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Professor Stephen Tierney

Professor Stephen Tierney
Professor of Constitutional Theory

Deputy Head of School

Tel: +44 (0)131-650-2070

Email: s.tierney@ed.ac.uk

View my full research profile

Stephen Tierney is Professor of Constitutional Theory and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law. He is also Deputy Head of the Law School.

He has held a British Academy Senior Research Fellowship and an ESRC Senior Research Fellowship. He is currently a Senior Fellow of the Centre of Constitutional Change which has attracted approximately £5,000,000 in grant funding over the past four years.

He is co-editor of the United Kingdom Constitutional Law blog and a member of the Executive Committee of the UK Constitutional Law Association. He also serves as Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee and is a member of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland. He previously served as Constitutional Adviser to the Scottish Parliament Independence Referendum Bill Committee in 2013-14.

Current Research Interests

Professor Tierney teaches and researches on UK and comparative constitutional law and constitutional theory. He is committed to research impact and engages widely with government, parliamentary committees and the media on issues such as devolution, referendum law and Brexit.

Professor Tierney has recently won anESRC Brexit Priority grant with two colleagues to study ‘The repatriation of competences: implications for devolution’. This will address how powers returning from Brussels will be located within the UK’s devolved constitution. The project will involve a number of outreach events for government and parliamentary officials and other interested stakeholders.

He has published 9 books including two monographs with Oxford University Press:  Constitutional Law and National Pluralism and Constitutional Referendums: The Theory and Practice of Republican Deliberation. He is currently writing a third book for OUP on Federalism and editing a book on Federalism and the UK with Robert Schutze.

Professor Tierney’s two senior research fellowships:

  • British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow 2008-2009 (the project: 'Let the People Decide: Referendums in a Post-Sovereign Age'),
  • ESRC Senior Research Fellowship 2013-15 to study the Scottish independence referendum.

He has held visiting professorships: in International Law at Seton Hall Law School, New Jersey (2010 and 2011) and in Political Theory at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona (2010) and (2015).  

Areas of work

  • UK and Scottish constitutional law and devolution
  • comparative constitutional law
  • federalism and the study of multi-level states
  • theories of democracy and the use of referendums
  • the UK constitution after Brexit

Professor Tierney would welcome engagement with other scholars interested in these areas and enquiries from research students keen to pursue work in any of these fields.