Upcoming Events


The Statute Law Society is to hold a conference, in London, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Renton Committee Report on The Preparation of Legislation / Call for Papers below

Previous Events

Past lectures organised by the Statute Law Society for its members:

WEDNESDAY, 17 APRIL 2024 // THE PERENNIAL PROBLEM OF COMPLEXITY / Lecture by JUSTICE DAVID GODDARD, Judge of the New Zealand Court of Appeal / Summary coming soon.

THURSDAY, 14 MARCH 2024 // GOVERNMENT WITHOUT DISCUSSION / Lecture by PROF. DAVID HOWARTH, University of Cambridge / Summary coming soon.

THURSDAY, 30 NOVEMBER 2023 // Writing a Constitution – The 2023 Annual Lord Renton Lecture was given by Lord Anderson KBE KC.  Lord Anderson is a practising KC, a part-time judge and a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords, where he sits on the Constitution Committee.

Summary: Our constitutional arrangements have a proud history but are widely seen as deficient. This lecture explores what we could aspire to, how it might be achieved and where we should start. Read the text of the lecture. View a recording of this event.

WEDNESDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2023 // There Be Dragons: The post-Brexit legal landscape of Northern Ireland. 
Lecture given by Prof. Christopher McCrudden, Professor of Human Rights and Equality Law, Queen’s University Belfast; William W Cook, Global Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Northern Ireland law, post-Brexit, presents an intriguing legal landscape, with the Ireland-Northern Ireland Protocol, now the Windsor Agreement, interacting awkwardly with the devolution settlement, the Belfast-Good Friday Agreement, the Retained EU Law (Revocation & Reform) Act 2023, EU law, the absence of the Assembly and Executive, and the British Constitution, to create a legal complexity which looks set to continue. The aim of this talk, perhaps optimistically, is to provide a road map for those who must navigate the terrain. View a recording of this event.

WEDNESDAY, 24 MAY 2023 // Panel Discussion chaired by Lady Justice Whipple DBE.

James lies to Mary to induce sexual activity; James knows that Mary would not consent if he told the truth. Whether James currently commits an offence within the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is uncertain and depends upon a series of tests that appear unfit for purpose.

In its latest report, published in 2023, the Criminal Law Reform Now Network recommended the creation of a new offence to tackle cases of this kind – ‘inducing a person to engage in sexual activity by deception’ – that focuses on a defendant’s awareness and reasons for deception. The CLRNN recommendations follow a consultation period in which ten different options for reform were canvassed.

The panel was made up of CLRNN Committee members, including Paul Jarvis who led the deception project, as well as John Child and Jonathan Rogers who co-direct the Network.

WEDNESDAY, 22 MARCH 2023, 6-7.30pm // Panel Discussion to be Chaired by Daniel Greenberg CB // Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle: Reviving Prerogative Powers
The subject will be issues around expanding and contracting the Prerogative, focusing (but not exclusively) on the issues that arose in the repeal of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. Panel: Prof. Robert Hazell, Constitution Unit, UCL and Prof. Satvinder Juss, King’s College London; View a recording of this event.

WEDNESDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2023, 6-7pm // Dr. Hannah White OBE, Director of the Institute for Government // "Against the clock: time pressure and the constitution"
Abstract: Time pressure is a necessary constraint on aspects of the constitution, but it can also pose a threat to good government, parliamentary accountability and scrutiny. In this lecture Dr White will consider the impact on the constitution of the time constraints created by external factors (such as the Article 50 process and the COVID-19 pandemic) and politically driven agendas (such as the approach taken by the Truss premiership). She will examine the ways in which time pressure shaped the May and Johnson governments’ strategies for giving effect to the 2016 referendum result and how they controlled time in pursuit of their policy objectives. The impact on procedures and conventions of the imperative for the government to act swiftly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be discussed, and the opportunities and risks of the precedents set. Dr White will consider the impact of Truss’s accelerated policy agenda for the constitutional safeguards built into government processes. In concluding, Dr White will reflect on the lasting legacy of the time pressure exerted on the constitution during this exceptional period and offer some thoughts about how the constitution might be protected against the negative consequences of governing under time constraints. View a recording of this event.

9 NOVEMBER 2022 // 2022 Annual Lord Renton Lecture  given by Elizabeth Gardiner DCB KC (Hon) // “Improving the statute book: a legislative drafter’s viewpoint”
It is almost 50 years since the Renton Committee was appointed to consider how to achieve greater simplicity and clarity in statute law. What might the Committee say about the state of today’s statute book? What recommendations might they make for reform? View a recording of this event.

