Public event

Brexit, popular sovereignty, Ireland and the European Union

Brexit has brought issues related to popular sovereignty into dramatic focus. In particular, Brexit means the resolution of tensions between Ireland and Northern Ireland has become bound up with the future of the European Union itself. The resurgence of claims to exercise popular sovereignty has generated a host of knotty issues that scholars grapple with. Who, exactly, are the “people” in whose name popular sovereignty is exercised? What is the relationship between popular and legal sovereignty in a constitutional polity? Why is the relationship between popular sovereignty and moral obligations, that arise at and beyond the border of the state, particularly problematic? Where should human rights feature in the narrative of popular sovereignty? How should the relationship between popular sovereignty and peace building in divided societies be structured? Peace, borders, law, rights, constitutionalism. In this lecture, Christopher McCrudden examines the current debate on popular sovereignty and the implications of Brexit.

Keynote Speaker

Christopher McCrudden is Professor of Human Rights and Equality Law at Queens University Belfast. He is also William W. Cook Global Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, and a practicing barrister-at-law with Blackstone Chambers, London. He was formerly Professor of Human Rights at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. He was educated at Queen’s University Belfast, Yale University, and Oxford University, where he completed his doctorate. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Queen’s University in 2006, a certificate of merit by the American Society of International Law in 2008, and a Doctorate of Civil Law by Oxford University in 2017.


Christine Landfried is Professor emerita of Political Science at the University of Hamburg and Senior Fellow at the Hertie School of Governance. From 2014 until 2016 she held the Max Weber Chair at NYU, and for the academic year 2016 to 2017 she was Senior Emile Noël Fellow at NYU School of Law.  Since 2016 she has chaired the Advisory Board of the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB).

Words of welcome

Başak Çalı is Professor of International Law at the Hertie School and Director of the Center for Global Public Law at Koç University, Istanbul. Her research interests are international law, human rights law, and the prospects of global public law in a multi-level legal order.

This event is co-organised by Hertie School and Bard College Berlin with the generous support of the American Social Science Research Council.