Talking Constitutions
Talking Watergate

Talking Watergate

May 30, 2022

In this special episode of Talking Constitutions, recorded to mark the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in on 17 June 1972, Professor Colin Kidd (University of St Andrews and All Souls College Oxford) tells John Hudson about the events, the politics, and the constitutional significance of the Watergate scandal.

Historical Constitutions

Historical Constitutions

April 26, 2022

The subject of this episode is ‘Historical Constitutions’. Discussants are Jill Harries (Professor Emerita of Ancient History, University of St Andrews), Colin Kidd (Professor of Modern History, University of St Andrews) and Harshan Kumarasingham (Senior Lecturer in British Politics,  University of Edinburgh and co-convenor of Arthur Berriedale Keith Forum on Commonwealth Constitutionalism). The episode is chaired by John Hudson (Professor of Legal History, University of St Andrews).

Current Debates on the UK Constitution

Current Debates on the UK Constitution

April 24, 2022

The subject of this episode is ‘Current debates on the UK constitution’. Discussants are Stephen Gethins (Professor from Practice, University of St Andrews, and formerly the Scottish National Party’s Front Bench Spokesman for International Affairs and Europe), Nicola McEwen (Professor of Territorial Politics at the Centre on Constitutional Change, University of Edinburgh, and Senior Research Fellow with the ESRC initiative, UK in a Changing Europe), and Catherine Stihler (Chief Executive Officer of Creative Commons and formerly a Labour Member of the European Parliament). The episode is chaired by John Hudson (Professor of Legal History, University of St Andrews).

Space, Law and Constitutions

Space, Law and Constitutions

March 2, 2022

The subject of this episode is ‘Space, law and constitutions’, considering the laws and institutions that shape a wide variety of activities beyond the earth.

Discussants are Timiebi Aganaba (science advisory board member of the SETI institute and Assistant Professor of Space and Society in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University, where she is also on the Law School Faculty), Adam Bower (Senior Lecturer in the International Relations at the University of St Andrews), and Michael Byers (Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia). The episode is chaired by John Hudson (Professor of Legal History, University of St Andrews).

[Note: This episode was recorded on 15 February 2022, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.]

Old Authorities and Contemporary Constitutions

Old Authorities and Contemporary Constitutions

July 7, 2021

The subject of this episode is ‘Old Authorities and Contemporary Constitutions’, considering how and why certain works and specific figures from the past carry authority in contemporary constitutional arrangements and arguments.

Discussants are Jim Gallagher (former Civil Servant who headed the Scottish Justice Department and was the UK government’s most senior adviser on devolution and other constitutional issues), Janet McLean (Professor of Law at The University of Auckland and Special Advisor to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee of the House of Representatives, New Zealand) and Aidan O'Neill (QC (Scot.), QC (E&W), BL (Ireland). The episode is chaired by John Hudson (Professor of Legal History, University of St Andrews).

Exporting Constitutions

Exporting Constitutions

July 7, 2021

The subject of this episode is ‘Exporting Constitutions’, considering how constitutions and constitutional ideas have been transported or transferred from their place of origin to a new one.

Discussants are Harshan Kumarasingham (Senior Lecturer in British Politics, University of Edinburgh and co-convenor of Arthur Berriedale Keith Forum on Commonwealth Constitutionalism.), Anthony Lang (Professor of International Political Theory, University of St Andrews and one of the founding editors of the scholarly journal, Global Constitutionalism) and Nicola McEwen (Professor of Territorial Politics; Co-Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change, University of Edinburgh; and Senior Research Fellow with the ESRC initiaitive, UK in a Changing Europe). The episode is chaired by John Hudson (Professor of Legal History, University of St Andrews).

Justiciability

Justiciability

February 23, 2021

The subject of this episode is ‘Justiciability’, exploring the relevant - judge-made - ‘rules’ with reference to recent, high-profile, litigation. Drawing on the direct experience of both discussants, the episode challenges the idea that there is a clear concept of justiciability currently in operation at either the national (UK) or international level. 

Discussants are Aidan O’Neill QC (Scot.), QC (E&W), BL (Ireland) and Lorna Drummond QC (Sheriff in Tayside, Central and Fife, sitting at Dundee Sheriff Court, Sheriff of the Sheriff Appeal Court, and Temporary High Court Judge and Justice of the Court of Appeal of St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha). The episode is chaired by John Hudson (Professor of Legal History, University of St Andrews).

Advisors and Constitutions

Advisors and Constitutions

January 11, 2021

The subject of this episode is ‘Advisors and Constitutions’, considering why rulers - past and present - have advisors and whether special advisors pose a threat to constitutional rule. 

Discussants are Ali Ansari, Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews, Senior Associate Fellow at Royal United Services Institute and currently an AHRC/ESRC FCDO Fellow at the Foreign Office; Caroline Humfress, Director of the Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research, University of St Andrews; and Jacqueline Rose, Senior Lecturer in History at the University of St Andrews and co-editor of Political Advice: Past, Present and Future (I.B. Taurus, 2021). John Hudson, Professor of Legal History at the University of St Andrews, chairs the discussion.

The U.S. Electoral College

The U.S. Electoral College

December 8, 2020

The subject of this special episode of 'Talking Constitutions' is the United States Electoral College, recorded to coincide with the meeting of its presidential electors on December 14th 2020.

Discussants are Colin Kidd (Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and frequent contributor to the New Statesman, London Review of Books, and many other publications) and John Hudson (Professor of Legal History at the University of St Andrews).

Devolved Powers and Emergencies

Devolved Powers and Emergencies

November 19, 2020

The subject of this topical episode is ‘Devolved Powers and Emergencies’, exploring how emergencies test constitutional arrangements concerning devolved powers and how such constitutional arrangements might be improved.

Discussants are: Jim Gallagher, a former Civil Servant, who headed the Scottish justice department. He was the UK government’s most senior adviser on devolution and other constitutional issues, working in the Cabinet office and the number 10 policy unit under Gordon Brown. He was secretary of the UK civil contingencies committee and in charge of emergency planning in Scotland; Stephen Gethins, who worked in the NGO Sector specialising in peace-building, arms control and democracy in the Caucasus and the Balkans regions. He has been an MP at Westminster and the Scottish National Party’s Front Bench Spokesman for International Affairs and Europe; and Catherine Stihler, who was a Labour Member of the European Parliament for 20 years and is now Chief Executive Officer of Creative Commons. Chairing the discussion is Ian Duncan, who was a Conservative Member of the European Parliament and more recently the UK Government’s Climate Minister. Having been ennobled as a working peer in 2017, he is now Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords.

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