Read the text of Dame Elizabeth’s lecture, as it appeared in the March 2023 edition of The Loophole.
To obtain a pdf copy of the Renton Report of May 1975 "Preparation of Legislation" contact the SLS Administrator.

14 JULY 2022 // Lord Faulks discussed the report of the Independent Review of Administrative Law
Lord Faulks was Chair of the Panel which was disbanded in January 2021 following the submission of their report to Government. View a recording of this event.

11 MAY 2022 // Determining the Matter: Statutory Interpretation and Devolved Legislation
Lecture given by Denis Edwards, barrister and Vice Chair of the Statute Law Society. View a recording of this event.

25 NOVEMBER 2021 // 2021 Annual Lord Renton Lecture – Lady Arden of Heswall, Justice of the Supreme Court
“What makes good statute law: a judge’s view”
Watch a recording of the 2021 Annual Lord Renton Lecture given by Lady Arden of Heswall, Justice of the Supreme Court. 

29 SEPTEMBER 2021 // “The Rule of Law and Subordinate Legislation” 
Download a copy of the lecture given by Sir Jonathan Jones KCB QC on 29 September 2021.

15 JUNE 2021 // “The Hong Kong National Security Law” – This event was held online
Speakers:  Prof. Johannes Chan SC and Prof. Chin Leng Lim // Chair:  Denis Edwards
On 1st July 2020 the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (“NPCSC”) of the People’s Republic of China added a national security law (“NSL”) to Hong Kong’s Basic Law.  This act was done pursuant to article 18 of the Basic Law, which confers power on the NPCSC to apply PRC laws to Hong Kong in the fields of defence, foreign affairs and other matters outside the limits of the autonomy of Hong Kong.

The application of the NSL to Hong Kong has been controversial both in Hong Kong and internationally.  It raises important questions not only about Hong Kong’s ‘high degree of autonomy’ under the Basic Law but also about the rule of law in Hong Kong and the future of Hong Kong’s common law system.

Particular issues concern how Hong Kong’s common law courts are to interpret a PRC law within the Hong Kong legal system.  Do common law principles of interpretation of legislation and, for example, the principle of legality apply to the construction of the NSL?  What relevance does the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration have on the issues?  How are Hong Kong’s judges to apply a PRC law which is drafted in the traditions of the PRC legal system and in line with legal concepts unfamiliar to the common law system?  What impact might the NSL have on the continuing role of overseas, including UK judges, on Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal?

This seminar, hosted by the Statute Law Society, included contributions from two of Hong Kong’s leading constitutional lawyers, Professor Johannes Chan SC and Professor Chin Leng Lim.

Professor Johannes Chan SC holds a Chair in Public Law in the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong and previously served as the Faculty’s Dean. He is also a leading barrister in Hong Kong and an Honorary Senior Counsel.  Together with Professor Chin Leng Lim, he is the co-author of the leading work on Hong Kong’s Basic Law, Law of the Hong Kong Constitution.

Professor Chin Leng Lim is the Choh-Ming Li Professor of Law in the Faculty of Law of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.    He is also a barrister at Keating Chambers in London and a Visiting Professor at King’s College London.

15 DECEMBER 2020 // 2020 Annual Lord Renton Lecture – The Rt Hon. James Wolffe QC, Lord Advocate – “Devolution and the Statute Book”

21 NOVEMBER 2019 // The 2019 Lord Renton lecture was given by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd PC, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales // “Thinking policy through before legislating – aspirational legislation”

There have been several recent occasions when policy has not been thought through before legislation is enacted. There is pressure to enact legislation that requires governmental decision-making to take account of future aspirational goals and to adopt aspirational ways of working. But it is necessary to think through the implications of enacting such legislation.  Are these appropriate subjects for legislation? If so, can the legislation be drafted to make clear what should be done to achieve the aspirations set out? If such legislation is intended to be enforceable, what is the appropriate mechanism? Do courts/tribunals have a role and, if so, what should be the composition of the court/tribunal? If such legislation is not intended to be enforceable, what are the implications for the rule of law of enacting such legislation? Read the text of this lecture.

