Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, BA (Hons), MA, LLM, Barrister
Anniversary Chair in Law, Co-Director at the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context
Professor Douglas-Scott joined Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in September 2015 as Anniversary Chair in Law and co-director of the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context. Prior to coming to Queen Mary she was for many years Professor of European and Human Rights law at the University of Oxford, and before that Professor of Law at King’s College London.
Professor Douglas-Scott was born and educated in Edinburgh. She studied philosophy, art history and aesthetics before taking a degree in law. She works primarily within the fields of Constitutional law, EU public law, human rights and legal and social theory, and is particularly interested in questions of justice and human rights in Europe, and has published widely in these fields, including the monograph Constitutional Law of the European Union.
She is also interested in sub-state independence movements in Europe and has been an active commentator on Scottish and Catalan independence movements in the media, as well as giving expert evidence to the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments on further Scottish devolution. She is a member of the University of Edinburgh's Centre on Constitutional Change.
Professor Douglas-Scott is the author of the monograph Law After Modernity, which was nominated for the Socio-Legal Book prize, and explores at a more abstract level many of the issues of pluralism, justice and human rights also to be found in her work on European law, and unusually, for a work of legal theory, is illustrated with various images and artistic works. She is also the co-editor of a much-cited series of essays on religion and law, entitled Faith in Law.
Her current projects include a monograph on European Human Rights law and a co-edited volume on the European Union and Human Rights. She is also a member of a large-scale research project on European citizenship funded by the European Commission with a major research grant, investigating barriers that EU citizens encounter in the exercise of their rights and obligations, for which, with assistance of Joelle Grogan, she completed a report on EU citizenship rights in the UK and Ireland.
Professor Douglas-Scott is also very interested in the relations of law, art and the image, and co-organised a workshop on ‘Images and Imagination in Theorizing about Law’ with Dr Maks del Mar in Oxford in May 2015.
She has held visiting posts and delivered lectures at various institutions in Europe and the US, including Georgetown Law School, Columbia University and the University of Bonn, where she was visiting Jean Monnet Professor. Since 1993, she has co-taught and developed a course on comparative US and European human rights law with Justice Anthony Kennedy of the US Supreme Court at the Salzburg Forum for International Studies.
Legal and Social Theory
In 2013 she published a monograph, Law After Modernity, in the Legal Theory Today series, originally edited by Professor John Gardner. In this work she present a radical, innovatory vision of contemporary law, with a particular focus on transnational law, giving an account that is historical and contextual in nature, and exploring at a more abstract level many of the issues of pluralism, justice and human rights also to be found in my work on EU and public law. Unusually, for a work of legal theory, it is illustrated with various images and artistic works. Law After Modernity was nominated for the Socio-Legal Book Prize 2014.
She has also co-edited a series of essays on religion and law: Faith in Law (discussed for example by Rowan Williams, then Archbishop of Canterbury, in a lecture, reprinted in The Guardian, February 2008).
She is particularly interested in the intersection of images, visual studies and legal scholarship. Many of her recent writings (i.e. ‘Rethinking Justice for the EU’; ‘Pluralism and Justice in the EU’; her contribution to Europe’s Constitutional Mosaic; as well as each chapter of Law After Modernity) have incorporated art and visual images, as well as contextual insights from Art History and the Humanities more generally. As well as writing about this field, in May 2015 she co-organised (with Dr Maks del Mar) a workshop at Oxford University that brought together legal theorists, art historians, visual epistemologists, practising visual artists and others to consider the role(s) that images and imagery play in theorising about law.
She has also contributed book reviews to the philosophical journal Mind, and has been a member of the Society of Legal Scholars jurisprudence panel.
Her work on European law focuses on the constitutional law of the EU, and in particular its human rights regimes, as well as the challenges that legal pluralism and the need for justice present for the Europe, and has published a large amount in this area. Her work is contextual and theoretical, as well as legal in nature.
She has written a leading work in the field, Constitutional Law of the European Union, which was written as a scholarly contribution rather than a student text but was nonetheless adopted on a variety of courses both here and abroad, and was very positively reviewed in the leading European law journals.
She is also currently working on two major publications in European human rights law, and participating in a major research project on citizenship and human rights, funded by the European Commission.
She is also frequently called to give evidence (oral and written) to the UK Parliament on EU human rights and constitutional matters, and most particularly on the constitutional aspects of Brexit.
In the field of Public law she is particularly interested in human rights law, and issues of sovereignty and pluralism and have published many articles in these areas.
