Professor Ian Cram
I am a Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law. My most recent book is an edited collection Extremism, Free Speech and Counter terrorism law and Policy (Routledge 2019). With contributions from leading scholars in the UK, US Australia and New Zealand, the collection explores the impact of counter terrorism law and policy on freedom of speech.
I am currently working on a monograph for Hart entitled ‘Liberal Democracy, Law and the Citizen Speaker: Regulating Online Speech’ The book will offer an original, theoretically informed analysis of the legal regulation of online speech and its current problems such as ‘fake news' and the censoring of political debate by governments and publicly unaccountable social media corporations. Rejecting the narrow pluralism of elitist and deliberative accounts of the citizen’s role in political discourse, the monograph sets out to defend a partipatory account of speech in non-deliberative settings. It considers how liberal democracies police popular expression and traces these to dominant ochlophobic narratives that close down spaces for meaningful political contestation. Exploring inherent tensions between liberalism and democracy, a radically pluralist understanding of political agency and political speech is defended, one in which the constitutive power of the demos to ‘begin the world again’ lies centre stage and Enlightenment projects of progressive unfolding of the better society abandoned. In this way, I set out a democratic republican understanding of ongoing, popular authorship of the laws and the expressive freedom in law that such authorship entails.
My previous book 'Citizen Journalists: Newer Media, Republican Moments and the Constitution' (2016) explores the phenomenon of ‘citizen journalism’ from a legal and constitutional perspective. It describes and evaluates emerging patterns of communication between a new and diverse set of speakers and their audiences. Drawing upon political theory, the book considers the extent to which the constitutional and legal frameworks of modern liberal states allow for a ‘contestatory space’ that advances the scope for non-traditional speakers to participate in policy debates and to hold elites to account.
From January - June 2018, I was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, EUI, Florence.
In May 2017, I was appointed to the list of independent legal experts of the European Parliament's Research Service to provide advice to the Parliament on Administrative, Comparative and Constitutional Law topics.
I have appeared as an expert witness on constitutional reform at the House of Commons and in 2015 was cited by the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee in its report Revisiting the Cabinet Manual (HC 233; 2014-15)
My previously published work on Contempt of Court has been referred to by the Law Commission in various reports on this subject Scandalising the Court (Law Comm No.335; Dec 2012); Juror Misconduct and Internet Publications (Law Comm No. 340, December 2013) and Court Reporting (Law Comm 344; March 2014)
I serve on the Board of Editors of the International Comparative Law Quarterly.
My main research interests are in the fields of public law and comparative constitutional Law, with special reference to freedom of expression.
I teach constitutional law, media law, human rights and administrative law.<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>
- MA, LLB