Paris conference debates Scotland’s future

Paris France, Saturday 16th March 2013 – World experts will gather to debate Scotland’s constitutional future at a major conference held at SciencesPo – Towards a Written Scottish Constitutionorganised by Dr. Mark B. McNaught, University of Rennes, in association with the Constitutional Commission and Sciences-Po, Paris.  Featuring speakers from the United States, France and England as well as leading Scots, and broadcast worldwide, the conference tackles head on the challenges that confront an independent Scotland.

Scottish independence has become a real possibility after over 300 years as part of the United Kingdom. If Scots vote ‘yes’ to independence in Autumn 2014, what will this mean constitutionally? This and many other questions must be resolved so that Scots must know exactly what they are voting for when they go to the polls, to make the most important constitutional decision the UK has faced in centuries. Constitutional Commission member Elliot Bulmer has drawn on the work of the late SNP activist of Neil MacCormick to write A Model Constitution for Scotland (Luath Press, 2011), proposing a refined draft constitution. While using Bulmer’s text as a basis, this conference will seek to answer the following question: given the advantages and the deficiencies we observe in existing constitutions, what characteristics could a Scottish constitution include to make it effective, democratic, and enduring?  The conference will include the following presentations:

  • How Republican Values can be reflected in a Scottish ConstitutionElliot Bulmer, Research Director of the Constitutional Commission and author of A Model Constitution for Scotland
  • Labour Rights under a Written Scottish ConstitutionNeil Davidson, University of Strathclyde where he is a vice-president of the University and College Union.
  • Voting Rights and Civic Obligations – Beverly Ann Gaddy , Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh in Greensburg.
  • Rights, Equality before the Law, and Sectarianism – Dr. Mark McNaught, Associate Professor, University of Rennes 2, and lecturer in Constitutional Law at Sciences-Po Paris
  • A Scottish Constitution and the European Union, Alyn Smith MEP
  • Constitutional Prevention of Corruption – Dr. Mark McNaught
  • How to build parliamentary structures for balanced governanceIoannis Papadopoulos, Assistant Professor, University of Macedonia and visiting Professor at the University Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne /  Sciences Po, Paris
  • How to build a constitutional amendment procedure adaptable to the demands of modernity – Guillaume Tusseau, Professor of Public Law at Sciences-Po Paris Law School.
  • Evaluation of Bulmer Draft Constitution – James Melton, Lecturer in Comparative Politics, UniversityCollegeLondon.


The conference will also be filmed and material will be available for distribution and publication.

*The recorded audio of the conference is now available here.

*Conference report by Dr Mark McNaught is here.

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