Richard Rawlings

Richard Rawlings

Professor of Public Law

+44 (0)20 3108 8370

Richard (Rick) Rawlings (FLSW) is one of the UK’s leading public lawyers. He is Professor of Public Law at UCL, Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellow, Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple, Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and Life Fellow of the Institute of Welsh Affairs. He was formerly Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee and currently serves on the Welsh Advisory Committee of the Law Commission.

Rick’s areas of expertise range across constitutional and administrative law. They include the UK’s territorial constitution and intergovernmental relations; policy implementation and administrative justice; judicial review and human rights; and EU law and governance. He pioneers the study of law and governance in Wales in the light of rapidly evolving devolutionary arrangements.

His many works include leading monographs and edited collections such as Delineating Wales: Constitutional, Legal and Administrative Aspects of National Devolution (2003); Devolution, Law-making and the Constitution (2005); Law and Administration (3rd edn 2009) (with Carol Harlow); The Regulatory State: Constitutional Implications (2010); Sovereignty and the Law (2013); and Process and Procedure in EU Administration (2014) (with Carol Harlow).

Rick has held research grants from a range of funding organisations such as ESRC, Leverhulme, Nuffield, and the Board of Celtic Studies. His major collaborations include the EU’s WIRE partnership on Regionalism and Constitutional Development, the Constitution Unit partnership on Devolution and Constitutional Change, and the EU’s CONNEX programme on Accountability in Network and Multi-level Governance. Rick has undertaken many public activities relating to his academic work, for example as Coordinator of the pan-UK ESRC Research Initiative on Administrative Justice; Secretary and Articles Editor of the Modern Law Review; and Academic Director of the WG Hart Legal Workshop. Rick has held visiting research and teaching posts at leading universities such as University of California Berkeley, National University Singapore, and University of Auckland.

In 2015 Rick was honoured to deliver the annual St David’s Day lecture of the Wales Governance Centre under the title ‘Riders on the Storm: Wales, the Union, and Territorial Constitutional Crisis’. More recently, he was rapporteur for a major independent review of proposed devolution legislation for Wales sponsored by the Wales Governance Centre and the Constitution Unit at UCL. His Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship for study of Wales and the Union is awarded for three years from September 2016.


Interweaving theory, doctrine and empirical studies, Rick’s research on public law closely connects with government and politics. He is particularly interested in the interplay of contemporary constitutional development with practical policy choice and implementation and in the role played by law and legal techniques in the design and working of administrative processes and governance systems. Rick’s most recent titles include, on the modelling of executive authority, ‘A Coalition Government in Westminster’; on the nature and forms of legal technique, ‘Soft law Never Dies’; on redress and accountability, ‘Complaints Systems in EU Governance – A New Look’; and, reflecting his long-standing interests in devolution and intergovernmental relations as well as Welsh constitutional development, ‘Riders on the Storm: Political and Legal Responses to Territorial Constitutional Crisis’.

The project title for Rick’s Major Research Fellowship with Leverhulme is Devolution: A Constitutional Journey in Wales. Key aims of the project are:

  • to provide the authoritative constitutional and legal account of two decades of development
  • to chart a possible constitutional future for Wales inside a rapidly changing Union
  • to contribute a distinctive Welsh voice to the burgeoning constitutional and legal debates about the Union

View Rick’s research profile on the UCL IRIS website



Process and Procedure in EU Administration (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014) (with Carol Harlow)

Sovereignty and the Law (Oxford University Press, 2013) (ed.) (with Peter Leyland and Alison Young)

The Regulatory State: Constitutional Implications (Oxford University Press, 2010) (ed.) (with Tony Prosser and Dawn Oliver)

Law and Administration (Cambridge University Press, 3rd edn. 2009) (with Carol Harlow)

Devolution, Law-Making and the Constitution (Imprint Academic, 2005) (ed.) (with Robert Hazell)

Say not the struggle naught availeth: The Richard Commission and after (Centre for Welsh Legal Studies, 2004)

Delineating Wales: Constitutional, Legal and Administrative Aspects of National Devolution. University of Wales Press, 2003)

Law and Administration in Europe (Oxford University Press, 2003) (ed.) (with Paul Craig)

Law and Administration (Butterworths, 2nd edn. 1997) (with Carol Harlow)

Law, Society, and Economy (Oxford University Press, 1997) (ed.)