10 JULY 2019 // The Right Hon Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill CVO, Justice of the Supreme Court
“The Journey to Fiscal Enlightenment – some personal thoughts on the interpretation of taxing statutes”

10 MAY 2019 // CONFERENCE: IMPLICATIONS OF BREXIT FOR THE STATUTE BOOK // Conference Chair:  The Hon Mr Justice Garnham, Chairman of the Statute Law Society // Introduction:  The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP

Ian Forrester QC,  Judge at the General Court of the European Union
Brexit, the UK and EU Law in any Event

Professor Catherine Barnard,  Professor of European Law, University of Cambridge
Constitutional Legislation and Fundamental Rights after Brexit

Professor Aileen McHarg,  Professor of Public Law, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Legislating for Brexit in Scotland at Westminster and Holyrood

Chaired by Denis Edwards
Panellists:  Sir Stephen Laws KCB QC, Professor Aileen McHarg, Professor Catherine Barnard, Ian Forrester QC,
Brexit and Parliament: What have we learned?

19 NOVEMBER 2018 // The 2018 Annual Lord Renton Lecture was given by Lady Hale of Richmond, President of the Supreme Court
Statute or case law: how should we develop the law?

15 OCTOBER 2018 // Professor Alison L. Young // Sir David Williams Professor of Public Law, University of Cambridge // “Statutory Interpretation in a Post-Brexit UK”

12 JUNE 2018 // Professor David Ormerod QC, Law Commissioner // The New Sentencing Code

19 MARCH 2018 // Professor Thomas Poole, London School of Economics // ‘The Case for the Federative: A Foreign Relations Power for the Age of Statutes’
Watch the video recording of this talk.

5 MARCH 2018 // Elizabeth Gardiner, First Parliamentary Counsel // “Drafting Guidance: why bother?”
Joint event with the Study of Parliament Group held at the House of Lords

Statutory Interpretation: The Myth of Parliamentary Intent. The 2017 Annual Lord Renton lecture given by Sir John Laws on 13 November 2017.

Reflections on biosecurity legislation in developing countries: increasing market access or maintaining unequal terms of trade?.  Slides from lecture given by Robert Black on 13 February 2017.

A View from the Crossbenches. The 2016 Annual Lord Renton lecture given by the Rt Hon. the Lord Hope of Craighead, Convenor of the Crossbenches, on 28 November 2016.

Modern Statutory Interpretation. Lord Justice Sales, 2016. This article is based on the text of a lecture delivered at the Society of Legal Scholars conference at St Catherine’s College, Oxford in September 2016. It was first published in the Statute Law Review.

A Recent Development in Statutory and Constitutional Interpretation in Australia. Lecture given by Dr Christopher Walshaw of Central Queensland University on 29 February 2016.

Criminal Justice Legislation that Everyone Can Understand: a Flying Pig, or a Realistic Aspiration? Slide presentation accompanying the lecture given by Professor John Spencer QC on 25 January 2016.

Lord Renton Lecture – “As if …. The Wonderland of Statutory Hypotheses“ Lecture given by The Rt Hon. the Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe on 3 November 2015.

What Yemshaw Could Have Said.
Lecture given by Donald L. Drakeman, Distinguished Research Professor, Program on Constitutional Studies, University of Notre Dame on 21 October 2015.

Legislation as Aspiration: Statutory Expression of Policy Goals. Lecture given by Professor David Feldman, Rouse Ball Professor of English Law, University of Cambridge, on 16 March 2015.

Legislative Standards.
Prof. Dawn Oliver’s speaking notes for her lecture given on 23 February 2015.   

A Colloquium on the Use of Hybrid Bills in Parliament for Major Infrastructure Projects (21 October 2014):

Is there still a place for Hybrid Bills in the 21st Century? Angus Walker, Bircham Dyson Bell.  

Parliamentary Procedure: how can MPs do justice to Hybrid Bills? Liam Laurence Smyth, Clerk of the Journals.   

Hybrid Bills and other consent procedures. David Elvin QC, Landmark Chambers.  


Scrutiny of terrorism laws: searchlight or veil? David Anderson QC.  

Ex post facto law. Prof. Neil Duxbury. If you would like an offprint of the published article on which this lecture was based please apply to the SLS Administrator.

Lord Renton Lecture – Respect for law and sausages: how Parliament made Section 31 of the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 on the sale of employment rights. Lord Pannick QC.

CONFERENCE - Statute Law and Alternative Solutions: Codification, Restatement, Common Law:

Restatements and Judicial Law Reform. [outline of talk] Professor Andrew Burrows QC, Professor of the Law of England, Oxford University.

Is there still a case for codifying the criminal law and, if there is, what might a modern Evidence Code look like? Professor Ian Dennis, Emeritus Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Criminal Law, University College London.

Codification of Company Law - [Slide Presentation] Dr Deirdre Ahern, Fellow and Assistant Professor School of Law, Trinity College Dublin.

