The Putney Debates 2017: Constitutional Crisis in the UK

Professor A C Grayling, Joshua Rozenberg, Baroness Onora O'Neill, Anthony Barnett
Event date
2 Feb 2017 to 3 Feb 2017
St Mary's Church
SW15 1SN
Event type
Lectures and seminars
Disabled access?
Booking required

The Oxford Foundation for Law, Justice and Society invites you to join them for this historic re-staging of the Putney Debates, 370 years after the original debate ushered in a new democratic order. The 2017 meeting will bring together a wide selection of citizens from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to debate the constitutional challenges that confront us today.

The Putney Debates 2017: Constitutional Crisis in the UK will be held at the site of the original Putney Debates, St Mary’s Church in Putney, on 2–3 February 2017 (various session times). Ticket prices range from £11.15 to £37.55.

The Debates will address the UK's constitutional future in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union and subsequent constitutional conflict  between executive, legislature, and the judiciary as the government seeks to challenge the High Court ruling that it must consult Parliament before triggering Article 50.

The Debates will be chaired by the UK's leading legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg, Cambridge philosopher and Cross-bench Peer Baroness Onora O’Neill, and Oxford constitutional law experts Professor Paul Craig and Professor Denis Galligan, who will preside over four panels of over 30 prominent figures from the law, politics, and civil society.

  • Renowned philosopher and prominent Brexit critic AC Grayling will make an impassioned plea for a written Constitution for the UK, 370 years after it was first proposed at the original Putney Debates
  • Former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley will ask: In the wake of the legal challenges over the use of the Royal Prerogative to trigger Article 50, does the separation of powers still work?
  • Rob Murray, lead partner at Mishcon de Reya LLP, representing Gina Miller in the Article 50 case before the UK Supreme Court, will bring his insights into the key findings of the case, days after it is due to be announced
  • Renowned human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield QC will argue for the value of the popular vote
  • Professors Will Hutton, Timothy Garton Ash, and Paul Craig will examine the evolving role and expectations of the People in our 21st Century democracy
  • Robert Hazell CBE, founder of the Constitution Unit at UCL will review the purpose of referendums and why we need fewer of them
  • Anthony Barnett, founder of openDemocracy, will assess the democratic and constitutional principles that the original Putney Debates brought about and how they should be updated for the twenty-first century.

Be a part of this historic re-staging and help redraw the UK’s constitutional settlement for the age of Brexit.