Dr Lawrence Joseph talks ‘constitutionalism, revolutions and the question of legitimacy’

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Dr Lawrence JosephDr Lawrence Joseph, the constitutional law expert who became President of Grenada’s Senate last year, takes up his new role in London as ST Lee Visiting Fellow next month. He will be based at the School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, from 4 March to 7 April.

Dr Joseph, who studied for his PhD at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) – a member institute of SAS, will conduct a series of free public lectures on the theme of ‘constitutionalism, revolutions and the question of legitimacy’. They will be held at IALS, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Cardiff Law School.

Professor Roger Kain, Dean and Chief Executive of SAS said: ‘The ST Lee Fellowship is awarded to eminent scholars in the humanities who promote research through the global standing that they enjoy in their own field of inquiry and through their active engagement with the wider public. I very much hope that Dr Joseph will benefit as much from joining our interdisciplinary research environment as we undoubtedly will from his intellectual contribution during his time here.’ 

Accepting the invitation-only Fellowship last summer, Dr Joseph said he was ‘pleasantly surprised’ and was relishing the opportunities presented by his new position. ‘I am looking forward towards performing my ambassadorial role to enhance the well-being of my alma mater,’ he said. ‘It is my intention, among other things, to lecture on the dilemma which confronts common law judges when they adjudicate on extra-constitutional issues which arise following a coup d’état or a revolution.”

As a qualified barrister with expertise in interdisciplinary fields that span law, political science and modern history, Dr Joseph is well respected in legal and political communities in the Caribbean. His government appointments include that of Speaker of Grenada’s House of Representatives as well as its attorney general. He is also Vice-President of the Grenada Bar Association and a prolific writer, engaging in what he describes as fruitful ‘conversations’ with the general public through weekly articles in the local media on a wide range of topics involving governance and institutional development.

ST Lee Visiting Professorship programme of public lectures, March–April 2014

6 March 2014, 18.00–19.15 (arrive 17.30)
Constitutionalism as a Democrat’s Dream: The Grenada Experience
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B
RSVP: IALS.Events@sas.ac.uk

10 March 2014, 16.00–17.15 (arrive 15.30)
To what extent do Citizens have an Obligation to obey the State?
Canada Room, Council Chamber, Queen’s University Belfast, 27-30 University Square, Belfast BT7 1NN
RSVP: d.p.coyle@qub.ac.uk by 6 March

20 March, 13.00–14.00 (arrive 12.30)
Revolutionary Governments and the Question of Legitimacy
University of Cardiff Law School, Law Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3AX
RSVP: SamuelAM@cardiff.ac.uk

Entry is free to all three lectures and all are welcome.

ST Lee Visiting Professorship programme of public lectures March–April flyer [PDF]

– Ends –

Notes for editors:

1. For further information please contact Dee Burn at the School of Advanced Study, University of London at dee.burn@sas.ac.uk / 020 7862 8670 / 07900 401 240. Images available on request.

2. The School of Advanced Study (SAS) at the University of London is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. The School brings together 10 prestigious research institutes to offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Historical Research, Latin American Studies, Modern Languages Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, and the Warburg Institute. The School also hosts a cross-disciplinary centre, the Human Rights Consortium, dedicated to the facilitation, promotion and dissemination of academic and policy work on human rights.

3. The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) was founded in 1947 as a national academic institution serving all universities through its national legal research library. Its function is to promote, facilitate and disseminate the results of advanced study and research in the discipline of law, for the benefit of persons and institutions in the UK and abroad. Its areas of specialty include arbitration and dispute settlement, company law, comparative law, economic crime, financial services law and legislative studies and law reform, and the legal profession and delivery of legal services. The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is a member institute of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. 

4. The ST Lee Professorial Fellowship has been made possible by a generous endowment by Dr ST Lee, of Singapore to the School of Advanced Study, University of London for the purpose of supporting research in London in any field relevant to the work of one or more of the School's ten research institutes and the Human Rights Consortium. The ST Lee Professorial Fellowship is awarded to eminent and distinguished scholars in the arts, humanities and social sciences who promote research in these areas through the global standing they enjoy in their own field of inquiry and through their active engagement with thbe wider public. ST Lee Fellows are invited to spend a period of between four and six weeks at the School of Advanced Study and during their stay to give a series of high profile lectures in London and elsewhere in the UK. These events provide an important opportunity to demonstrate the reach and significance of the arts, humanities and social sciences to the wider culture and to society at large. 

5. Dr Lawrence Joseph graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1970 with a BSc in Economics. In 1974 he travelled to London where he studied at the Inns of Court School of Law and qualified as a Barrister at Law of Lincoln’s Inn in 1977. After his return to Grenada in 1978 he became engaged in private practice and was selected as a Magistrate, a position which he held for five years up to 1984. He was elected as President of the Senate from 1984 to 1988 and in that position acted as Governor-General on a number of occasions. Senator Joseph, as he then was, became a Cabinet Minister holding several portfolios including that of Attorney General, Minister for Legal Affairs, and Minister for Education and Labour. He was Speaker of the House of Representatives in Grenada, 2003-2008, and in 2013 was again elected as President of the Grenada Senate. Having studied for two years as an external student of the University of London, Dr Joseph obtained an LLM in Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2006. He gained a Certificate in Legislative Drafting in 2009 and successfully defended his PhD thesis in public law in 2012, both at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at SAS. His thesis is based on the extra-constitutional adjudication dilemma which confronted the Grenada Court of Appeal judges during the trial of a number of revolutionaries who were accused of murdering the then ‘revolutionary’ Prime Minister Maurice Bishop during a counter coup d’etat in 1983. Dr Joseph asserts that the judges correctly adopted the Doctrine of Necessity instead of Kelsen’s Theory of Revolutionary Legality, which seemed to have been the one of natural selection in the 1980s. Dr. Joseph is presently based in Grenada but engages in fruitful ‘conversations’ with the general public by publishing weekly articles in the media on a wide range of topics involving governance and institutional development. In 2013 he published Aspects of Governance and Institutional Development in Grenada, a collection of newspaper articles from the previous 12 months and in 2014 on a similar basis, he published Discussions on Governance, Social Issues and the Legal System in Grenada. Dr Joseph has been recently re-elected as Vice-President of the Grenada Bar Association.