Submissions are now closed.


The theme of the conference will be ‘Public Law: Rights, Duties and Powers’. Like the themes of the previous conferences in the series, the theme we have selected for the 2024 conference aims to facilitate a number of streams of inquiry while setting parameters that will enable meaningful dialogue both within and across those streams. In particular, the theme is intended to invite engagement with a range of topics related to the conceptual building blocks of public law systems, with a focus on rights, duties and powers.

Such topics may include:


Rights-based theories of public law, and critiques of such theories.

The role of different public institutions such as the legislature, executive, courts or fourth branch of government, in recognizing, interpreting, and implementing rights.

Adjudication of specific rights-issues in comparative perspective.

The nature of different types of public law rights, including human, Indigenous, welfare and fundamental rights, and consideration of different sources of rights, such as constitutions, Indigenous law, statutes, and the common law.

The connection between public law rights and remedies, and the impact of rights-commitments on public decision-making.


Theories of public law based in duties, such as fiduciary duties, and critiques of such theories.

The nature and legal regulation of different types of public law duties, including duties owed by the state to Indigenous peoples, individuals, and to the community as a whole.

The role of courts, the administration and other institutions in interpreting and implementing public law duties, including aspirational duties, duties of progressive realization, and duties to provide public goods.


Distribution of powers among subnational jurisdictions, and within single jurisdictions.

The nature and legal regulation of public powers including statutory, prerogative, executive, de facto, and contractual powers.

How public law principles may inform legal regulation of powers exercised by private or international institutions.

How public law ought to respond to new modes of public power such as new technologies and soft law techniques.



The Richard Hart Prize for the best paper by an early career scholar will be awarded at the 2024 conference.

When submitting your abstracts on Oxford Abstract, eligible candidates who would like to be considered for the Prize should indicate this by checking the relevant box in the electronic application system.

If you are an Early Career Scholar eligible to the Richard Hart Prize, please select the options applicable. No person who has held a full-time academic position for more than three years as of 1 July 2024 shall be eligible for the prize.




  1. is studying for, but who has not yet been awarded, a doctoral degree in Law
  2. was awarded a doctoral degree in Law on or after 1 July 2021
  3. was appointed to their first full-time academic position on or after 1 July 2021.

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