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Professor Stephen Tierney

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Professor of Constitutional Theory

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


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Stephen Tierney is Professor of Constitutional Theory in the Law School and Director of Postgraduate Studies. He was the founding Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law and served as Deputy Head of Edinburgh Law School from 2017-2020. He is also Visiting Professor and Distinguished Fellow of Notre Dame Law School, USA.

Professor Tierney is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee since 2015 and a Board Member of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, also since 2015. He was elected to the Executive Committee of the UK Constitutional Law Association in 2015 and served as co-editor of the United Kingdom Constitutional Law blog from 2015-2020. He acted as Constitutional Adviser to the Scottish Parliament Referendum Bill Committee in 2013-14.

Professor Tierney’s teaching and research interests lie in the constitutional law of the United Kingdom, comparative constitutional law and the constitutional theory of the state, direct democracy and federalism. He has published two monographs with Oxford University Press: Constitutional Law and National Pluralism (2004) and Constitutional Referendums: The Theory and Practice of Republican Deliberation (2012). A third, The Federal Contract: A Constitutional Theory of Federalism, will be published by OUP in April 2022. He has published nine other books and over 80 refereed journal articles and book contributions. Recent papers have been published in the Modern Law Review, Public Law, Current Legal Problems, European Constitutional Law Review and the Supreme Court Law Review. He has been invited to give public lectures and keynote addresses at many institutions in recent years, including University College London, Notre Dame University, the University of Oxford and Yale University, and to the Xth Congress of the International Constitutional Law Association in Seoul, 2018.

Professor Tierney has been awarded Senior Research Fellowships by both the British Academy and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). In 2018 he also won an ESRC Brexit Priority grant with two colleagues to study ‘The repatriation of competences after Brexit: implications for devolution’. In 2022, with two Australian colleagues, he won an Australian Research Council grant worth $400,000 to study Federalism and Constituent Power. He is a senior fellow of the Centre on Constitutional Change which attracted approximately £5,000,000 in grant funding between 2012 and 2020.

Professor Tierney regularly provides legal advice to governments and other public and private bodies. He is frequently asked to give evidence to parliamentary committees and does a wide range of media work in the areas of United Kingdom and comparative constitutional law and British politics.