The Private Law of Politics: Common Law and Internal Affairs of Political Parties

Event date
16 January 2023
Event time
12:45 - 14:00
Oxford week
HT 1
Postgraduate Students
North Lecture Room (St John's College) and Online

We are very pleased to share that the next hybrid meeting of the Oxford Private Law Postgraduate Research Students’ Discussion Group will be held on Monday16th January 2023, between 12.45pm and 2pm, in the North Lecture Room at St John's College, Oxford. A sandwich lunch will be provided for those attending in person.

Microsoft Teams link will be shared in due course for those joining online.

For this session we are happy to welcome Aradhya Sethia, a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, who will present his draft paper titled 'The Private Law of Politics: Common Law and Internal Affairs of Political Parties'. The session will be Chaired by Dr Hayley Hooper (Oxford).

An abstract of Aradhya's work is found below.

A draft paper will be circulated to members of this discussion group shortly before the event. As always, we will complete the session with a discussion on wider issues relevant to doctoral study. For this session, we will be discussing tips for/challenges associated with undertaking interdisciplinary research involving private law.

The event is open to all members of this discussion group. If you wish to attend this meeting in person, please email: . If you would like to become a member of the group and subscribe to our email list, please see further details on how to do so in the following link.


The internal affairs of political parties are fundamental to the democratic process. Yet, they have received scant attention in common law legal scholarship. To address this lack, I will focus on three aspects of the common law treatment of intra-party affairs in the UK: the constitutional significance of the internal life of parties; the juridical form of political parties as a network of contracts; and the scope of judicial intervention in intra-party affairs. Using the tools and techniques of contract law, courts regularly intervene in intra-party processes, and implicitly acknowledge the constitutional role of intra-party processes. However, courts may provide incomplete or inconsistent reasoning for whether and to what extent judges should intervene in a specific intra-party activity. An explicit recognition of the constitutional implications of intra-party processes within private law reasoning – constitutionally aware private law – may resolve some of these shortcomings.

Presenting at future sessions

We are currently looking for volunteers to present at future meetings. If you are interested in presenting your work (even if it is at a very early stage of research), please email, copying, with a brief outline of your proposed topic.

Further details about our discussion group can be found here.

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