Call for papers

Conference Theme

The theme for the 2016 Conference is “The Unity of Public Law?”.

The theme is intended to be multi-dimensional and we welcome proposals which engage with it from any one of a number of different perspectives. 

One possible perspective is comparative. Without intending to be prescriptive examples of topics might include: to what extent are specific doctrines, particular public law fields, public institutions, or systems of public law as a whole diverging or converging across common law jurisdictions? What are the drivers of divergence and convergence? To what extent do common law systems share a common public law heritage, and is this shared heritage worth retaining? Is it feasible and/or desirable to search for common solutions to shared problems? To what extent is legal development in particular common law jurisdictions shaped by developments in other common law systems, and to what extent should judges take into account and give weight to comparative materials in public law adjudication? What are the limits and dangers of comparativism in public law?

The theme also raises theoretical, doctrinal and institutional questions. Without intending to be prescriptive examples of topics include: is public law a normatively unified field or is it a mere doctrinal category of little normative significance? If public law is a unified field what gives it unity, and what distinguishes it from other fields, such as private law, if anything? What follows from any conclusion that public law is a unified field? What does public law encompass and what does it exclude; for example is international law a branch of public law, should private entities be bound by public law, and should public entities always be subject to public law? Is public law as a whole, or are distinct fields of public law or particular doctrines, increasingly being unified around common ideas, such as "rights" or "values", or methods, such as proportionality balancing, or is public law becoming an ever more diverse field, and what are the drivers of change? To what extent is organisation of the field around a common set of goals, ideas or principles desirable? What is the nature of the interconnections and interrelationships between different public law fields such as constitutional law and regulation, or administrative law and human rights law, or different systems of public law, such as judicial review and ombudsmen, tribunals or public inquiries?

The focus of the conference is common law jurisdictions.

Submitting an Abstract

Anyone who is interested in giving a paper at the 2016 Conference should submit an abstract by 11 December 2015. Abstracts should be submitted using the template that is available online. They should be sent by email to the conference convenors at publiclawconference@law.cam.ac.uk. Those whose papers are accepted will need to register for the conference and pay the conference fee in the usual way.

Doctoral Students

There will be special early morning conference sessions featuring the work of doctoral students. Doctoral students whose papers are accepted for inclusion in one of these sessions will be able to register for the conference free of charge. Doctoral students should submit their papers in the way described above, indicating their status in the relevant place on the submission form.