The Public Law Section of the SLS provides a forum for members to meet and discuss their research in this field. We meet at the annual conference and we also maintain links with the Law Commission and other public bodies by responding to consultations. We define Public Law broadly to include all aspects of constitutional and administrative law. Recent conference papers have covered topics such as devolution, public law theory, human rights, tort liability of public authorities and the contracting out of public services. We aim to encourage lively and stimulating discussion in a friendly atmosphere.

Section Convenors

Eloise Ellis
University of East Anglia


Brian Christopher Jones
University of Sheffield


Further details on the Public Section programme can be found on the Conference Website:


SLS Public Section: Call for Papers/Panels for 2020 SLS Annual Conference at the University of Exeter

This is a call for papers and panels for the Public section of the 2020 Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference to be held at the University of Exeter, from Tuesday 1st September – Friday 4th September. The Public section will meet in the first half of the conference on Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd September.

If you are interested in delivering a paper or organising a panel, please submit your paper abstract or panel details by 11:59pm UK time on Tuesday 24th March 2020.  All abstracts and panel details must be submitted through the Oxford Abstracts conference system which can be accessed using the following link –  – and following the instructions (select ‘Track’ for the relevant subject section). If you registered for Oxford Abstracts for last year’s conference, please ensure that you use the same e-mail address this year if that address remains current. For those whose papers are accepted, the original submission offers the facility to upload a full paper nearer the time. If you experience any issues in using Oxford Abstracts, please contact

Decisions will be communicated by the end of April.

We would welcome proposals for papers and panels on any issue relating to public law. We welcome proposals representing a full range of intellectual perspectives in the subject section, and from those at all stages of their careers.

Those wishing to present a paper should submit a title and abstract of around 300 words. Those wishing to propose a panel should submit a document outlining the theme and rationale for the panel and the names of the proposed speakers (who must have agreed to participate) and their abstracts. Sessions are 90 minutes in length and so we recommend panels of three to four speakers, though the conference organisers reserve the right to add speakers to panels in the interests of balance and diversity.

As the SLS is keen to ensure that as many members with good quality papers as possible are able to present, we discourage speakers from presenting more than one paper at the conference. With this in mind, when you submit an abstract via Oxford Abstracts you will be asked to note if you are also responding to calls for papers or panels from other sections.

Please also note that the SLS offers two prizes. First, The Best Paper Prize, which can be awarded to academics at any stage of their career and which is open to those presenting papers individually or within a panel. The Prize carries a £250 monetary award and the winning paper will, subject to the usual process of review and publisher’s conditions, appear in Legal Studies.  To be eligible:

  • speakers must be fully paid-up members of the SLS (Where a paper has more than one author, all authors eligible for membership of the Society under its rule 3 must be members. The decision as to eligibility of any co-authors will be taken by the Membership Secretary, whose decision will be final.)
  • papers must not exceed 12,000 words including footnotes (as counted in Word);
  • papers must be uploaded to the paperbank by 11:59pm UK time on Monday 24th August; and
  • papers must not have been published previously or have been accepted or be under consideration for publication.
  • papers must have been accepted by a convenor in a subject section and an oral version of the paper must be presented at the Annual Conference.

The Society has this year launched the Best Paper by a Doctoral Student Prize, which is open to currently registered doctoral students who are members of the Society: the details of that prize will be circulated shortly.

We have also been asked to remind you that all speakers will need to book and pay to attend the conference and that they will need to register for the conference by Tuesday 16th June in order to secure their place within the programme, though please do let us know if this deadline is likely to pose any problems for you. Booking information will be circulated in due course, and will open after the decisions on the response to the calls are made.

With best wishes,

Brian Christopher Jones & Eloise Ellis