Stephen Thomson

I am an Associate Professor at the ANU College of Law, The Australian National University.  Additionally, I am the General Editor of the Federal Law Review, a Legal Adviser to the Ombudsman of Hong Kong by statutory appointment, a member of the Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of Hong Kong, and an examiner in constitutional law on the Law Society of Hong Kong’s Overseas Lawyers Qualification Examination.  I held a visiting appointment as a Herbert Smith Freehills Visitor at the University of Cambridge.

My areas of expertise are in public law, including administrative law, constitutional law and human rights.  I also have experience in comparative public law and aspects of civil procedure, and am a regular peer reviewer for papers in these areas.  My recent work includes multiple contributions on the legal and human rights aspects of COVID-19 regulations, including peer-reviewed papers in interdisciplinary, public health and science journals.  My analysis and recommendations submitted to the UK House of Lords Constitution Committee were adopted in its Report on COVID-19 and the Use and Scrutiny of Emergency Powers.  I am also the Rapporteur for the Hong Kong SAR on The Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to COVID-19 project run by University College London, King’s College London and the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law.

My work has been cited by a range of courts, including the High Court of Justice in England and Wales (M v Salford City Council [2019] EWHC 1510 (Fam); CMG Pension Trustees Ltd v CGI IT UK Ltd [2022] EWHC 2130 (Ch)), the Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland (Cumbria County Council, Petitioners [2016] CSIH 92; Vince v Advocate General [2019] CSIH 51 (unpublished transcript); Prior v Scottish Ministers [2020] CSIH 36), the Scottish Land Court (Grains v Gifford’s Executors, 2016 GWD 31-552) and the High Court of the Hong Kong SAR (Sime Darby Motor Services Ltd v Director of Lands [2022] HKCFI 2809).  It has also been cited by legislative and government bodies including the UK House of Lords Constitution Committee (Report on COVID-19 and the Use and Scrutiny of Emergency Powers, 2021) and the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (2019 Annual Report to Congress).

I am, along with Denis Edwards, the co-editor of a new Administrative Law Reissue in The Laws of Scotland:  The Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, the most authoritative statement of Scots law, and co-editor of a forthcoming second edition of Judicial Review by The Rt. Hon. The Lord Clyde and Denis Edwards.  I am the author of the leading text on administrative law in Hong Kong, published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press.  In addition, I am the author of the only text to have been written on the nobile officium (the extraordinary equitable jurisdiction of the supreme courts of Scotland), cited with approval in the supreme courts.  I am currently writing Administrative Law:  A Very Short Introduction as part of Oxford University Press’ VSI series.  I am also the lead editor of the forthcoming Stephen Thomson, Matthew Groves and Greg Weeks, Administrative Tribunals in the Common Law World (Hart Publishing).


  • LL.B. (Hons.) (First Class), University of Edinburgh
  • Erasmus Exchange Scholarship, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • LL.M. (Res.) (by Thesis), University of Edinburgh
  • Dip.L.P., University of Edinburgh
  • Ph.D., University of Edinburgh