Pressure Through Law (Routledge, 1992) (with Carol Harlow)

Grievance Procedure and Administrative Justice (ESRC, 1987)

Law and Administration (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1984) (with Carol Harlow)

Select list of journal articles, book chapters and reports

Challenge and Opportunity: The Draft Wales Bill (2016) (Constitution Unit and Wales Governance Centre) (Rapporteur)

‘Riders on the Storm: Wales, the Union and Territorial Constitutional Crisis’ (2015) 42 Journal of Law and Society 471-498

‘Soft Law Never Dies’ in Feldman and Elliott (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Public Law (Cambridge University Press, 2015) 215-235

‘A Coalition Government in Westminster’ in Jowell, et al (eds), The Changing Constitution (Cambridge University Press, 8th edn, 2015) 194-221

‘Administrative Law in Context: Restoring a Lost Connection’ (2014) Public Law 28-42 (with Carol Harlow)

‘National Administrative Procedures in a European Perspective’ (2011) 2 Italian Journal of Public Law 215-258 (with Carol Harlow)

‘Changed conditions, old truths’ in Oliver, et al (eds.), The Regulatory State: Constitutional Implications (Oxford University Press, 2010) 283-305

‘Poetic Justice’ in Pearson, et al (eds), Administrative Law in a Changing State (Hart Publishing, 2008) 223-246

‘Modelling Judicial Review’ (2008) 61 Current Legal Problems 95-123

‘Promoting Accountability in multi-level governance: a network approach’ (2007) 13 European Law Journal 542-562 (with Carol Harlow)

‘Hastening Slowly: The Next Phase of Welsh Devolution’ (2005) Public Law 824-852

‘Review, Revenge and Retreat’ (2005) 68 Modern Law Review 378-410

‘Cymru yn Ewrop: Wales in Europe’ in Craig and Rawlings (eds.), Law and Administration in Europe (Oxford University Press, 2003) 241-272

‘Quasi-Legislative Devolution: Powers and Principles’ (2002) 52 Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 54-81

‘Law, Territory and Integration. A View from the Atlantic Shore’ 67 (2001) International Review of Administrative Sciences 479-504

‘Taking Wales Seriously’ in Campbell, Gearty and Tomkins (eds.), Sceptical Approaches to Human Rights (Hart Publishing, 2001) 177-196

‘Concordats of the Constitution’ (2000) 116 Law Quarterly Review 257-286

‘Engaged Elites. Citizen Action and Institutional Attitudes in Commission Enforcement’ (2000) 6 European Law Journal 4-28

‘The New Model Wales’ (1998) 25 Journal of Law and Society 461-509

‘Courts and Interests’ in Loveland (ed.), A Special Relationship? (Clarendon, 1995) 99-122

‘Legal Politics. The United Kingdom and Ratification of the Treaty on European Union’, Part I (1994) Public Law 254-278; Part II (1994) Public Law 367-391

‘The Eurolaw Game: Some Deductions from a Saga’ (1993) 20 Journal of Law and Society 309-340

‘The MP’s Complaints Service’ Part I (1990) 53 Modern Law Review 22-42; Part II (1990) 53 Modern Law Review 149-169

‘After the Ancien Regime: The Writing of Judgments in the House of Lords 1979/80’ Part I (1982) 45 Modern Law Review 34-61; Part II (1981) 44 Modern Law Review 617-657 (with Tim Murphy)

Current Teaching


Public Law (Convenor)
Human Rights in the UK


Judicial Review (Convenor)
EU Administrative Law (Convenor)

PhD Supervision

Ricks’ PhD students have tackled important and challenging topics in public law such as constitutional design and risk regulation in the EU and US; forms and patterns of judicial review in the commercial context; and European influences on constitutional change in the UK.

Rick welcomes approaches from potential students, particularly now in the area of devolution and federalism.