Book Launch Symposium - The Collaborative Constitution by Aileen Kavanagh

Event date
15 January 2024
Event time
15:30 - 19:30
Oxford week
HT 1
Bonavero Institute of Human Rights - Sir Joseph Hotung Auditorium

Professor Aileen Kavanagh, Professor of Constitutional Governance, Trinity College Dublin, and Director of TriCON

Professor Murray Hunt, Director of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law

Professor Vanessa MacDonnell, Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and Co-Director of the Ottawa Public Law Centre

Professor Gavin Phillipson, Professor of Law at University of Bristol Law School

Lord Sales, Justice of the Supreme Court, The Right Hon Lord Sales

Professor Dieter Grimm, Professor of Law at Humboldt University Berlin

Professor Basak Çalı, incoming Head of Research at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and Professor of International Law in the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford

The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights is delighted to host the launch of the book The Collaborative Constitution by Aileen Kavanagh.

In this book, Aileen Kavanagh offers a fresh account of how we should protect rights in a democracy. Departing from leading theoretical accounts which present the courts and legislature as rivals for constitutional supremacy, Kavanagh argues that protecting rights is a collaborative enterprise between all three branches of government - the Executive, the legislature, and the courts. On a collaborative vision of constitutionalism, protecting rights is neither the solitary task of a Herculean super-judge, nor the dignified pronouncements of an enlightened legislature. Instead, it is a complex, dynamic, and collaborative endeavour, where each branch has a distinct but complementary role to play, whilst engaging with each other in a spirit of comity and mutual respect. Connecting constitutional theory with the practice of protecting rights in a democracy, this book offers an innovative understanding of the separation of powers, grounded in the values and virtues of constitutional collaboration.

This event will be held as a symposium with two panel discussions, as follows:

15h30-16h45: Views from the Academy 

Professor Murray Hunt
Professor Vanessa MacDonnell
Professor Gavin Phillipson
Author: Professor Aileen Kavanagh

Chair: Professor Kate O'Regan

16h45-17h15: Tea and coffee

17h15-18h30: Views from the Bench

Professor Dieter Grimm
Lord Sales
Professor Kate O’Regan
Author: Professor Aileen Kavanagh

Chair: Professor Basak Çalı

18h30-19h30: Wine, elderflower and snack reception in the Lower Atrium of the Bonavero Institute


Professor Aileen Kavanagh 


Professor Aileen Kavanagh holds the Chair of Constitutional Governance at Trinity College Dublin, where she is Director of TriCON, the Trinity Centre for Constitutional Governance.  Previously Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Oxford, she has written widely in the fields of comparative constitutional law, human rights and constitutional theory.  Her first book, Constitutional Review under the UK Human Rights Act 1998 (CUP, 2009) was shortlisted for the Society of Legal Scholars Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship.  Her new book - The Collaborative Constitution - is out now with Cambridge University Press.

Views from the Bench

Lord Sales 

Lord Sales

Philip James Sales, Lord Sales became a Justice of the Supreme Court in January 2019.

Lord Sales was educated at the Royal Grammar School in Guildford, before reading law at both Churchill College, Cambridge, and Worcester College, Oxford.

He was called to the Bar of England and Wales at Lincoln's Inn in 1985 and was appointed First Treasury Junior Counsel in 1997. He was an Assistant Recorder from 1999 to 2001, Recorder from 2001 and 2008, and Deputy High Court Judge from 2004 and 2008.

Lord Sales became a Queen's Counsel in 2006 and continued to act in the re-named post of First Treasury Counsel Common Law until his appointment to the High Court, Chancery Division in 2008. He was a member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal between 2008 and 2015, and Vice-President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal between 2014 and 2015.

Between 2009 and 2014 Lord Sales served as Deputy Chair of the Boundary Commission for England. He was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2014.

Professor Kate O'Regan

Kate O'Regan

Kate O'Regan is the inaugural Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and a former judge of the South African Constitutional Court (1994 – 2009). In the mid-1980s she practiced as a lawyer in Johannesburg in a variety of fields, but especially labour law and land law, representing many of the emerging trade unions and their members, as well as communities threatened with eviction under apartheid land laws.  In 1990, she joined the Faculty of Law at UCT where she taught a range of courses including race, gender and the law, labour law, civil procedure and evidence. Since her fifteen-year term at the South African Constitutional Court ended in 2009,  she has amongst other things served as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court of Namibia (from 2010 - 2016), Chairperson of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency and a breakdown in trust between the police and the community of Khayelitsha (2012 – 2014), and as a member of the boards or advisory bodies of many NGOs working in the fields of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and equality.

