Aileen Kavanagh, BCL, MA (University College Dublin); MLE (Hanover); DPhil (Oxon) is Professor of Constitutional Law and Jeffrey Hackney Fellow and Tutor in Law at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford.

Professor Kavanagh has published widely in national and international journals in the fields of domestic and comparative constitutional law, human rights and constitutional theory.  She is author of Constitutional Review under the UK Human Rights Act 1998 (CUP, 2009) which was shortlisted for the Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship in 2009.  She is also co-editor (together with Professor John Oberdiek, University of Rutgers, US) of Arguing About Law (Routledge, 2009), which is a reader in general jurisprudence.  Aileen is currently working on a new book called The Collaborative Constitution, which is due to be published by Cambridge University Press in early 2019.  Work towards this book was generously supported by a British Academy Research Fellowhsip in 2015.  Aileen sits on the editorial board of Law and Philosophy: An International Journal for Jurisprudence and Legal Philosophy and the leading UK journal specialising in all areas of constitutional and administrative law called Public Law. 

At Oxford, Aileen teaches constitutional law, administrative law and jurisprudence to undergraduates, but she also runs a postgraduate research seminar series called Issues in Comparative Constitutionalism.  She is an Academic Affilliate at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and an Associate at the Oxford Human Rights HubShe welcomes approaches from any students who wish to do research in any of her subject-areas.

In September 2019, she will take up the Chair in Constitutional Governance at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.


