Law Research Centre

2017 Conference

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The Law & Politics of Brexit:

Constitutional Challenges in Regional and European Perspectives








Federico Fabbrini

Full Professor of Law


Dates & Venue:

20th – 21st April 2017

King’s Inns

Constitution Hill

Dublin 7, Ireland


With the sponsorship of:    and in partnership with:

Reinholdt LogoBertlesman Stifung

matheson logoCentro logo 


Click to download hardcopy of the programme  



The decision by the people of the United Kingdom (UK) to vote in a referendum on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union (EU) has produced shock-waves across Europe and the world. While the EU Treaty explicitly allows a member state to withdraw from the Union, no country thus far had ever decided to secede from what is arguably the most successful experiment in regional integration in history. Brexit, therefore, calls into question consolidated assumptions on the finality of the EU, and simultaneously opens new challenges – not only in the institutional fabric of Europe, but also in the constitutional settlements reached at the local level, e.g. in Scotland and Northern Ireland. While the path toward a full withdrawal by the UK from the EU remains clouded in uncertainties, a comprehensive legal and political analysis of how Brexit impacts on UK and the EU appears of the utmost importance. The aim of this international conference is to bring together leading academics and key policy-makers to discuss the constitutional implications of Brexit and propose possible solutions for the way forward.

The Conference will be structured around four main themes, each corresponding to a panel. First, the Conference will consider how Brexit will be implemented legally and politically, in terms of the withdrawal and the possible new relations between the UK and the EU. Second, it will examine the implications of Brexit on the constitutional structure of the UK, as well as on the status of Northern Ireland and the relations with Ireland. Third, the Conference will examine the implications of Brexit on the constitutional structure of the EU, focusing on a number of key areas of EU policy-making, notably the Area of Freedom Security and Justice and Economic and Monetary Union. Fourth and finally, the Conference will look into the mid to long term future, and discuss the prospects for relaunching the EU after and beyond Brexit. The Conference will feature the participation of some of the leading academic experts in the field, as well as of high-level policy-makers, from Ireland and the EU. By taking place in April 2017 – after the expected triggering of Article 50 EU Treaty by the UK government, which is scheduled to occur before the end of March 2017 – the Conference has the potential to provide one of the first high-level academic and policy gathering to discuss Brexit and the way forward.


Thursday 20 April 2017



Opening Keynote Speech: Ireland and the UK After Brexit

Chair: Brian MacCraith (President of DCU)

Enda Kenny, Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland) (tbc)


Panel 1: Brexit: Politics, Process, Prospects

Chair: Robert Elgie (Professor of Government, School of Law & Government DCU)


Kalypso Nicolaidis (Professor of International Relations, Oxford University)

The Politics of the Brext: The Transformation of the European Order

            Discussant: Diarmuid Torney (DCU)


Paul Craig (Professor of English Law, Oxford University)

The Process of Withdrawal: How will Britain pull out of the EU?

            Discussant: Stephen Coutts (DCU)


Giorgio Sacerdoti (Professor of International Trade Law, Bocconi University Milan)

The Prospects for the UK after Brexit: How can Britain trade with the EU and the World?

            Discussant: James Gallen (DCU)


Panel 2: Brexit and Constitutional Change in Regional Perspective

Chair: Iain McMenamin (Professor of Government, School of Law & Government DCU)


Stephen Tierney (Professor of Constitutional Theory, Edinburgh University)

Brexit and the English Question

            Discussant: Tom Hickey (DCU)


Sionaidh Douglas-Scott (Anniversary Professor of Law, Queen Mary University London)

Brexit and the Scottish Question

            Discussant: Gezim Visoka (DCU)


John Doyle (Professor of International Conflict Resolution & Dean, DCU)

Brexit and the Northern Irish Question

            Discussant: Brenda Daly (DCU)


Matheson Dinner Keynote Speech: Brexit: A View From Private Practice

Chair: Gary Murphy (Head of School of Law & Government, DCU)

Tim Scanlon (Partner at Matheson Law Firm)


Friday 21 April 2017



Panel 3: Brexit and Constitutional Change in European Perspective

Chair: Stefani Weiss (Director, Brussels Office, Bertelsmann Stiftung)


Deirdre Curtin (Professor of European Law, European University Institute)

Brexit and the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice

            Discussant: Karen Devine (DCU)


Michele Chang (Professor of Political Economy, College of Europe Bruges)

Brexit and the EU Economic and Monetary Union

            Discussant: Michael Breen (DCU)


Catherine Barnard (Professor of EU Law, Cambridge University)

Brexit and the EU Internal Market

            Discussant: Roderic O’Gorman (DCU)


Panel 4: Beyond Brexit: relaunching the EU?

Chair: Flavio Brugnoli (Director, Centro Studi Federalismo)


Marlene Wind (Professor of European Politics, University of Copenhagen)

Brexit and Euroscepticism: Will Brexit be Emulated Elsewhere?

            Discussant: Eoin O’Malley (DCU)


Uwe Puetter (Professor of EU Public Policy & Governance, Central European University)

Brexit and the EU Institutional Balance of Power: Toward a New Equilibrium?

            Discussant: Kenneth McDonagh (DCU)


Federico Fabbrini (Professor of European Law, DCU)

Brexit and EU Treaty Reform: A Window of Opportunity?

            Discussant: Graham Butler (Aarhus University)


Concluding Keynote Speech: The Future of Europe

Chair: Federico Fabbrini (Professor of Law, DCU)


Roberto Gualtieri (Chairman, Economic Affairs Committee of the European Parliament) (tbc)


 Click to download programme