She also writes about the growth of sub-state nations and independence movements, and how these challenge our notions of constitutional and international law, and my work has been widely cited, and discussed in the media in the context of the Scottish referendum on independence and the informal Catalan consultation in 2014.
She has benefited from research funding from, among others, the EU Commission, (for participation in FP7 major research project on European citizenship); the British Academy and IALS funds which have funded trips to the European Court of Justice and US Supreme Court, as well as her term as visiting scholar at Georgetown University Law School, in order to carry out comparative human rights research.
selected publications since 2005
- Law After Modernity (Hart Publishing 2013)
- Constitutional Law of the European Union (Pearson, Longman)
- EU Human Rights Law (Elgar Publishing, forthcoming)
- S Douglas-Scott and N Hatzis (eds), Research Handbook on European Human Rights Law (Elgar Publishing, forthcoming)
- S Douglas-Scott, P Oliver, V Tadros (eds), Faith in Law (Hart Publishing)
- S Douglas-Scott, J Dine, I Persaud (eds), Procedure and the European Court (Law Chancery)
- Constitutional and Institutional Law of the European Union Study Guide (University of London).
- 'A UK exit from the EU: the end of the United Kingdom or a new constitutional dawn?' (2015) Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law
- 'Law, Justice and the pervasive power of the image' (2015) No 2 Journal of Law and Social Research
- S Douglas-Scott, 'How easily could an independent Scotland join the EU?' (2014) Oxford Legal Research Paper Series
- S Douglas-Scott, 'Two Visions of Justice in the EU in de Burca Kochenov Williams, Debating Europe’s Justice Deficit: The EU, Swabian
- Housewives, Rawls, and Ryanair' (2013) EUI Working Papers
- 'EU Admission to the ECHR' (2012) 19 Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law
- 'Pluralism and Justice in the EU' (2012) 65 UCL Current Legal Problems series 83
- 'The European Union and Human Rights after the Treaty of Lisbon' (2011) Human Rights Law Review 1
- 'The EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: a lack of fundamental rights, mutual trust and democracy?' (2009) 11, 2008-2009 Cambridge Yearbook of European Law studies
- 'Fundamental Rights in EU Justice and Home Affairs' (2007) EU Current Law
- 'A Tale of Two Courts: Luxembourg, Strasbourg and the Growing European Human Rights Acquis' (2006) Common Market Law Review 619
- '\\\'Bosphorus Hava Yollari Turizm Ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi v. Ireland\\\' case comment' (2006) Common Market Law Review
- '*The Rule of Law in the European Union - putting the security into the EU’s Area of Freedom Security and Justice' (2004) European Law Review
- 'The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as a constitutional document' (2003) European Human Rights Review
- 'Constituting Europe: in defence of public reason' (2001) King's College Law Journal
- 'In Search of European Citizenship' (1999) Yearbook of European Law
- 'The Hatefulness of Protected Speech: a comparison of the European and American Approaches' (1999) William and Mary Bill of Rights Review
- 'Psychoanalysis, Speech Acts and the language of ‘free speech\\\'' (1998) Res Publica
- ‘Scotland, Secession and the European Union’ in McHarg, Mullen and Walker (eds) – The Scottish Independence Referendum: Constitutional And Political Implications (Oxford University Press, 2015 forthcoming)
- 'Fundamental Rights in the EU' in Schutze and Tridimas (eds), Oxford Principles of European Union Law - Volume I: The European Union Legal Order (Oxford University Press 2015) (forthcoming)
- 'Human Rights in the EU' in Dennis Patterson (ed), Blackwell Companion for EU law and International Law (Oxford: Blackwell 2015) (forthcoming)
- 'Fundamental Rights Not Euroscepticism: Why the UK Should Embrace the EU Charter' in Hodson Wicks Ziegler (ed), The UK and European Human Rights: A Strained Relationship (Hart Publishing 2015)
- 'Justice Injustice and the Rule of Law in the EU' in de Burca, Kochenov, Williams (eds), Europe's Justice Deficit (Hart Publishing 2015)
- 'The Relationship between the EU and the ECHR Five Years on from the Treaty of Lisbon' in de Vries, Bernitz, Weatherill (eds), Five Years Legally Binding Charter of Fundamental Rights (Hart Publishing 2015)
- 'Brave new world? The challenges of transnational law and legal pluralism to contemporary legal theory' in Richard Nobels and David Schiff (eds), Law, Society and Community: Socio-Legal Essays in Honour of Roger Cotterrell (Ashgate 2014)
