The Public Law Research Group (PLRG) strives to advance our understanding of the nature, issues, challenges, and insights of public law. As an interdisciplinary initiative with a broad conception of public law, the PLRG aims to facilitate collaboration between Western University’s public law scholars, as well as between Western’s scholars and leading thinkers from across Canada and throughout the world.
The PLRG was first founded in 2008 as the Public Law and Legal Philosophy Research Group, Western Law’s first scholarly working group. Since its inception, the PLRG has facilitated research across a range of pressing areas of public law, including proportionality, constitutional interpretation, judicial review and constitutional amendment. At the PLRG’s hand, these themes have been explored at international symposia, which have culminated in multiple leading edited collections. The PLRG also supports and advances the work of emerging public law scholars through, for example, Western Law’s Public Law Showcase (2016) and participation in the Canadian Public Law Junior Scholars’ Working Group (2015 onwards).
Members of the PLRG are experts in their field, known for rigorous and bold scholarship, and are invited to speak and contribute nationally and globally on foundational and cutting edge questions of public law. Indeed, the Group’s two founding members, Grant Huscroft and Bradley Miller, have both been appointed to the bench, now holding seats on the Court of Appeal for Ontario
Over the years, the PLRG has attracted outstanding visitors, like John Finnis (Oxford), Fred Schauer (Virginia), Jeremy Waldron (NYU/Oxford), Neil Walker (Edinburgh), Lawrence Solum (Georgetown), Aileen Kavanagh (Oxford), Gerard Bradley (Notre Dame), and John Borrows (Victoria), who have shared their scholarship through intensive courses, lectures and seminars.
One of the highlights of the PLRG’s academic calendar is the Coxford Lecture, which brings an outstanding scholar or jurist to the wider community through an annual public lecture on the theme of the rule of law. The lecture is generously supported by Western Law alumnus Stephen Coxford, ‘77. The lecture has been delivered by Larry Alexander (San Diego School of Law School), Jeremy Waldron (NYU/Oxford), Jeffrey Goldsworthy (Monash University), Justice Ian Binnie (Supreme Court of Canada), Timothy Endicott (Oxford), John Finnis (Oxford), Adrienne Davis (Washington University in St. Louis), Paul Horwitz (University of Alabama), Debra Satz (Stanford), David Johnston (the 28th Governor General of Canada) and Emily Bazelon (Yale, New York Times Magazine)