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Centre of British Constitutional Law and History

About the Centre

The Centre of British Constitutional Law and History conducts research, scholarship and policy analysis on constitutional affairs. Founded in 1988 by Robert Blackburn, Professor of Constitutional Law at King's, with the support of the law and history departments and President of the College, it promotes scholarship through teaching course development and public lectures and seminars, and research through independent projects, conferences, and co-operation with other institutions and individuals engaged in constitutional study.

The Centre specialises in an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of constitutional problems and law reform developments.


Professor Robert Blackburn, QC, LLD, FRHistS

An Advisory Group of distinguished academics and practitioners in political and constitutional affairs, together with collaborators from other departments in the College, supports the work of the Director and the Centre's activities.

Postgraduate research

Applications for postgraduate research are welcome from suitably qualified candidates, including graduates in law, political science, history, and public policy. Supervision is offered on most areas of constitutional study, especially the nature of the constitution, the institutions and processes of government (including the monarchy), the working of Parliament, voting and elections, fundamental rights, constitutional events or themes in English history, and current or prospective constitutional reform proposals.

Subjects of past or current PhD theses include House of Commons select committees, ministerial statements under the Human Rights Act, parliamentary scrutiny of European legislation, Parliament and the Church of England, the regulation of parliamentary candidature, theories of parliamentary sovereignty and constitutional entrenchment, and the law and history of impeachment.

Selected publications

  • Parliament as the Cornerstone of Democracy: Studies on the UK and Italian Parliaments in commemoration of Magna Carta's 800th Anniversary (Centre & Brescia University, 2018, 134pp.), ed. by Robert Blackburn, Arianna Carminati & Lorenzo Spadacini
  • "The Politics of Parliamentary Procedure at Westminster", Journal of International and Comparative Law (Oxford University Press, 2017, pp.279-308), by Robert Blackburn
  • "Enacting a Written Constitution for the United Kingdom", Statute Law Review (Oxford University Press, 2016, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp.1-27), by Robert Blackburn
  • "The Idea of a British Bill of Rights", Human Rights Law Journal (NP Engel Strasbourg, 2016, pp.311-323), by Robert Blackburn
  • "The Abdication of Edward VIII: Legal and Constitutional Perspectives", Chapter 7 in The Windsor Dynasty, 1910 to the Present (ed. Matthew Glencross & others, Palgrave, 2016, pp.159-194), by Robert Blackburn
  • "Magna Carta and the Development of the British Constitution", in The Historian (Spring 2015, pp.26-30), by Robert Blackburn
  • Case Studies on Constitution-Building (House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, 2014, 208pp.), ed. by Robert Blackburn
  • "Queen Elizabeth II and the Evolution of the Monarchy", Chapter 10 in The British Constitution: Continuity and Change (ed. Matt Qvortrup, Hart, 2013, pp.165-178), by Robert Blackburn
  • "Constitutional Amendment in the United Kingdom", Ch. 18 in Engineering Constitutional Change: A Comparative Perspective on Europe, Canada and the USA (ed. Xenophon Contiades, Routledge 2012, pp.359-388), by Robert Blackburn
  • "Laying the Foundations of the Modern Voting System: The Representation of the People Act 1918", Ch. 1 in A Century of Constitutional Reform (ed. Philip Norton, Parliamentary History, 2011, pp.33-52), by Robert Blackburn
  • Who Governs? Forming a Coalition or a Minority Government in the Event of a Hung Parliament (Hansard Society & Study of Parliament Group, 2010, 26pp) by Robert Blackburn, Ruth Fox, Oonagh Gay & Lucinda Maer
  • Parliament: Functions, Practice and Procedures (Sweet & Maxwell, 2003, 2nd ed. 805pp), by Robert Blackburn & Andrew Kennon
  •  “The Royal Assent to Legislation and a Monarch’s Fundamental Human Rights”, Public Law (Sweet & Maxwell, 2003, pp.205-210), by Robert Blackburn
  • Fundamental Rights in Europe: The European Convention on Human Rights and its Member States, 1950-2000 (Oxford University Press, 2001, 1061pp), ed. by Robert Blackburn & Jörg Polakiewicz
  • Constitutional Reform: The Labour Government's Constitutional Reform Agenda (Longman, 1999, 517pp), ed. by Robert Blackburn & Raymond Plant
  • Towards a Constitutional Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom: Commentary and Documents (Pinter, 1999,1104pp), by Robert Blackburn
  • The Electoral System in Britain (Macmillan, 1995, 487pp), by Robert Blackburn
  • Human Rights for the 21st Century (Cassell, 1997, 168pp), ed. by Robert Blackburn & John Taylor
  • Rights of Citizenship ('Citizenship and the Law' series, Cassell, 1993, 338pp), ed. by Robert Blackburn
  • Constitutional Studies: Contemporary Issues and Controversies (Cassell,1992, 190pp), ed. by Robert Blackburn
  • "The Constitutional History of the Life of Parliament", Ch. 1 in Legal History and Comparative Law (ed. Richard Plender, Frank Cass, 1990), by Robert Blackburn
  •  "Dicey and the Teaching of Public Law", Public Law ('Dicey and the Constitution' centenary issue, Sweet & Maxwell, 1985, pp.679-694), by Robert Blackburn
From the archives


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