On 23 June 2016 the British people voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. However, the UK’s formal exit from the EU was only secured on 31 January 2020. The intervening period was one of great political dramas during which Parliament became the focal-point for opposing forces, bitterly divided on the issue of Europe. This lecture will reflect upon the three years of Brexit-related strife and the lessons it offers for Parliament’s place within the UK constitution. A number of forces emerged to rival Parliament as the embodiment of ‘sovereignty’ within the United Kingdom’s constitutional order: the people themselves, the executive, the devolved governments and the courts. After such a bruising struggle for supremacy, where now for Parliament within the UK’s unwritten constitutional system?
Stephen Tierney is Professor of Constitutional Theory in the School of Law, University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is a member of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland and Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee. In this latter role he advised Parliament on all of the key legislation which it passed during the Brexit process. He also served as editor of the UK Constitutional Law Blog from 2015-20, publishing a number of influential posts that helped shape the arguments in the two ‘Miller’ cases before the United Kingdom Supreme Court. His research interests are in UK and comparative constitutional law. He has published eight books including two monographs with Oxford University Press.
Co-presenters: Professor Richard Ekins, University of Oxford & Professor Erin Delaney, Northwestern Pritzker
Moderator: Professor Anthony J. Bellia, Notre Dame Law School
Registration is required; link forthcoming.