The Contitutional Reform Act 2005 and its consequences [Slide Presentation] Professor Robert Hazell, Professor of British Politics and Government and Director of the Constitution Unit. 

The European Contract Law Project: the drafting challenges [Outline of talk] Professor Hugh Beale QC, Professor of Law, University of Warwick.

Lord Renton Lecture – Through a Glass Darkly: Transposing EU drafting into English Statutes. Choices, Teleology and True Meaning.. [outline] Lecture given by Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston QC on 26 November 2012.  

Public and Private drafting: objectives, problems, styles and approaches. Speakers’ notes from event held jointly with Clarity on 15 October 2012. Sir Geoffrey Bowman KCB QC. James Kessler QC.

Judges and Legislature: Values into Law. Sir Philip Sales, High Court Judge and member of the Statute Law Society Council. (This paper was first published in The Cambridge Law Journal, 71, pp 287-296 (2012) and is reproduced by agreement with the Publisher.) For information on Cambridge Journals Online click here.  

Strasbourg Jurisprudence and the Human Rights Act: A response to Lord Irvine. Sir Philip Sales, High Court Judge and member of the Statute Law Society Council. [This article was first published by Sweet & Maxwell/Thomson Reuters (Legal) Limited in the issue of Public Law, April 2012, and is reproduced by agreement with the Publishers.]  

Teaching Legislation in United Kingdom Law Schools. Summary of survey results. In 2011 the Statute Law Society conducted a survey of UK law schools to find out how they teach about legislation. The survey is part of the Statute Law Society’s ongoing “Teaching Legislation Initiative” which aims to promote and improve the teaching of statute law.

The Data Protection Act 1998 and Personal Privacy. Lecture given by Philip Coppel QC on 19 March 2012.

Codification. by Alec Samuels, member of the Council of the Statute Law Society. Includes bibliography.

Lord Renton Lecture – General, equal and certain: law reform today and tomorrow. Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, Master of the Rolls. 28 November 2011.

Rights-Consistent Interpretation and the Human Rights Act 1998. An article by The Hon. Mr Justice Sales and Richard Ekins. (First published by Thomson Reuters (Legal) Ltd in the Law Quarterly Review, April 2011, and reproduced by agreement with the Publishers.)

The judicial role in the interpretation of statutes. Presentation given to members of the Netherlands Academy for Legislation by The Hon Mr Justice Sales, Judge of the High Court, Chancery Division and Council Member of the Statute Law Society. April 2011.

Yemshaw and the constitutionality of updating statutes. Lecture given by Richard Ekins, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, on 9 May 2011.

Enacting Legislation – a Civil Servant’s Perspective. Lecture given by Paul Regan, Head of Resources, Olympic and Paralympic Security Directorate, Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, Home Office. 31 January 2011.

Three Challenges to the Rule of Law in the Modern English Legal System Lecture. Given by The Hon Mr Justice Sales to the Statute Law Society on 10 December 2010.

Lord Renton Lecture – Giving Effect to Legislation: how to avoid missing the point. Stephen Laws CB, First Parliamentary Counsel.  10 November 2010.

CONFERENCE: LEGISLATION AND THE SUPREME COURT. 9 October 2010 held in the Supreme Court, London:
The shifting sands of statutory interpretation. Sir John Dyson.

Supremacy and Curial Deference: The Supreme Court of Canada’s Approach to Statutory Interpretation by Administrative Tribunals. Hon Harvey M. Groberman, Justice of the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

Constitutional Interpretation and the Irish Supreme Court: some reflections on a neighbouring common law court’s approaches to interpretation. Paul Brady.

Lord Renton Lecture – The Rise of the Strasbourgeoisie: Judicial Activism and the ECHR. The Rt Hon Lord Justice Elias.

Statute Law Society Conference 2008 – Belfast
Presuming to Interpret:  Basic Principles of Law in Statutory Interpretation

A comparison of the principle of legality and section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998.* Mr Justice Sales

Cold-blooded and warm-blooded presumptions. Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe

Presuming that Legislation Favours a Peace Process. Prof. Brice Dickson

Skating on thin ice – what happened to ‘strict’ interpretation of criminal and tax legislation. Prof. Stefan Vogenauer

Statutory Interpretation in the context of the Irish Constitution. Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan

What is legislative intent? Its content and structure. Richard Ekins

HRA section 3 and the limits of purposive interpretation. Jan van Zyl Smit 

* This material was first published by Thomson Reuters (Legal) Limited in The Law Quarterly Review, “A Comparison of the Principle of Legality and Section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998″ (2009) 125 L.Q.R. 598 and is reproduced by agreement with the Publishers.