Professorial Lecture: Aristocratic Elements in a Democratic Constitution

Event date
10 May 2024
Event time
17:00 - 19:00
Oxford week
TT 3
Gulbenkian Lecture Theatre


In the 20th century, people came to talk about democracy as if it were entirely a good thing, and as if only democratic techniques of government could be legitimate. But some aspects of governance in political community must be aristocratic, not democratic –that is, the constitution must give some governmental powers to those who are best at exercising them, and not to the people. Even for the constitution to be democratic in the ways that are so valuable, we need aristocratic techniques of governance.

The purpose of the lecture will be to point out some properly aristocratic elements in the United Kingdom constitution, and their limits.


The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

Biography: Timothy Endicott

Timothy Endicott

Timothy Endicott is the Vinerian Professor of English Law and a Fellow of All Souls College. He writes on Constitutional and Administrative Law and Jurisprudence. He was a Fellow in Law at Balliol College from 1999 to 2020, and served as the Dean of the Faculty of Law from 2007 to 2015. He is the author of Administrative Law, 5th ed (OUP 2021) and Vagueness in Law (OUP 2000).

After graduating with the AB in Classics and English from Harvard, he completed the MPhil in Comparative Philology in Oxford, studied Law at the University of Toronto, and practised as a litigation lawyer in Toronto. He completed the DPhil in Law in Oxford in 1998. He served as General Editor of the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies from 2015 to 2021.

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