The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society publishes Constitution in Crisis: The New Putney Debates, featuring Sir Stephen Sedley, AC Grayling, and Vernon Bogdanor

Associated people

The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society is proud to announce the publication of Constitution in Crisis: The New Putney Debates, a volume of short essays that brings together 25 prominent intellectuals to grapple with the Brexit conundrum. The book has emerged from the Putney Debates 2017, a landmark event held in association with the Oxford Law Faculty at St Mary's Church, Putney in February this year at which over 500 people debated the future of the UK Constitution in the wake of the EU referendum. 

The debates that began at St Mary’s Church, Putney on 28 October 1647 pioneered the liberal, democratic settlement in England: a written constitution, universal suffrage, freedom of conscience and equality before the law. Four centuries later, the 2016 Brexit referendum raised fundamental questions concerning the constitution of the United Kingdom.

Constitution in Crisis enquires deeper into the constitutional crisis at the heart of today’s politics. Featuring easily digestible essays from the Law Faculty’s Sir Stephen Sedley and Alison Young, along with a series of equally high-profile commentators including A.C. GraylingVernon BogdanorDavid Runciman, Timothy Garton Ash, and Gina Miller’s lawyer at Mischon de Reya Rob Murray the book provides clear insights and provocative new perspectives on the UK's most important political debate of the twenty-first century.

Denis Galligan, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford, who outlines the issues at stake in the Introduction to the book, describes the inspiration behind the book's publication:

The parallels between 1647 and 2017 are striking. Government has been toppled, a new leadership has emerged, and the two main parties are in a state of internecine warfare. Parliamentarians do not understand how to reconcile their duty to act for the common good and the result of the referendum. The people are divided and the four nations comprising the United Kingdom are at odds.

A copy of the book will be sent to each MP and Higher Court judge in the land, and is set to be a must-read contribution to the ongoing public debate about the future of the UK Constitution.

Professor Galligan said of the initiative that 'we hope that this short volume goes some way to addressing the calls for better civic education, for the electorate and elected representatives alike' that were expressed at the Putney Debates 2017.

Further details of the Putney Debates 2017 and Constitution in Crisis: The New Putney Debates can be found on pp. 28-9 of the 2017-18 issue of Oxford Law News, out this week.

Copies are available to buy in all High Street bookshops, or you can order your discounted copy from the FLJS Publications pages:

Praise for Constitution in Crisis

The idea of having a new version of the Putney Debates was an excellent one, and the format devised for the debates worked to very good effect, as attested to by the results published in this book.

Paul Craig, Professor of English Law, University of Oxford