leverhulme Trust. At UCL Laws, Prof Jeff King is Co-PI on the project, Dr Silvia Suteu is the Gender and Comparative Constitutionalism Area Editor, and Dr Michael Veale is Area Editor for Information & Privacy. Read more about the Lex-Atlas: Covid-19 project here.

Gender Equalities at Work

The ‘Gender Equalities at Work: An Interdisciplinary History of 50 Years of Legislation’ project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and commencing in January 2021. This project, on which UCL Laws’ Prof Colm O’Cinneide is Co-Investigator, is a collaboration between researchers from the University of Edinburgh, UCL and UWE Bristol that traverses the fields of law, gender studies, history, industrial relations, and politics. The project will produce the first comprehensive history (from the 1960s to the present) of the enactment, legacy and lived experiences of the Equal Pay Act 1970 and Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (now integrated in the Equality Act 2010) across the four nations of the UK. Combining archival research and legal analysis with oral history interviews, it will examine the process through which this transformative legislation became law, and trace its subsequent impact on British society. The project will thus explore law in action, as agency, and as personal experience. Read more about the project here.

Structural Injustice and Workers’ Rights

In 2020, Prof Virginia Mantouvalou was awarded a 12-month British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. In her project Professor Mantouvalou develops an alternative solution, seeking to identify structures that force and trap workers in conditions of exploitation. She focuses specifically on what she calls ‘state-mediated structural injustice', where legislative schemes that promote otherwise legitimate aims create inadvertent vulnerabilities that force and trap workers in conditions of exploitation. She uses examples such as restrictive visa regimes, welfare conditionality programmes, such as Universal Credit, and zero-hour contracts to illustrate the unjust structures. She finally assesses whether these legal structures are compatible with human rights law (both civil and social rights) and makes proposals for legal reform. Read more about the project here.

Gender Sensitive Constitutions & Legislation

Beginning with 2015, Dr Silvia Suteu has been involved in various projects led by the Euromed Feminist Initiative and funded by the European Union and the Swedish Government, aiming at supporting the democratic transition in Syria through an inclusive constitution building process. As part of this work, Dr Suteu co-authored the ABC for a Gender Sensitive Constitution (2015) and the ABC for Gender Sensitive Legislation (2020). Both handbooks are available in English and Arabic and are routinely used for training, education, and awareness-raising purposes in the MENA region and beyond.

Devolution: A Constitutional Journey in Wales

In 2016, Prof Rick Rawlings was awarded a 36-month Major Research Fellowship to investigate the ongoing process of Welsh devolution. The research project had three main aims: to provide the authoritative constitutional and legal account of two decades of development; to chart a possible constitutional future for Wales inside a rapidly changing Union; and to contribute a distinctive Welsh voice to the burgeoning constitutional and legal debates about the Union. Read more about the project here.


Some of our members’ recent publications are listed below. For more up to date information, please visit their individual profiles.

Aleisha Ebrahimi, ‘Breastfeeding in Refugee Camps: a Child and Maternal Right?Human Rights Law Review (2021)

Colm O’Cinneide (co-editor with Cahill, Ó Conaill, and O’Mahony), Constitutional Change and Popular Sovereignty Populism, Politics and the Law in Ireland (Routledge 2021)

Silvia Suteu, Eternity Clauses in Democratic Constitutionalism (OUP 2021)

Conor Crummey, ‘Why Fair Procedures Always Make a DifferenceModern Law Review 83(6) 1221

Sonam Gordam, ‘Plan B Earth v Secretary of State for Transport: Airport Expansion, the Paris Agreement and the Planning Act 2008Journal of Environmental Law 32(3) (2020) 559

Myriam Hunter-Henin, Why Religious Freedom Matters for Democracy: Comparative Reflections from Britain and France for a Democratic “Vivre Ensemble” (Hart 2020)

Jeff King, ‘The Province of Delegated Legislation’ in Fisher, King, and Young (eds), The Foundations and Future of Public Law Essays in Honour of Paul Craig (OUP 2020)

Daniella Lock, ‘A New Chapter in the Normalisation of Closed Material ProceduresModern Law Review 83(1) (2020) 202

Virginia Mantouvalou, ‘Structural Injustice and the Human Rights of Workers’ Current Legal Problems 73(1) (2020) 59

Deni Mantzari, ‘Are economists Kings? Economic evidence and discretionary assessments at the UK utility regulatory agenciesJournal of Antitrust Enforcement 8(3) (2020)

Ronan McCrea, ‘Religion in the Constitutional Order of the European Union’ in Mancini (ed), Constitutions and Religion (Edward Elgar 2020)

Eugenio Velasco Ibarra, ‘Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd and Others: The Inapplicability of Discrimination Law to an Illusory Conflict of RightsModern Law Review 83(1) (2020) 190

Oliver Gerstenberg, Euroconstitutionalism and Its Discontents (OUP 2019)

Tom Hickman, ‘The Investigatory Powers Tribunal: A Law unto Itself?’ Public Law [2019] 584

Natalie Sedacca, ‘Migrant Domestic Workers and the Right to a Private and Family Life’, Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 32 (2019) 288

Rick Rawlings, ‘The Strange Reconstitution of Wales’ Public Law [2018] 62


If you would like to be added to the UCL Laws Public Law Group mailing list click here.

If you would like to learn about our upcoming activities, please email the current convenor: Professor Jeff King with a note on your affiliation.