- 'Rethinking Justice for the EU' in Maduro, Tuori , Sankari (eds), Transnational Law: Rethinking European Law and Legal Thinking (Cambridge University Press 2014)
- 'The European Court of Justice and the ECHR after Lisbon' in Weatherill, de Vries, Bernitz (eds), The Protection of Fundamental Rights in the EU after Lisbon (Hart Publishing 2013)
- 'The problem of justice in the EU' in Dickson and Eleftheriadis (eds), The Philosophical Foundations of the EU (OUP 2012)
- 'Fundamental Rights in the EU: the ambiguity of judicial review' in Campbell, Ewing Tomkins (eds), The Legal Protection of Human Rights: Sceptical essays (Oxford University Press 2011)
- 'Human Rights in the European Legal Space - utopia, dystopia, monotopia or polytopia?' in Shaw, Tierney, Walker (eds), Europe's Constitutional Mosaic (Hart Publishing 2011)
- 'Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the EU ' in Roger Smith and Maik Martin (eds), Fundamental Rights and Justice and Home Affairs (JUSTICE publications 2007)
- 'The Law and Custom of a New Parliament: The European Parliament' in Bradley, Baranger Ziegler (eds), Constitutionalism and the role of Parliaments (OUP 2007)
- 'Environmental Rights - Taking the Environment Seriously' in Gearty and Tomkins (eds), Undertanding Human Rights (Mansell 1996)
- 'Environmental Rights in the EU - Participatory Democracy or Democratic deficit?' in Boyle and Anderson (eds), Environmental Rights (OUP 1996).
- ‘F. Fabbrini: Fundamental Rights in Europe’ (2015) Common Market Law Review
- 'Review of E. Bates 'The Evolution of the European Convention on Human Rights. From Its Inception to the Creation of a Permanent Court of Human Rights'' (2013) 50 Common Market Law Review 649
- ‘Alter: The European Court’s Political Power’ (2011) Edinburgh Law Review
- 'Chalmers, Tomkins etc. European Union Law ' (2007) European Public Law
- 'Review of Waluchow, 'Inclusive Legal Positivism'' (1996) 105 Mind
- 'Review of R Dworkin, 'Life's Dominion'' (1994) Medical Law Review 254
- 'Review of Julie Inness, 'Privacy, Intimacy and Isolation'' (1993) Mind.
- 'Opinion 2/13 and the elephant in the room: a reply to Daniel Halberstam' (2015) Verfassungsblog
- S Douglas-Scott and Dr Eve Hepburn, 'The permanence issue: symbolism or power' (2015) Written Evidence to the Scottish Parliament on the Scotland clauses
- 'Would the United Kingdom survive an exit from the EU?' (2015)
- 'Why the EU should welcome an independent Scotland' (2014) UK Constitutional law blog
- 'An independent Scotland in the EU' (2014) Politics in Spires, Future of UK and Scotland
- 'British Withdrawal from the EU: an Existential Threat to the United Kingdom?' (2014) Scottish Constitutional Futures, UK Constitutional Law Blog
- 'Building a New State in 21st century Europe' (2014) Building a new state in 21st cenury Europe (conference, Barcelona 31/10.2014)
- 'Opinion 2/13 on EU accession to the ECHR: a Christmas bombshell from the ECJ' (2014) UK Constitutional Law blog
- 'Scotland and the EU: Eleventh hour thoughts on a contested subject' (2014) Verfassungsblog
- ‘The EU and Scotland’ (2014) Verfassungsblog
- 'The Smith Commision Report and the Constitution' (2014) Democratic Audit
- 'Why the UK Should Embrace the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights' (2014) Oxford Human Rights Hub
- 'The EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on human rights and democracy' (2012) July 2102 LSE EUROPP blog.
- S Douglas-Scott, 'The Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the UK, evidence to UK House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, January 2014' (2014).
- S Douglas-Scott, 'What is to be done about the European Constitution?' (2005) British Institute of International and Comparative Law annual conference papers 2005.
- My work on Scottish independence was also the subject of an online symposium, Scotland in the EU, hosted jointly by the UK Constitutional law blog and the German Verfassungsblog, with responses to my article from 15 academics in UK, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and the US
- A special edition of the Oxford Legal Studies Research paper (Vol 8 No 15) was dedicated to 5 ssrn papers of mine in December 2014.
Evidence and reports
- S Douglas-Scott and Dr Eve Hepburn, 'The permanence issue: symbolism or power' (2015) Written Evidence to the Scottish Parliament on the Scotland clauses ‘Constitutional Implications of the Draft Scotland Clauses’ oral evidence to UK House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee 22 January 2015
- 'The Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the UK, oral and written evidence to UK House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, January 2014' (2014).
