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The Scottish independence referendum: an international law perspective



Staff, Students, Alumni, Academics

Speaker: Dr Jure Vidmar - Oxford University

Series: International Law and Affairs Group (ILAG) seminars

There are no universally-applicable procedural standards at independence referendums. However, in comparative practice a minimum requirement has emerged for clarity of both the winning majority and referendum question. In this paper, Dr Vidmar argues that Scotland could become a state with the lowest popular support in international practice should Scots vote for independence, yet this would not compromise the legitimacy of the vote. Even the referendum question is clear, textually. However, the possibility of a referendum on the UK's exit from the EU complicates the matter. He argues that with independence Scotland would prima facie also exit the EU, unless negotiated otherwise. But now Scots do not know whether a vote for the UK is also a vote for the EU. Given the complexity of the EU legal order, Scots have a right to know whether, at least in the near future, the alternative to independence is the UK in or outside of the EU. If the two referendums fall too close to each other, the clarity of the independence referendum could be unduly compromised.

Dr Jure Vidmar is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Faculty of Law and Research Fellow of St John's College, Oxford. He is also an Extraordinary Lecturer at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School. Previously, he was an Anglo-German Fellow at the Institute of European and Comparative Law, University of Oxford, and prior to that a post-doctoral researcher at the Amsterdam Center for International Law, University of Amsterdam.

Jure's main research and teaching interests lie within international law, human rights, European law, and legal and political theory. Jure is the author of a monograph entitled 'Democratic Statehood in International Law: The Emergence of New States in Post-Cold War Practice' (Oxford, Hart, 2013) and co-editor (with Erika de Wet) of 'Hierarchy in International Law: The Place of Human Rights' (Oxford, OUP, 2012). He is also an editor of the Hague Yearbook of International Law. Some of his publications are available on SSRN.

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When and where

1.00pm - 3.00pmWednesday 12th March 2014

AG02 College Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1V 4PB United Kingdom

Contact Details

Dr Ioannis Kalpouzos

Lecturer in Law

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom
020 7040 4122

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