Administrative Law & Governance Colloquium 2024: Executive Power

You can now register for this year’s Administrative Law & Governance Colloquium on “Executive Power”. Registration is open and you can also simply join any or all of the webinars by clicking the links below or in the attached PDF.

Here is a description of this year’s series:

Executive power has been the site of passionate debate in liberal democracies for many centuries. In recent decades, authority has concentrated in the hands of presidents and prime ministers, with voters increasingly looking to these office holders to give effect to their policy preferences. Questions about the scope of authority and accountability of presidents, prime ministers and other executive officers have therefore become even more pressing. What powers does and should the executive have; against which standards should these office holders be judged, and who should do the judging? In this year’s series, we will examine the role of constitutional text and tradition, other governmental institutions and civil society in granting and constraining executive authority, setting standards and holding the executive to account.

As ever, I will be joined by leading experts from around the world to discuss their recent, cutting-edge research on matters related to this general theme.

Here is the schedule (all times are Eastern time).

Monday, February 5, 11.30: Robert Craig (Bristol), “Crown Powers” (join webinar passcode: 509144)

Wednesday, February 28, 11.30: Peter Shane (NYU), “Presidential Powers” (join webinar passcode: 875069)

Monday, March 18, 11.30: Philippe Lagassé (Carleton), “Prerogative Powers” (join webinar passcode: 613677)

Wednesday, March 27, 11.30: Ariane Vidal-Naquet (Marseille), “Comparative Perspectives” (join webinar passcode: 936380)

Here is more information about this year’s speakers:

Dr. Robert Craig is currently a lecturer in law at the University of Bristol and has also taught as a guest lecturer at the London School of Economics, King’s College London, City University of London, Northeastern University London. His work on executive powers and royal prerogative has been consistently published in the Modern Law Review and Public Law. His publications and expert blog posts have been cited in supreme court cases and by Parliament for developing legislation on human rights. His has also provided expert commentary to the BBC, CNN, Radio 5 Live and Austrian TV on recent cases and public law.  He has presented internationally on the royal prerogative, judicial review and constitutionalism in Ireland, Ottawa and Hong Kong.

Professor Peter Shane has developed an expertise in public law, especially pertaining to US presidential powers through his career both within the federal government and as a scholar. He has published nine books, notably one recently published in 2022 called Democracy’s Chief Executive: Interpreting the Constitution and Defining the Future of the Presidency. He received his JD from Yale and graduated from Harvard in social studies. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the New York University Faculty of Law where he teaches on constitutional, administrative, democracy and presidential law. He has previously taught at Ohio State University, where he received the Distinguished Sholar award in 2011, and at the University of Iowa, and he served as Dean in the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. To each of these positions, he has brought his practical perspective developed in the federal sector, where he was Attorney-adviser for US Department of Justice of Legal Counsel and Assistant general counsel in Office of Management and Budget.

Professor Philippe Lagassé is currently an associate professor and holds the Barton Chair at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International, where he teaches courses on the Canadian government, policymaking, comparative defence policy, and military and strategic studies. He previously taught at the University of Ottawa and was an adjunct professor at the university of New Brunswick and McGill.  He received his PhD in Political Science and Government from Carleton University after he completed his Master of Arts on war studies at the Royal Military College of Canada. His current research focuses on reform to the parliamentary prerogative across Westminster systems with a particular focus on foreign affairs and defence policy. He has widely published on parliamentary powers, including a book released in September 2023 on military affairs and legislative oversight. He also works as a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and as a consultant to the Canadian Government, where he served as a member of independent panel to review options to replace Canada’s CF-18 fighter aircraft.

Professor Ariane Vidal-Naquet teaches public and constitutional law at the Université Aix Marseille. She previously taught constitutional and contract courses at the Université Droit et santé Lille II and served as an adjunct professor at the Université Paris II Panthéon Assas. She is an active member of thesis review committees and has published numerous articles on constitutional law and the separation of powers, including detailed pieces on the role of the executive in France and judiciary. Most recently, she published a book in 2020 on the role of executive power in governance.

Again, anyone interested in tuning in can register here.

The Colloquium can also be taken for credit by uOttawa JD students.

The Colloquium’s Directed Research Project can be taken for 3 credits by uOttawa JD students. Students will produce a paper of 7,500 to 10,000 words based on the Colloquium theme, in English or in French. Students interested in enrolling should email me ( before January 31, 2024.

Reading List

Academic commentary

Craig, Royal Law: The Foundations of Royal Prerogative (Hart Publishing, 2024)

Fortin, The King Can Do No Wrong: Constitutional Fundamentals, Common Law History and Crown Liability (Oxford University Press, 2024)

McConnell, The President Who Would Not Be King (Princeton University Press, 2020)

Morabito and Tusseau eds., Comparative Executive Power in Europe: Perspectives from Law, History and Political Science (Routledge, Abingdon, 2023)

Shane, Democracy’s Chief Executive: Interpreting the Constitution and Defining the Future of the Presidency (University of California Press, 2022)


Berthelsen and P. Lagassé, “The Efficient and Dignified Role of the Crown in Canadian Foreign Policy,” International Journal 78(4), 2023

Chotiner, “The Constitutional Case for Barring Trump from the Presidency”, The New Yorker, 23 August 2023

Fortin, “Rule of Law, Parliamentary Sovereignty and Executive Accountability in English Legal Thinking: the Recent Revival of The King Can No Wrong” (2022) 44 Journal of Constitutional History 43

Fortin, “The King’s Two Bodies and the Canadian Office of the Queen” (2021) 25 Review of Constitutional Studies 117

Fortin, “The King’s Two Bodies and the Crown A Corporation Sole: Historical Dualities in English Legal Thinking” (2021) History of European Ideas

Harris, “The ‘third source’ of authority for government action” (1992) 108 Law Quarterly Review 626

Lagassé, “Defence intelligence and the Crown prerogative in Canada,” Canadian Public Administration 64(4), 2021

Lagassé, “Parliament and the War Prerogative in the United Kingdom and Canada: Explaining Variations in Institutional Change and Legislative Control,” Parliamentary Affairs, 70(2), 2017

Lagassé and MacDonnell, “Writing Canada’s Political Constitution” (2023) Queen’s Law Journal

MacDonnell, “Theorizing About the Executive in the Modern State” (2023) 21 International Journal of Constitutional Law 356

MacDonnell, “Rethinking the Invisible Constitution: How Unwritten Constitutional Principles Shape Political Decision-Making” (2019) 69 McGill Law Journal 175

Perry, “The Crown’s Administrative Powers” (2015) 131 Law Quarterly Review 652

Stokes Paulsen and Baude, “The Sweep and Force of Section 3” (2024) 172 University of Pennsylvania Law Review

Vidal-Naquet, “The Forms of Responsibility of the Executive” in Morabito and Tusseau eds., Comparative Executive Power in Europe: Perspectives from Law, History and Political Science (Routledge, Abingdon, 2023)

Shorter pieces

Lagassé, “POEC and the Primacy of the Executive”, The Line, 28 November 2022

Lagassé, “Form, Substance and Prerogative Power”



This content has been updated on February 5, 2024 at 16:45.