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Devolution in the UK and International Law

13 September 2021 - 15 September 2021

10:00AM - 11:30AM


  • Free

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‘Devolution in the UK and International Law’ will take place online, Monday-Wednesday 13-15 September 2021, and is open for all to attend between 10am-11.30am. This workshop is supported by the SLS Small Projects and Events Fund.

The workshop brings together colleagues from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to investigate the allocation of powers and responsibilities in legislating and enforcing international obligations applicable to the UK across a range of subject matters, including under retained European Union (EU) law, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and other international obligations that have acquired recent significance.

The lack of clarity in division of competences and responsibility for compliance with international obligations can lead to both allegations of ‘power-grabbing’ and abdication of responsibility.

The workshop seeks to address the following questions:

  • To what extent do devolved nations have competence to decide upon the content of indeterminate international obligations within their own nation?
  • To what extent can, and should, central government intervene when a devolved nation fails to afford its inhabitants the rights ensuing from international treaties?
  • To what extent do devolution arrangements provide fixed rules on division of competences in the observation and implementation of international obligations?

An outline of the workshop programme is detailed below.

Monday 13th September 2021 10.00am -11:30am

Panel 1: Human Rights and Devolution (Session 1)

Chair: Professor Roger Masterman


  • ‘Gender, Devolution, and Northern Ireland’, Dr Jane Rooney (Durham University)
  • ‘Welsh Prisoner Voting, Human Rights, and Devolution’, Dr Gregory Davies (Cardiff University)
  • ‘Incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Scotland’, Dr Kasey McCall-Smith (University of Edinburgh)
  • Discussant: Mr Liam Edwards (PhD Candidate at Ulster University)


Tuesday 14th September 2021 10.00am-11:30am

Panel 2: (Retained) EU Law, Brexit, and Devolution

Chair: Dr Irene Wieczorek


  • ‘The Protocol, Devolution and Northern Ireland’, Mr Colin Murray (Newcastle University)
  • ‘Who legislates for Wales? Competence and its exercise post-Brexit’, Professor Joanne Hunt (Cardiff University) and Hedydd Phylip (Cardiff University)
  • ‘Brexit, Devolution, and Scotland’, Dr Christopher McCorkindale (University of Strathclyde)
  • Discussant: Gary Simpson (PhD Candidate at Queen’s University Belfast)


Wednesday 15th September 2021 10.00am-11.30am

Panel 3: Human Rights and Devolution (Session 2)

Chair: Dr Conor McCormick


  • ‘The Future of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Scotland: Prospects for Meaningful Enforcement’, Dr Katie Boyle (University of Stirling)
  • ‘Devolution and International Human Rights Monitoring Mechanisms’, Professor Brice Dickson (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • ‘UN Human Rights Mechanisms in the Welsh Context’, Dr Huw Pritchard (Cardiff University) and Dr Hayley Roberts (Bangor University)
  • Discussant: Leah Rea (PhD Candidate at Ulster University)


This event is co-hosted by Dr Jane Rooney, University of Durham, and Dr Conor McCormick, Queen’s University Belfast.