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    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Constitutional law and theory, e-government and e-democracy, new technology, (including smart cities, big data, surveillance etc.), judges and the legal professions

1987 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

 A graduate in Law from University College Cardiff, John taught law in England and Wales, and carried out research for his PhD on theories of punishment, before returning to his home city of Belfast to take up the post of Lecturer in the Department of Public Law at Queen's University Belfast. In 1996 he was appointed as Professor of Jurisprudence. His books include The Barrister's World and the Nature of Law (with Philip Leith) (1992) Reshaping Public Power: Northern Ireland and the British Constitutional Problem (with Stephen Livingstone)(1995), and Crime Community and Locale (with David O'Mahony, Kieran McEvoy and Ray Geary) (2000) and the co-edited essay collections Law, Society and Change (1990), Tall Stories? Reading Law and Literature (1996) Voices, Spaces and Processes in Constitutionalism (2000), Judges, Transition, and Human Rights (2007) and Values in Global Administrative Law (2011). In addition, Professor Morison is author of some thirty or so chapters in various books and more than 50 articles in scholarly journals.


            Professor Morison has worked on various empirical projects funded by government and research councils, including the social attitudes survey, a communities crime survey, European election law, public service provision, the modernising government agend, and judicial appointments.   He was one of the coordinators of an EU funded Asia Link project which was concerned with developing good governance and human rights in Mongolia and Indonesia. He has concluded  an ESRC funded project on “What makes an important case? A Sociology of the creation and transmission of legal knowledge” (with G. Anthony) and in December 2011 he completed  an ESRC funded  project on Public Interest in the UK courts with Dr Gordon Anthony and Dr Dimtrios Doukas. Recently he has also finished an EU funded project on youth participation and the internet, and a project funded by the Changing Ageing Partnership on Hearing Older Voices which looks at e-engagement among older people. In November 2018 he ws invited to undertake further research for the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission and currently leads a team looking at obstacles to application to the higher courts, due to report in spring 2019.  He is a member of the European Group of Public Law, and serves on the Board of the European Public Law Organisation as well as being a member of the Curatorium of the European Academy of Public Law which runs an annual postgraduate education programme in Greece. He is also a member of the steering committee of the European Law and Governance School which is a new multi-country initiative.  Professor Morison is on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Law and Society and on the Editorial boards of the European Review of Public Law and the International Journal of Public Law and Policy and on the Reviewer Committee of the Electronic Journal of E-Government. He was a trustee of the Hamlyn Trust until October 2018 and was  a member of the Peer Review College of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council Peer Review College for two full terms.   In September 2018 he was appointed to the ESRC Grant Award Panel (Panel B).  In addition he  has acted as a reviewer for numerous overseas government research bodies. He was a member of the Task Force on Resourcing the Voluntary and Community, established by the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland. Professor Morison is a committee member for the European Conference on Digital Government and was invited to join the Programme Committee for  the  newly established European Conference  on the Impact of AI and Robotics (ECIAIR). He is also on the Technical Program Committee for the 14th International Conference on Digial Society, Barcelona 2020.  Professor Morison has been a speaker at many conferences and meetings in Europe, the USA and South Africa, including recently at the Law and Society conference in Washington in June 2019 and at symposium in Science-Po in Paris. In 2018 he has continued to speak on Brexit issues, both as part of his involvement in the TREUP Project and more widely. 

