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The Deliberative Governance and Law project has moved: https://dgal.allard.ubc.ca/

Research themes

  • Constitutional Law and Theory
  • Human Rights Law and Policy
  • International Law
  • Law, Governance and Development

Our members

Ron Levy
Anthony Connolly
Dominique Dalla-Pozza

About DGAL

The Deliberative Governance and Law Project bridges the gap between the theory and real-world practice of democratic deliberation. The project connects a network of scholars, lawyers and members of governments working in the area, enabling them to share results and collaborate to provide practical reform proposals to improve deliberation in democracies around the world. Uniquely, we focus on the roles of law and legal practice in enabling, inhibiting or shaping democratic deliberation.

Deliberative democracy

The discipline of deliberative democracy emerges from a concern for resolving tensions between the ideals of democracy and the growing number of issues confronting public governance. In an era of increasing political and legal complexity, deliberative democracy focuses on finding solutions to how citizens can remain meaningfully engaged and involved in democratic decision-making.

With its ambitious aims and an impressive emerging track-record of real-world application, deliberative democracy is arguably the most important movement in political theory and institutional design of the past two decades. Yet most research in the area lacks sustained analyses of laws as critical, and qualitatively distinct, features of the deliberative democratic institutional landscape.

The use of statute and judge-made law to regulate political process has burgeoned in many democracies, reflecting attempts to grapple with corruption, electoral inequality and concentrations of official power. These fields are now well-established, yet they have often developed around a limited class of theories about ‘politics’ that omits discussion of deliberative democracy.

The project

The Deliberative Governance and Law Project aims to address this gap through the dissemination of research, engagement with political decision-makers, and popular discourse. A principal aim is to help lead an international conversation about how law – and law reform – can affect deliberation.

The project sits within the Centre for International and Public Law, at the ANU College of Law and the McGill University, Faculty of Law in Montreal, Canada.

The Co-Directors are Dr Ron Levy of The Australian National University, ANU College of LAW, Canberra, Australia, and Dr Hoi Kong, of the McGill University Faculty of Law, Montreal, Canada. The Associate Director is Dr Dominique Dalla-Pozza, also of the ANU College of Law.

Dr Jonathan Liljeblad, co-editor of 'Living with Myanmar'


Earlier this month, Myanmar’s military seized power after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders. The move raised international concerns about state stability, public safety and the rule of law in the Southeast Asian nation, which now faces an uncertain future.

Now, a new book co-edited by three scholars associated with The Australian National University (ANU) provides a timely, in-depth examination of the legacies of half a century of military rule from socio-political, economic, legal perspectives and more.

DECRA fellows


Funding positions ANU as national leader for early career legal research

Three researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law have been awarded almost $1.3 million in Federal Government funding for their interdisciplinary, socio-legal projects under the Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) scheme.

Australian Parliament


By Daniel Stewart
Senior Lecturer, ANU College of Law

Although the Federal Government might not consider a pandemic to be the best time to consult with the public on legislation establishing a Commonwealth Integrity Commission, there is one public consultation occurring now that might have the potential to transform transparency and accountability of government.

The Deliberative Governance and Law Project has three current sub-projects, these are outlined below.

Books edited collections

Ron Levy, Hoi Kong, Graeme Orr and Jeff King (eds),The Cambridge Handbook of Deliberative Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Ron Levy and Graeme Orr,The Law of Deliberative Democracy(Routledge, 2016)

Ron Levy and Graeme Orr (eds),Symposium: The Law of Deliberative Democracy (2013);Election Law Journal 12:4

Other publications

Ron Levy, '"Shotgun Referendums": Popular Deliberation and Conflict Settlement in Conflict Societies' (2018) 41(3) Melbourne University Law Review 1237

Ron Levy, Amelia Simpson, Ian O’Flynn and Georgina Flaherty, 'Designing Referendums for Peacemaking: The Case of Bougainville', (2018) 33(2) Australasian Parliamentary Review (forthcoming)

Hoi Kong and Ron Levy, 'Deliberative Constitutionalism', in André Bächtiger, John Dryzek, Jane Mansbridge and Mark Warren (eds), The ;Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

Ron Levy, 'The Deliberative Case for Constitutional Referenda', (2017) 16(2) Election Law Journal 213

Ron Levy, Neomal Silva and Benjamin Saunders, 'Deliberation at the Founding: Deliberative Democracy as an Original Constitutional Value', (2017) 28(1) Public Law Review 41

Ron Levy, 'The "Elite Problem" in Deliberative Constitutionalism', in Ron Levy, Hoi Kong, Graeme Orr and Jeff King (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Deliberative Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Hoi Kong, “Democratic Deliberation in the Wild: The McGill Online Design Studio and the Regulation Room Project” (2014) 41 Fordham Urban Law Journal 1527-1580 (with Cynthia Farina et. al.).

Hoi Kong, “Republicanism and the Division of Powers in Canada” (2014) 64:3 University of Toronto Law Journal 359-401.

Ron Levy, 'Regulating Opinion Polling: A Deliberative Democratic Perspective', (2016) 39(1) UNSW Law Journal 318-340 (with G. Orr)

Ron Levy, 'La démocratie délibérative et de la loi électorale: le conflit et la congruence', (2014) 8(2) Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law (Amanda Mihoub Wright, James O McCarthy and Charlotte-Anne Malischewski transl; based on 'The Law of Deliberative Democracy: Seeding the Field')

Hoi Kong, “The Citizen Submissions Process in the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation: Theory and Practice in Deliberative Democratic Institutional Design for Transnational Institutions” in Kong Wroth (eds.) NAFTA and Sustainable Development: The History, Experience and Prospects For Reform (Cambridge University Press, 2015) 351-372.

Hoi Kong, “Election Law and Deliberative Democracy: Against Deflation” (2015) 9 Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law 35-58.

Ron Levy, 'Deliberative Voting: Realising Constitutional Referendum Democracy', (2013) Public Law 555-574

Ron Levy, 'The Law of Deliberative Democracy: Seeding the Field', (2013) 12(4) Election Law Journal 355-371


Ron Levy, 'Independent Report on ACT Citizens' Jury Pilot', 2 February, 2018 (requested by the Law Society of the Australian Capital Terrritory)

Graduate study

Prospective graduate scholars are encouraged to contact us for inquiries about graduate study, at ANU or McGill, in our subject areas:

  • deliberative democracy
  • governance
  • legal regulation of democracy
  • judicial, parliamentary and popular deliberation
  • referendums and plebiscites
  • urban planning
  • environmental regulation