Section: Research

Research projects

The Centre and its staff are currently involved in a number of cutting-edge research projects. Among these are:

The Centre for Constitutional Change

Beginning in October 2013, this two-year project contributed to the evidence base for the 2014 Scottish referendum, and the implications of the result. In the longer term, it aims to become a multi-institutional research centre which creates capacity for interdisciplinary work on the social, economic and political challenges facing Scotland, irrespective of the outcome of the referendum.

Prof Stephen Tierney is involved in several projects with the Centre for Constitutional Change, including:

Relationships beyond Scotland
  • The External Dimension of Scottish Devolution
  • Interdependence and Intergovernmental Relations within the UK
Governance and the Constitution
  • Citizenship and the Constitution of Scotland

Read more on all these on the website of the Centre for Constitutional Change here.

Centre contact person:  Prof Stephen Tierney, Centre Director,

The Political Settlements Programme

Led by Prof Christine Bell, the Political Settlements Research Programme is a four year research programme undertaken by a North-South Consortium of five organisations and sponsored by a £4.4m research award from the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Over four years, the Programme will examine how political settlements come into being, how open and inclusive they are, and how internal and external actors shape them. Read more about this project here.

Centre contact person:  Prof Christine Bell,

The Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law - International IDEA Post-Conflict Constitution Building Dialogues

The Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law (ECCL), together with the Global Justice Academy of the University of Edinburgh, is delighted to announce a new partnership with the Constitution Building Processes programme of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). International IDEA is one of the world’s best-known intergovernmental organisations supporting sustainable democracy worldwide. It supports democratic change by providing comparative knowledge, assisting in democratic reform, and influencing policies and politics.

The inaugural workshop of the partnership was held on 4-5 December 2014 at Edinburgh Law School on the theme of interim constitutions in post-conflict settings. More details of the workshop can be found on IDEA’s ConstitutionNet website here. It is intended that a workshop will be jointly hosted annually dealing with a selected theme of post-conflict constitution building. 

The ECCL-IDEA partnership seeks to bring together a network of academic and professional experts to share experiences, discuss contemporary challenges, and reflect on current scholarship and policy practice. The initiative is premised on the benefits of informed constitutional comparativism, an interdisciplinary approach to constitutional substance and processes, and the mutual benefits of regular and structured engagement between scholars and practitioners of constitution building.

The workshop series will be a meeting point for theory and practice as well as academics and field experts from the global north and south, with the workshops designed to engender rigorous but constructive debate, knowledge sharing and opportunities for networking.

The annual gathering would also feature a public keynote address by an eminent personality. The inaugural keynote speaker in 2014 was Nicholas Haysom, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan.

Other outputs, including a discussion report from the workshop and a policy paper, will be published in 2015 and will be available for download from this page and on ConstitutionNet.

Centre contact person: Dr Asanga Welikala, Associate Director,

Centre for Policy Alternatives, Sri Lanka partnership

The Centre is proud to be involved in a new partnership with the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), Colombo, Sri Lanka. A first initiative under this partnership was for the Centre and CPA to co-host, together with  International IDEA, the preparatory conference for drafting a new constitution for Sri Lanka on 11-13 September 2015. The event was organised at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, and the Centre was represented by its Associate Director, Dr Asanga Welikala.

Centre contact person: Dr Asanga Welikala, Associate Director,

Scottish Independence Referendum: A Democratic Audit

The project was undertaken by Prof Stephen Tierney of Edinburgh Law School and was funded by the ESRC Scotland Senior Fellowship scheme. The project provided a detailed analysis of the substantive issues at stake in the 2014 referendum including the Scottish Government's proposal for independence and other constitutional proposals as they emerged, and a democratic audit of the referendum process designed to offer this option to the Scottish people. The project commenced on 1 March 2013 and ran until December 2014. Read more about the project and its outputs here.

Centre contact person: Prof Stephen Tierney, Centre Director,

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