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Sovereignty in Question


28th June 2011

Academic Directors:

Professor Richard Rawlings, University College London

Professor Peter Leyland, London Metropolitan University

Dr Alison Young, University of Oxford

Speakers include:

Professor Damian Chalmers, London School of Economics; Professor Paul Craig, University of Oxford; Professor David Feldman, University of Cambridge; Sir Christopher Greenwood QC, Judge, International Court of Justice; Professor Jeffrey Goldsworthy, Monash University; Professor Carol Harlow, London School of Economics; Lord Hope of Craighead, Deputy President, UK Supreme Court; Professor Jeffrey Jowell, University College London; Professor Martin Loughlin, London School of Economics; Professor John Morison, Queens University, Belfast; Aidan O'Neill QC, Matrix Chambers; Professor Dan Sarooshi, University of Oxford; Professor Joanne Scott, University College London; Professor Adam Tomkins, University of Glasgow; Professor Neil Walker, University of Edinburgh;

and 45 further papers will be given in parallel sessions over the three days of the Workshop, addressing the themes of:

· the evolution of sovereignty,

· the judicial challenge,

· sovereignty and European integration.

Description: The 2011 W G Hart Legal Workshop will explore the multi-faceted concept of sovereignty. In a pivotal study 'Questioning Sovereignty', Professor Neil MacCormick (in whose memory the workshop is dedicated) argued that in the face of regional and international developments former understandings of state and nation and of sovereignty were increasingly outdated. At a supra-national level this idea has already raised the spectre of a new legal order based on a European 'super state' with the potential further to transcend traditional views of sovereignty and the sovereign state. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom for example, established constitutional doctrine in the form of Parliamentary Sovereignty has also now to be considered against the backdrop of the Human Rights Act, the devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the creation of a Supreme Court. Equally however, comparative constitutional discourse confirms the continuing appeal of the concept of sovereignty and its great capacity for reinvention, whether this is in the context of a powerful pull of ideas about local identity (plurinational democracies) or the determinedly globalising guise of international organisations. Focused both on the internal and external aspects, the workshop will aim to consider these various dimensions of sovereignty, examined from a legal, theoretical, political and historical perspective.


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