Biography

Adam Perry is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law and Garrick Tutor and Fellow at Brasenose College. He holds a BA in economics from the University of Winnipeg, an LLB from the University of Victoria, and BCL, MPhil, and DPhil degrees from the University of Oxford. He was a law clerk at the British Columbia Court of Appeal, and has held academic positions at the European University Institute, the University of Aberdeen, and Queen Mary University of London. He joined the Faculty of Law at Oxford in 2015. 

Dr Perry's interests are in administrative law, constitutional law, and jurisprudence. His research draws on jurisprudential insights about basic legal ideas (rules, powers, etc.) to explore doctrinal issues in public law (the limits of parliamentary sovereignty, the nature of the Crown's powers, etc.). Currently he is working on (i) the possibility and legitimacy of 'top-down' constitutional conventions; (ii) the nature and justifications for the rule against fettering discretion; and (iii) the relevance of civic virtue for standing to apply for judicial review.  

Dr Perry is a regular visiting scholar at the University of Melbourne. 

Publications

Displaying 1 - 10 of 10. Sorted by year, then title.
Filter by
  • A Perry and F Ahmed, 'Constitutional Statutes' (2017) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (forthcoming)
    In recent years, British courts have treated constitutional statutes differently from ordinary statutes. This article sets outs to explain: (1) how courts have treated constitutional statutes differently from ordinary statute; (2) what a constitutional statute is; and (3) why constitutional statutes should be treated differently from ordinary statutes. Courts have made it harder for ordinary statutes to repeal constitutional statutes by implication, and easier for constitutional statutes to repeal ordinary statutes by implication. A constitutional statute is a statute which regulates state institutions, and which possesses importance of a particular type that we describe. The nature of a constitutional statute largely – but not entirely – justifies the special treatment they have been given. These conclusions have wider implications, including for proposals to codify the British constitution.
  • A Perry, 'Mercy and the Roles of Judges' in Jonathan Jacobs and Jonathan Jackson (eds), Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics (Routledge 2016)
  • A Perry, 'The Crown's Administrative Powers' (2015) 131 Law Quarterly Review 652
    In addition to its statutory and prerogative powers, the Crown has extensive administrative powers. The Crown’s administrative powers range from the power to form contracts to the power to circulate written material, and include powers to make ex gratia payments, convey property, and create policies. Much of the ordinary business of government falls under the Crown’s administrative powers, yet these powers are poorly understood. There are two existing accounts of the Crown’s administrative powers, but I show that both are unsound. I set out a better account, according to which the Crown’s administrative powers are of two sharply different types: (i) legal powers, which derive from the common law, and which extend to what a natural person can do and what the law permits; and (ii) non-legal powers, which stem from wide social recognition, and which extend beyond what a natural person can do or what the law permits. This ‘twofold account’ suggests several new ways of distinguishing the Crown’s administrative powers from its prerogative powers. It also suggests that the Crown’s administrative powers pose an unusual and serious threat to the rule of law.
  • A Perry, 'The Internal Aspect of Social Rules' (2015) 35 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 283
    One of HLA Hart's main contributions to jurisprudence is his theory of social rules. Hart said, essentially, that a social rule exists if the members of a society act in some way and have a certain attitude. Most legal philosophers think that Hart's account of this attitude is too general, however, and that his theory is overinclusive as a result. In this article, I draw on recent work in the philosophy of action to propose a more precise account of the relevant attitude, and a revised version of Hart's theory. I claim that a social rule exists if the members of a society act in some way and ‘accept’ they ought to act this way, independent of their beliefs about the matter. One of the implications of this idea is that the attitude that underlies a social rule is closely analogous to a presumption or fiction about what ought to be done.
  • A Perry and F Ahmed, 'The Coherence of the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectations' (2014) 73 Cambridge Law Journal 61
    The doctrine of legitimate expectations is a developing area of administrative law, and many issues remain outstanding, including the grounds of legitimate expectations. Promises, practices, and policies are the recognized grounds of legitimate expectations, but what is special about them? Why do they and only they give rise to legitimate expectations? The lack of an obvious answer has led some commentators to worry that the doctrine is ultimately incoherent. In this paper, we argue, first, that promises, practices, and policies each comprise or make applicable a certain type of rule, and second, that having a legitimate expectation is a matter of such a rule binding a public body to act in some way. This rule-based account provides a unified, economical explanation of the grounds of legitimate expectations that also sets the doctrine on a coherent foundation.
  • A Perry and F Ahmed, 'The Quasi-Entrenchment of Constitutional Statutes' (2014) 73 Cambridge Law Journal 514
    The British constitution is famously unentrenched: a law is not more difficult to alter or override simply because it is a law of the constitution. That may be about to change. In the largely overlooked 2012 case of H v Lord Advocate, the Supreme Court repeatedly said that the Scotland Act 1998 cannot be impliedly repealed due to its ‘fundamental constitutional’ status. These remarks were obiter dicta, but they reflect the considered view of the Supreme Court, and as such strongly suggest the path the law will take. Courts in the future are likely to treat constitutional statutes, like the Scotland Act, as susceptible to express repeal, but exempt from implied repeal. That would make constitutional statutes 'quasi-entrenched'. In this article we argue that, as a judicial innovation, the quasi-entrenchment of constitutional statutes lacks a sound legal basis. Parliament can make its intention to repeal a constitutional statute clear without making it express, and judges cannot, on their own initiative, ignore Parliament's clear decision to repeal even a constitutional statute. We conclude by identifying three types of situations in which constitutional statutes should be recognised as having been impliedly repealed.
  • A Perry, 'Constitutional Conventions and the Prince of Wales' (2013) 76 Modern Law Review 1119 [Case Note]
    The Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) held in Evans v Information Commissioner that certain correspondence between Prince Charles and government officials must be disclosed under freedom of information legislation. Much of the judgment was devoted to a discussion of the constitutional conventions applicable to Prince Charles, and the case provides a useful example of how conventions and laws can interact. In this note, I argue that the Upper Tribunal misunderstood how conventions are distinguished from one another, and misapplied the test for the identification of conventions.
  • A Perry and F Ahmed, 'Expertise, Deference, and Giving Reasons' [2012] 2 Public Law 221
    There is a consensus among courts and commentators on the grounds for a duty to give reasons in administrative law. Traditionally, the duty has been justified as a way to promote good decision-making, show respect for the parties, and reveal potential grounds for a challenge to the decision. We argue that this traditional picture is incomplete, because it omits two important considerations that favour giving reasons. Giving reasons can provide evidence that a decision-maker is a relative expert, and thus provide evidence of a reason to defer to the decision-maker. Giving reasons can also indicate a decision-maker’s findings on specific issues, making it possible for an appellate or reviewing body to selectively defer to it. Together these points show that concerns of deference are relevant to when administrative decision-makers should give reasons.
  • A Perry, 'Parliamentary Democracy in Crisis' (2010) 43 University of British Columbia Law Review 269 [Review]
  • A Perry, 'Unlucky Section 13: Sexual Activity Between Children and the Sexual Offences Act 2003' (2009) 21 King's Law Journal 327

News

Research programmes

Research Interests

Administrative law, constitutional law, constitutional theory, jurisprudence

Research projects