Professor Dieter Grimm 

Dieter Grimm

Dieter Grimm studied law and political science in Frankfurt, Paris and Harvard. He taught constitutional law at Bielefeld University, Humboldt University Berlin and the Yale Law School and was Visiting Professor in a number of universities worldwide. From 1987 to 1999 he served as Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. From 2001 to 2007 he was Director of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for Advanced Study), whose Permanent Fellow he continues to be. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from the universities of Goettingen, Toronto, Porto Alegre, Bucarest and Bielefeld. He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Academia Europaea, the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His writings on constitutional law, constitutional theory and constitutional history as well as European law have been translated in various languages.

Professor Başak Çalı 


Professor Çalı is the new Head of Research at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and professor of International Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford. She is currently professor of International Law, and director of the Centre for Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School in Berlin.

Professor Çalı is a leading scholar of international law and human rights. Her scholarship on international human rights law spans the European human rights system, human rights systems in the Americas and Africa, the United Nations’ human rights system, and the newly emerging human rights systems in Asia. She has a long-standing interest in interdisciplinary studies of international human rights law and human rights research methods. She has pioneered the study of bad faith violations of human rights law (Wisconsin International Law Journal 2018), and is the author of, inter alia, The Authority of International Law: Obedience, Respect and Rebuttal (OUP 2015), editor of International Law for International Relations (OUP 2010) and co-editor of Migration and the European Convention on Human Rights (OUP 2021) and Secondary Rules of Primary Importance: Attribution, Causality, Evidence, and Standards of Review in the Practice of International Courts and Tribunals (OUP 2022). 
She is currently the Principal Investigator of the German Science Council funded Research Project ‘Deep Impact through Soft Jurisprudence? The Contribution of United Nations Treaty Body Case Law to the Development of International Human Rights Law’ and a co-investigator of the Volkswagen Foundation funded research project FRAMES: Framing Reality and Normativity in European Human Rights Law: Climate Change, Migration, and Authoritarianism.
As a legal practitioner, she has taken cases to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. She is the chair and co-founder of the European Implementation Network -- Europe’s leading civil society organisation that advocates for the full and effective implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. She brings over twenty years of experience in training judges, lawyers, prosecutors and police officers in human rights law across the Council of Europe. She is also Permanent Visiting Professor at the iCourts Center of Excellence for International Courts at the University of Copenhagen and a fellow of the University of Essex Human Rights Centre.

Views from the Academy

Professor Gavin Phillipson 


Gavin Phillipson has held a Chair in Law since January 2007, at University of Bristol since 2019. His research and teaching interests cover aspects of UK and comparative constitutional law and practice, and European, UK and comparative human rights law on Bill of Rights design, the ‘horizontal effect’ of constitutional rights, free speech, public protest, privacy and anti-terrorism and the interface of these fields with constitutional and political theory. He has published widely in these fields in top law journals in the UK, Australia, Canada and the US and is co-author of the leading text Media Freedom under the UK Human Rights Act (2006, OUP), with Fenwick.

His work has been cited in judgments by the High Court, Court of Appeal, former House of Lords and Supreme Court in the UK, by the Canadian Supreme Court, New Zealand Court of Appeal and by the Media Lawyer’s Association in their intervention to the European Court of Human Rights in the Hannover v Germany (no 2) (2012). His work on collaborative/dialogic constitutionalism includes ‘‘Covert derogations and judicial deference: redefining liberty and due process rights in counter-terrorism law and beyond’ (2011) 56(4) McGill Law Journal, 864-918 (with Fenwick), Deference, Discretion and Democracy in the Human Rights Act Era’ (2007) 60 Current Legal Problems 40-78, ‘Deference and Dialogue in the Real-World Counter-Terrorism Context’ in de Londras and Davis (eds) Critical Debates on Counter-Terrorist Judicial Review (CUP, 2014) and  ‘The Human Rights Act, “Dialogue” and Constitutional Principles’ in Leigh and  Masterman (eds), The United Kingdom's Statutory Bill of Rights: Constitutional and Comparative Perspectives (OUP, 2013).

