Professor Robert Blackburn
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2516
Research interests and PhD supervision
Robert Blackburn BA MSc PhD LLD is Professor of Constitutional Law, and a specialist in political and constitutional affairs. He is a graduate of LSE and Leeds University and holds degrees in the disciplines of law, political science, and history. Prior to entering academic life at King's, he practised with a City law firm in the areas of property, medical, and public law, and was a visiting tutor in law at Trinity and St. John’s Colleges, Cambridge. In 2005 he was awarded an LLD higher doctorate in law by Leeds University for his outstanding contribution to the study of constitutional law.
Professor Blackburn has acted as an adviser to government and other official bodies on many occasions both in the UK and abroad. He is involved in several external collaborations on behalf of the College, including the King's-Ipsos MORI partnership on social research and public opinion launched in 2012. He is a member of the Magna Carta Trust's 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee for the UK's nation-wide celebrations in 2015: www.magnacarta800th.com.
His positions in the School have included Director of Postgraduate Studies, Chairman of the LLB Board of Examiners, Deputy Head of School, and Acting Head of School 2006-07. He represents the School in its partnership with the University of London International Law Program, offering the opportunity to study for a London law degree from anywhere in the world. During 2007-09 he was a Leverhulme Fellow. He was the founding editor of the School of Law's scholarly journal King's Law Journal (Hart Publishing), and has served on several editorial boards of academic journals and book series.
He is director of a specialist research unit at King's, the Centre for Political and Constitutional Studies, and since 2010 has also served as head of department in the Institute for Contemporary British History: www.kcl.ac.uk/innovation/groups/ich/index.aspx. He is a member and former Secretary of the Study of Parliament Group, a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Professor Blackburn's research interests cover most aspects of the political and constitutional system in the UK and its relationship with Europe and the world. He has special interests in UK and comparative constitutional law, the working of Parliament and comparative legislatures, UK political reform, European human rights law, the monarchy and the Crown prerogatives, elections and the voting system, and English constitutional history.
He is currently working on the quality of governance in the overseas territories, the status and integrity of the Cabinet Manual as a constitutional document, and the changing nature of the Crown in the British political process. He is leading a research project at King's producing a series of reports for the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee on Mapping the Path towards Codifying – or not Codifying – the UK Constitution funded by Nuffield/Joseph Rowntree.
Professor Blackburn welcomes applications from prospective MPhil/PhD students within his sphere of research interest.
Current students & topics:
- Ellis, Eloise, PhD, "The Working and Impact of the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee in the 2010 Parliament".
- Leonelli, Giulia, PhD, "A Comparative Study of the Structure and Working of Local Government in London and Rome".
- Monaghan, Chris, MPhil, "The Use of Impeachment as a Form of Legal and Political Executive Accountability".
- Pescod, Vince, MPhil, " A Study of the Case for an Entrenched Process of Constitutional Reform in the United Kingdom".
- Tsichlis, Vasileios, PhD, "Anorthosis, Venizelism and Public Law Legislation in Greece 1910-1915: The Quest for the Construction of a Bourgeois State".
- Yoshida, Narutoshi, PhD, "The Theory and Practice of the Right to Jury Trial in the English Legal System: Pressures, Limitations, and Evaluation".
Recent PhD graduates:
- Dr Asma Khan, PhD 2013, "Parliament and the Church of England: The Making of Ecclesiastical Law".
- Dr Elin Weston, PhD 2013, "Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998: Importance, Impact and Reform".
- Robert Blackburn, Constitutional and Administrative Law, Volume 20 in Halsbury's Laws of England (London: Butterworths, 5th ed., 2014 in press)
- Robert Blackburn, Parliament, Volume 78 in Halsbury's Laws of England (London: Butterworths, 5th ed. 2010), pp.713-882
- Robert Blackburn, King and Country: Monarchy and the Future King Charles III (London: Politico's, 2006), 206pp
- Robert Blackburn, "Queen Elizabeth II and the Evolution of the Monarchy", chapter 10 in Matt Qvortrup (ed.), The British Constitution: Continuity and Change (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2013), pp.165-177
- Robert Blackburn, "Constitutional Amendment in the United Kingdom", chapter 18 in Xenophon Contiades (ed), Engineering Constitutional Change: A Comparative Perspective on Europe, Canada and the USA (London: Routledge, 2012), pp.359-388
- Robert Blackburn, "Laying the Foundations of the Modern Voting System: The Representation of the People Act 1918", in Philip Norton (ed), A Century of Constitutional Reform (Parliamentary History, 2011), pp. 33-52
- Robert Blackburn, "The 2010 General Election Outcome and Formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government", PUBLIC LAW. 2011, 1, p. 30-55
- Robert Blackburn, "The Prerogative Power of Dissolution of Parliament: Law, Practice, and Reform", PUBLIC LAW. 2009, 4, p. 766-790
- House of Commons Political and Constitutional Committee, Mapping the Path Towards Codifying - or Not Codifying - the UK Constitution, series of reports commissioned by the Committee from the Centre for Political and Constitutional Studies at King's (Director: Robert Blackburn): A Literature Review (2011) The Existing Constitution (2012), Preparation, Design and Implementation of a Codified Constitution (2014 forthcoming), Alternative Models and Blueprints for a Codified Constitution (2014 in preparation).
- House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, Rules of Royal Succession, oral evidence 10 November 2011 and written evidence, 2010-12, HC 1615
View full list of Professor Blackburn’s publications
- Advanced Constitutional Law (LLB)
- Government and Law (LLB)
- UK Government and the Constitution: Reform and Modernisation (LLM)
- The Evolution of British Government since 1945 (MA)
- The British Constitution in Crisis: 1910-2010 (MA)