Professor Morison was a previously a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London, an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Constitution Unit, University College London, Visiting Research Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London (supported by a grant from the British Academy) a visiting Professor at the University of Cape Town, a research fellow at the Institute of Governance at QUB supported by a grant from the Royal Irish Academy, and in 2007-08 a Visiting Research Chair at the Law School in the Universiteit of Utrecht. He is a member of the Higher Education Academy and has been or is currently an external examiner for universities in England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, as well as for a number of continental PhDs. In 2005 Professor Morison was appointed to the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission  and re-appointed for a further four years from  2008-12. He was an Independent Board Member of the Legal Services Agency which funds legal aid in Northern Ireland from 2013-18.  In March 2009 he was elected as a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He served as a member of its Academic Board as well as  the chair of the Academy's Ethical, Political, Legal and Philosophical Studies Committee from 2014 to 2018. In 2015 he led the RIA's Ethics and Opinion Series  within the President of Ireland's Ethics Inititative and in 2016 organised the RIA's Constitutional Conversations series. In 2018 he was invited to join the RIA's Policy Oversight Group, where he is currently chairing a review of Early Career Provision in Ireland, and he was co-opted to the RIA Council in 2018.  A previous Head of the School of Law, he was also Director of Internationalisation until 2016, and in this role was a founder of the innovative Juris Doctorate (JD) degree which attracts students from across the world to QUB.  
He was appointed as the Law School's "REF Champion" in October 2016 and was Programme Coordinator for the Leverhulme Interdisciplinary Network on CyberSecurity (LINCS) which has been established to support pioneering research at the interface between the social sciences and electronic engineering & computer science, and remains on its managment group.  



Professor Morison has taught across most subjects within the law curriculum and currently leads the  course in Constitutional and Administrative Law for the Juris Doctorate and supervises final year research projects. 


Research Interests

 Current research interests encompass constitutional law and theory, including judicial apporintments, as well as e-government, e-democracy and algorithmic government, and smart cities.

Professor Morison has supervised a large number of PhD students to completion. Recent successes include Jennifer Cobbe, Adam Harkens, and Andrew Godden and the co-supervison of Conor McCormick.  He currently supervises PhD students in the  areas of constitutional law and theory, criminal justice and new technology including Martina Roulston, Htaik Winn, Hamad Alfahad, Narayan Kandel, Paul McCusker, Lydia Griffiths and Rebekah Corbett, and  co-supervises Louise O'Hagan 

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Research Output

Barriers to High Court Appointments in Northern Ireland

Morison, J., Dickson, B. & Godden, A., 14 Jan 2020, In : Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly. 70, 4, p. 479-501 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 173 Downloads (Pure)

    Selecting Judges for the High Court in Northern Ireland

    Morison, J., Dickson, B. & Godden, A., 2020, SCHOOL OF LAW, QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY BELFAST.

    Research output: Other contribution

    Open Access
  • 3 Downloads (Pure)

    Towards a Democratic Singularity? Algorithmic Governmentality, the Eradication of Politics, and the Possibility of Resistance

    Morison, J., 31 Jan 2020, (Accepted) Is Law Computable? : Critical Perspectives on Law & Artificial Intelligence. . Deakin, S. & Markou, C. (eds.). Oxford: Hart Publishing, 18 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Open Access
  • 90 Downloads (Pure)

    Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly: Professor Stephen Livingstone Special Issue

    Morison, J. (ed.) & McEvoy, K. (ed.), 20 Nov 2019, In : Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly. 70, p. 1-93 93 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue


    International Conference on Digital Society (External organisation)

    John Morison (Advisor)


    Activity: Membership typesMembership of national or international committees and working groups

    Royal Irish Academy (External organisation)

    John Morison (Advisor)


    Activity: Membership typesMembership of national or international committees and working groups

    Economic & Social Research Council (External organisation)

    John Morison (Advisor)

    01 Nov 201801 Nov 2021

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

    European Conference on the Impact of AI and Robotics

    John Morison (Participant)

    2018 → …

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Royal Irish Academy (External organisation)

    John Morison (Advisor)


    Activity: Membership typesMembership of national or international committees and working groups


    Big Data, Surveillance, and the Digital Citizen

    Author: Cobbe, J., Jul 2019

    Supervisor: Morison, J. (Supervisor) & Melo Araujo, B. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Paramilitary imprisonment in Northern Ireland 1969-1999 : resistance, management & release

    Author: McEvoy, K., 2000

    Supervisor: Morison, J. (Supervisor) & Livingstone, S. (External person) (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The transformative potential of human rights : the human right to water and the courts

    Author: McCann, C., Jul 2013

    Supervisor: Dickson, B. (Supervisor) & Morison, J. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy