Professor Sir Neil MacCormick, QC, FRSE, FBA, LLD Dlitt, Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at The University of Edinburgh (UK) and Freehills Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales delievered the 2005 Schuman Lecture on the topic of A More Democratic European Union: Reflections on the Proposed Constitution.
Sir Neil is one of the world’s leading philosophers of law. His central contribution to the scholarship of the philosophy of law has been the concept of law as “institutional fact”. Sir Neil has built upon and critically revised the work of the leading legal philosopher of the mid twentieth century, H L A Hart, but has also established his own reputation with five major books and numerous essays, notably on the legal theory of the Scottish Enlightenment; legal reasoning as a branch of practical reason; the theory of sovereignty in the context of the European Union, and on social democracy, liberalism and nationalism.
As a member of the recent Convention that drafted the proposed Constitutional Treaty for the European Union, he has had an opportunity to bring together theory and practice in an unusual way. Sir Neil has a worldwide reputation and has received many academic and other honours, including most recently the rank of honorary QC, and a knighthood for services to scholarship in law. His boundless personal generosity has won him a host of friends and admirers everywhere, but he has never lost sight of, or touch with, Scotland in either academic or political terms. He is one of the most distinguished Scots of his generation.