Brexit and the British Constitution

Brexit and the British Constitution

Professor Erin Delaney
Spring 2020 reading group
W 3:00pm - 5:00pm in Hauser Hall Room 101
1 classroom credit

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

The British constitution sits uneasily in contemporary constitutional studies. Rather than a codified document, it is amorphous - made up of various laws and political practices - and its content is contested. It has been described as having a certain "back of the envelope" quality. In addition, it is famously a "political" constitution: its efficacy does not rely on court-centric enforcement through judicial review. Instead, it has been sustained through parliamentary politics, elections, and constitutional consensus. Under this system, the United Kingdom has achieved many measures of constitutional success, including political stability, representative democracy, and robust rights protection. But the British constitution may now be living on borrowed time. Dramatic constitutional change is roiling the United Kingdom. From the Blair Government's reforms at the turn of the century to Brexit of today, the past two decades have shattered the consensus, wreaking havoc on constitutional norms. Is it time for a different approach? Does the United Kingdom need a constitutional convention and a new, written constitution? This Reading Group will examine the drawn-out Brexit debacle and various other political and institutional developments within the United Kingdom to assess the likelihood and nature of future constitutional reform.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: 2/5, 2/19, 3/4, 3/25, 4/8, 4/22

Drop Deadline: February 6, 2020 by 11:59 pm EST

Subject Areas: International, Comparative & Foreign Law