As the UK questions its post-Referendum future, the Oxford Foundation for Law, Justice and Society, in association with the Oxford Faculty of Law and the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, invites you to a re-staging of the Putney Debates, 370 years after the original debate ushered in a new democratic order.

Be a part of this historic re-staging and help redraw the UK’s constitutional settlement for the age of Brexit.

The Putney Debates 2017: Constitutional Crisis in the UK will be held at the site of the original Putney Debates, St Mary’s Church in Putney, on 2–3 February 2017.

The debate will address the fall-out from the EU Referendum and the ongoing constitutional conflict between government, the legislature, and the judiciary in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that government must consult Parliament before triggering Article 50 to leave the EU. The Debates will be chaired by the UK's leading legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg, Cambridge philosopher and Cross-bench Peer Baroness Onora O’Neill, and Oxford constitutional law experts Professor Paul Craig and Professor Denis Galligan, who will preside over four panels of over 30 prominent figures from the law, politics, and civil society.

  • Renowned philosopher and prominent Brexit critic AC Grayling will make an impassioned plea for a written Constitution for the UK, 370 years after it was first proposed at the original Putney Debates;
  • Former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley will ask: In the wake of the legal challenges over the use of the ancient Royal Prerogative to trigger Article 50, does the separation of powers still work? 
  • Rob Murray, lead partner at Mishcon de Reya LLP, representing Gina Miller in the Article 50 case before the UK Supreme Court, will bring his insights into the key findings of the Supreme Court in the Miller/Article 50 case;
  • Constitutional expert (and tutor to David Cameron) Vernon Bogdanor will assess the implications for parliamentary sovereignty of the EU referendum and government’s decision to enact Brexit irrespective of any parliamentary vote;
  • Renowned human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield QC will argue for the value of the popular vote; 
  • Oxford Professors Will Hutton, Timothy Garton Ash, and Paul Craig will examine the evolving role and expectations of the People in our 21st Century democracy;
  • Robert Hazell CBE, founder of the Constitution Unit at UCL will assess the purpose of referendums and why we need fewer of them;
  • Anthony Barnett, founder of openDemocracy, will assess the democratic and constitutional principles that the original Putney Debates brought about and how they should be updated for the twenty-first century. 

See the full line-up of participants

Now more than ever, it is time to re-stage the Putney Debates for the twenty-first century, to bring together a wide selection of citizens from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to debate the constitutional challenges that confront us today.
The Oxford Foundation for Law, Justice and Society invites you to join us for this historic re-staging, and to be a part of the debates concerning the UK’s constitutional and democratic future.
To see the full line-up and reserve your place, visit