UCL Faculty of Laws

Prof Rick Rawlings

Prof Rick Rawlings

Chair of Public Law

Faculty of Laws


Joined UCL
1st Oct 2006

Research summary

Interweaving theory, doctrine and empirical studies, Rick’s research on public law closely connects with government and politics. He is particularly interested in the interplay of contemporary constitutional development with practical policy choice and implementation and in the role played by law and legal techniques in the design and working of administrative processes and governance systems. Rick’s most recent titles include, on the modelling of executive authority, ‘A Coalition Government in Westminster’; on the nature and forms of legal technique, ‘Soft law Never Dies’; on redress and accountability, 'Complaints Systems in EU Governance - A New Look'; and, reflecting his long-standing interests in devolution and intergovernmental relations as well as Welsh constitutional development, ‘Riders on the Storm: Political and Legal Responses to Territorial Constitutional Crisis’.


The project title for Rick’s Major Research Fellowship with Leverhulme is Devolution: A Constitutional Journey in Wales. Key aims of the project are: 

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


to contribute a distinctive Welsh voice to the burgeoning constitutional and legal debates about the Union

Teaching summary

At undergraduate (LLB) level, Rick convenes the full-unit course in Public Law and contributes to other public law modules such as Human Rights in the UK. At postgraduate (LLM) level, he convenes full-unit courses in EU Administrative Law and Judicial Review.  

His PhD students have tackled important and challenging topics in public law such as constitutional design and risk regulation in the EU and US; forms and patterns of judicial review in the commercial context; and European influences on constitutional change in the UK. Rick welcomes approaches from potential students, particularly now in the area of devolution and federalism.


University of Oxford
First Degree, Bachelor of Civil Law | 1976
University of Oxford
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1975


Richard (Rick) Rawlings (FLSW) is one of the UK's leading public lawyers. He is Professor of Public Law at UCL, Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellow, Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple, Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and Life Fellow of the Institute of Welsh Affairs. He was formerly Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee and currently serves on the Welsh Advisory Committee of the Law Commission.

Rick’s areas of expertise range across constitutional and administrative law. They include the UK’s territorial constitution and intergovernmental relations; policy implementation and administrative justice; judicial review and human rights; and EU law and governance. He pioneers the study of law and governance in Wales in the light of rapidly evolving devolutionary arrangements.

His many works include leading monographs and edited collections such as Delineating Wales: Constitutional, Legal and Administrative Aspects of National Devolution (2003); Devolution, Law-making and the Constitution (2005); Law and Administration (3rd edn 2009) (with Carol Harlow); The Regulatory State: Constitutional Implications (2010); Sovereignty and the Law (2013); and Process and Procedure in EU Administration (2014) (with Carol Harlow).

Rick has held research grants from a range of funding organisations such as ESRC, Leverhulme, Nuffield, and the Board of Celtic Studies. His major collaborations include the EU’s WIRE partnership on Regionalism and Constitutional Development, the Constitution Unit partnership on Devolution and Constitutional Change, and the EU’s CONNEX programme on Accountability in Network and Multi-level Governance. Rick has undertaken many public activities relating to his academic work, for example as Coordinator of the pan-UK ESRC Research Initiative on Administrative Justice; Secretary and Articles Editor of the Modern Law Review; and Academic Director of the WG Hart Legal Workshop. Rick has held visiting research and teaching posts at leading universities such as University of California Berkeley, National University Singapore, and University of Auckland.

In 2015 Rick was honoured to deliver the annual St David’s Day lecture of the Wales Governance Centre under the title ‘Riders on the Storm: Wales, the Union, and Territorial Constitutional Crisis’. More recently, he was rapporteur for a major independent review of proposed devolution legislation for Wales sponsored by the Wales Governance Centre and the Constitution Unit at UCL. His Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship for study of Wales and the Union is for three years from September 2016.