Professor Douglas-Scott welcomes applications in the following areas of research: European legal pluralism; constitutional implications of Scottish independence; the EU Charter of fundamental rights; and law and the image.
Currently co-supervising Daniel Davison Vecchione.
- Co-director centre for Law and Society in a Global context
- Appointed as special advisor to the Scottish Parliament European and External Relations Committee Brexit Inquiry
- Advice and reports for various public bodies, eg the UK House of Lords Constitution Committee; various House of Commons select committees; Scottish Parliament Select Committees and Festival of Politics; the Council of the European Union, also invitations by governments to advise or participate in round table discussions, eg the Slovenian Ministry of Justice
- Training seminars on EU law for civil servants and judges, eg by Council of the European Union Legal Service, and for the Trier Academy of European law (Trier, Bucharest, Krakow, Helsinki)
- Professor Douglas-Scott’s work has been frequently cited in the news media and she is also frequently approached by the broadcast media - eg BBC World at One, Newsnight, Spanish radio service
- Professor Douglas-Scott is participating in a large-scale research project on European citizenship funded by the European Commission with a major research grant, whose findings will be the focus for further EU action in this area
- Professor Douglas-Scott has been a visiting scholar at the European Court of Justice and the US Supreme Court. These visits were funded by British Academy and Institute of Advanced Legal Studies grants
- She has also given over a 150 invited lectures, seminars and talks at universities and colloquia in the UK and overseas.
In the news:
Professor Douglas Scott gave following media interviews in June:
- Sunday 26 June BBC TV Sunday Politics Scotland with Graham Stewart
- Sunday 26 June Radio Clyde Paul Kelly
- Monday 27 June Radio 5 Live
- Tuesday 28 June BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, Sarah Montagu and Nickk Robinson
- Tuesday 28 June BBC World Service News
- Tuesday 28 June BBC Radio Scotland with John Beattie.
13 September: gave oral evidence on acquired rights in House of Lords EU sub committee justice
13 September: Sionaidh Douglas-Scott quoted in The Guardian - 'Zero chance EU citizens will keep same rights in UK after Exit'
7 September: gave oral evidence in House of Commons Scottish Affairs committee
6 September: spoke on a panel in Edinburgh along with former Scottish first minister Henry McLeish, at 'Politics Explained: Scotland and Brexit'
5 September: keynote speech, 'Law and invisibility' at St Mary's University 'Law and Culture' conference
19 August: spoke on a panel in the Scottish Parliament 'Festival of Politics'
24 July: half hour interview on BBC Scotland 'Good Morning Scotland' on Brexit
23 July: spoke on a special Newsnight panel event on Brexit
14 July: 'Where are we now? Responses to the Referendum' article by Sionaidh Douglas-Scott in the London Review of Books
2 July: Cited in German Spiegel magazine
30 June: gave oral evidence to Scottish Parliament on EU Referendum
29 June: 'Can Scotland remain in the EU?" article by Sionaidh Douglas-Scott in The Guardian
Professor Douglas-Scott discusses constitutional implications of leaving the EU - Sionaidh Douglas-Scott discussed leaving the EU on a panel with Professor Sir David Edward QC (former UK judge at the European Court), Sir Konrad Schiemann QC (formerly Court of Appeal and UK judge at European Court) Sir John Kerr (formerly British ambassador to the EU and Head of the Diplomatic Service) and Professor Sir Alan Dashwood QC (Cambridge University and Henderson Chambers).
Professor Douglas-Scott gives evidence at House of Commons on draft Scotland clauses - Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform select committee on the draft clauses for the Scotland Bill.
Professor Douglas-Scott on public governance in the Spanish media: Sionaidh Douglas-Scott spoke in Barcelona on 31 October on public governance, democracy and constitutionalism at the international conference Building a new State. While there, she was interviewed by several Catalan and Spanish media, for example by local news channel Vilaweb (her interview is accessible here) and by the newspaper El Temps (her interview is accessible here).
Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott was invited by the Scottish Parliament to Edinburgh in August 2014 to take part in the Scottish Parliament's annual Festival of Politics. The discussion there was about the independence referendum and the future of Scotland in the EU.
'An independent Scotland in the EU' by Professor Douglas-Scott
Politics in Spires, 27 August 2014
Prof Douglas-Scott: EU entry ‘would be smooth’ for an independent Scotland
BBC News, 7 July 2014
Professor Douglas-Scott gave oral evidence to the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the UK on 15 & 22 January
Watch the filmed session
Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott responds to Brexit judgement
3 November 2016
Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott responds to Brexit judgement
3 November 2016