The Foundations and Future of Public Law

A project funded by the British Academy and led by Liz Fisher, Alison Young and Jeff King

Public law is the body of law that governs governments. Over the last 40 years it has evolved rapidly, but given the rate and multi-dimensional nature of change, public lawyers are too often in response mode. There is little opportunity to reflect upon the implications of these changes, how they relate to one another, and to the foundations of the subject. The failure to reflect upon these fundamentals is akin to architects failing to analyse the architecture and engineering of buildings already built. This project, led by Professor Liz Fisher (Oxford), Professor Jeff King (UCL), and Professor Alison Young (Cambridge), brings together world leading scholars to provide authoritative opinions on the nature and substance of these fundamentals. First at a conference in September 2018 and then in a subsequent OUP publication.

The inspiration for the project is the work of Professor Paul Craig. Craig has been a driving intellectual force in EU and UK public law, due to his scholarship and the many editions of pioneering texts such as Craig, Administrative Law, Craig & de Burca, EU Law: Text Cases and Materials, and Craig, EU Administrative Law. His work has resonated across swathes of practice and scholarship in the EU and UK. While he has done much to chart the fundamentals of the subject, as he wrote in 2015, ‘there is nonetheless much that is imperfectly understood’ about them. Inspired by the depth, scope, and ambition of Craig’s work, the focus of this project is upon producing a publication which explores six fundamentals of public law and the interrelationship between them: legislation, case law, theory, institutions, process, and constitutions.

Details of the conference can be found here.