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  • A Kavanagh, 'Recasting the Political Constitution: From Roles to Relationships' (2019) 30 Kings Law Journal (Special Issue) (forthcoming)
  • A Kavanagh, 'El papel de los jueces en el marco de una carta de derechos: Una teoría de la contención judicial -The Role of Courts under a Bill of Rights: A Theory of Judicial Restraint (in Spanish with English Abstract)' (2017) 13 Eunomia - Revista en Cultura de la Legalidad 80
  • A Kavanagh, 'The Lure and the Limits of Dialogue' (2016) University of Toronto Law Journal 84
  • A Kavanagh, ''What's So Weak about Weak-Form Review? A Rejoinder to Stephen Gardbaum'' (2015) 13 International Journal of Constitutional Law I.CON 1
  • A Kavanagh, 'A Hard Look at the Last Word' (2015) 35 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 825
  • A Kavanagh and Chintan Chandrachud, 'Rights-Based Constitutional Review in the UK: From Form to Function' in John Bell and Marie-Luce Paris (eds), Rights-Based Constitutional Review in Comparative Perspective (Edward Elgar 2015)
  • A Kavanagh, 'The Constitutional Separation of Powers' in David Dyzenhaus & Malcolm Thorburn (ed), Philosophical Foundations of Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press 2015)
  • A Kavanagh, 'The Joint Committee on Human Rights: A Hybrid Breed of Constitutional Watchdog' in Hunt, Hooper and Yowell (eds), Parliaments and Human Rights: Redressing the Democratic Deficit (Hart Publishing 2015)
  • A Kavanagh, 'The Role of the Courts in a Joint Enterprise' in Barber, Ekins and Yowell (eds), The Limits of the Law (Hart Publishing 2015)
  • A Kavanagh, 'What's so Weak about 'Weak-Form Review'? The Case of the UK Human Rights Act 1998' (2015) 13 International Journal of Constitutional Law (I.CON) 1008
  • A Kavanagh, 'Proportionality and Parliamentary Debate: Exploring Some Forbidden Territory' (2014) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 1
  • A Kavanagh, 'Reasoning About Proportionality under the Human Rights Act 1998: Outcomes, Substance and Process' (2014) Law Quarterly Review 235
  • A Kavanagh, 'The Irish Constitution at 75 Years: Natural Law, Christian Values and the Ideal of Justice' (2012) 48 Irish Jurist 71
  • A Kavanagh, 'Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendments from Irish Free State to Irish Republic' in Eoin Carolan (ed), The Constitution of Ireland: Perspectives and Prospects (Bloomsbury Professional 2012)
  • A Kavanagh, 'Constitutionalism, Counter-Terrorism and the Courts: Changes in the British Constitutional Landscape' (2011) 9 International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON) 172
    ISBN: 1474-2640
  • A Kavanagh, 'From Appellate Committee to Supreme Court: Independence, Activism and Transparency' in James Lee (ed), From House of Lords to Supreme Court: Judges, Jurists and the Process of Judging (Oxford, Hart Publishing 2011)
  • A Kavanagh, 'Special Advocates, Control Orders and the Right to a Fair Trial' (2010) 63 Modern Law Review 836
    ISBN: 0026-7961
  • A Kavanagh, 'Defending Deference in Public Law and Constitutional Theory' (2010) 126 Law Quarterly Review 222
    ISBN: 0023-933X
  • A Kavanagh, 'Judicial Restraint in the Pursuit of Justice' (2010) 60 University of Toronto Law Journal 23
  • A Kavanagh, 'Constitutional Review, the Courts and Democratic Scepticism' (2009) 62 Current Legal Problems 102
    ISBN: 0070-1998
  • A Kavanagh, Constitutional Review under the UK HRA 1998 (Cambridge: CUP 2009)
    ISBN: 9780521761000
  • A Kavanagh, 'Judging the Judges under the Human Rights Act 1998: Deference, Disillusionment and the ?War on Terror?' [2009] Public Law 287
    ISBN: 0033-3565
  • A Kavanagh, 'Strasbourg, the House of Lords or Elected Politicians: Who decides about rights after Re P?' (2009) 72 Modern Law Review 828
  • A Kavanagh and John Oberdiek (eds), Arguing About Law (Routledge-Cavendish 2008)
  • A Kavanagh, 'Deference or Defiance? The Limits of the Judicial Role in Constitutional Adjudication' in G. Huscroft (ed), Expounding the Constitution: Essays in Constitutional Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2008)
  • A Kavanagh, 'Choosing Between Section 3 and 4 Human Rights Act: Judicial Reasoning after Ghaidan v. Mendoza' in H. Fenwick, G.Phillipson & R.Masterson (ed), Judicial Reasoning Under the Human Rights Act 1998 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2007)
  • A Kavanagh, 'Parliamentary Intent, Statutory Interpretation and the Human Rights Act 1998' (2006) 26 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 179
  • A Kavanagh, 'Pepper v Hart and Matters of Constitutional Principle' (2005) 120 Law Quarterly Review 98
  • A Kavanagh, 'Unlocking the Human Rights Act: The Radical" Approach to Section 3(1) Revisited"' (2005) European Human Rights Law Review 259
  • A Kavanagh, 'Comparative perspectives on Constitutional Law: Implications for the Human Rights Act 1998 (Review Essay)' (2004) European Public Law 161
  • A Kavanagh, 'Statutory Interpretation under the Human Rights Act 1998 after Anderson: a more contextual approach' [2004] Public Law 537
  • A Kavanagh, 'The Elusive Divide between Interpretation and Legislation under the Human Rights Act 1998' (2004) 24 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 259
  • A Kavanagh, 'The Role of a Bill of Rights in Reconstructing Northern Ireland' (2004) 26 Human Rights Quarterly 956
  • A Kavanagh, 'Participation and Judicial Review: A Reply to Jeremy Waldron' (2003) 22 Law and Philosophy 1
  • A Kavanagh, 'The Idea of a Living Constitution' (2003) 16 Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 55
  • A Kavanagh, 'Original Intention, Enacted Text and Constitutional Interpretation' (2002) 47 The American Journal of Jurisprudence 255
  • A Kavanagh, 'Kavanagh's book on the Human Rights Act was widely cited in the Policy Exchange Report entitled 'Bringing Rights Back Home - Making human rights compatible with parliamentary democracy in the UK' (2000)
    The report (authored by Michael Duschinsky) is available at
  • A Kavanagh, 'R v Momcilovic [2010] VSCA 50 (17 March 2010)' (2000)
    Kavanagh's article "The Elusive Divide Between Interpretation and Legislation" (2004) 24 OJLS 259 was cited with approval in this case by the Court of Appeal of Victoria (Australia). It has been granted special leave by the High Court of Australia.
  • A Kavanagh, 'The Quest for Legitimacy in Constitutional Interpretation' (1998) 32 Irish Jurist 195

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Research programmes

Research Interests

constitutional and administrative law, comparative constitutionalism, human rights and constitutional theory

Options taught

Administrative Law, Jurisprudence, Constitutional Law (Senior Status)

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