He held an Academic Parliamentary Fellowship in the House of Commons Library 2018-19, working on constitutional aspects of Brexit and his work has been cited extensively in parliamentary reports in both Houses on House of Lords reform, replacing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act and control of war powers. He recently gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Justice Committee on the Bill of Rights Bill 2022.

Professor Vanessa MacDonnell 


Vanessa MacDonnell is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law (Common Law Section) and Co-Director of the uOttawa Public Law Centre. She researches in the areas of Canadian constitutional law, constitutional theory, comparative constitutional law and criminal law. In 2019 she was selected for membership in the Global Young Academy

Vanessa’s research examines the constitutional functions of the executive branch, inter-institutional relationships, unwritten constitutional norms and principles, and the relationship between Canada’s legal and political constitutions. She also writes about police powers and the jury. She is currently completing a SSHRC-funded research project on quasi-constitutional legislation. She is also the Canadian Principal Investigator on a $1.7 million interdisciplinary, international research project on unwritten constitutional norms and principles, funded in Round 7 of the Open Research Area Competition.

Vanessa is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law (J.D.) and Harvard Law School (LL.M.). She is currently pursuing doctoral studies at McGill University. Between 2007 and 2008 she served as a law clerk to Justice Louise Charron at the Supreme Court of Canada. Vanessa has held visiting research fellowships at the University of the Witwatersrand, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public and International Law, King's College London and the Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law at Melbourne Law School. In 2019 she spent six months as Scholar-in-Residence in the Constitutional, Administrative and International Law Section of the federal Department of Justice.

Vanessa teaches or has taught criminal law, evidence, constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, administrative law, a seminar on the Supreme Court of Canada, and a graduate course on the impact of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on criminal law and procedure.

Vanessa is a regular media commentator on criminal and constitutional issues. She tweets about current affairs at (@vanessa_macd) / Twitter

Read Vanessa's papers on SSRN:

Professor Murray Hunt 


Murray Hunt has been a Visiting Professor in Human Rights Law since January 2011. He has been the Director of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law since 2017, and the UK's alternate member of the Council of Europe's Commission for Democracy Through Law (the Venice Commission) since 2019.

Murray was previously the Legal Adviser to the Joint Committee on Human Rights of the UK Parliament from 2004 to 2017. In Parliament, he advised the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) and drafts reports to Parliament on the human rights compatibility of Government Bills, the implementation by the Government of human rights judgments (including judgments of the European Court of Human Rights), the UK’s compliance with international human rights treaties and significant human rights issues of national concern.  Examples of Reports of the JCHR on which he worked can be found here.

Murray’s publications cover a wide range of public law and human rights issues, but focus in particular on the national implementation of international human rights norms, the capacity of the common law to provide the necessary normative foundation for such national implementation, and the importance of democratic considerations in any contemporary account of public law and human rights.  His most recent book, Parliaments and Human Rights: Redressing the Democratic Deficit (2015), is a collection of essays which seek to address directly the growing and genuinely-held concern, in the UK and elsewhere, that the institutional arrangements for the protection of human rights suffer from a democratic deficit, and considers how a more democratic model of human rights protection could be achieved.

His current research interests focus on the role of parliaments in the protection and realisation of the rule of law and human rights.  He currently leads an AHRC funded research project on Parliaments, the Rule of Law and Human Rights which is focused on strengthening the rule of law and human rights by finding ways of bringing them into the heart of the political process and embedding them in democratic institutions.  The project has convened international conferences and UN side events on the subject, in collaboration with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Universal Rights Group, the Commonwealth, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, UN member states, and other partners.  One of the aims of the project is to build the international consensus necessary to underpin some internationally agreed principles on Parliaments and Human Rights. In 2018 a set of draft Principles was published in a report to the UN Human Rights Council.

Murray studied law at Oxford and Harvard Law School and before taking up his role as Legal Adviser in Parliament he practised as a barrister for 12 years, specialising in public law and human rights.  As a barrister he appeared in numerous cases concerning human rights in both the European Court of Human Rights and the UK’s higher courts.

Murray teaches an annual seminar course on the role of parliaments in the European system of human rights protection on the Human Rights Law course.

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