Dr Derek O'Brien

Reader in Law

School of Law and Social Sciences

Derek O'Brien


Dr Derek O’Brien studied English and Philosophy at Leeds University before converting to law by studying for the Common Professional Examination and Solicitors Finals Examination at the College of Law. He qualified as a solicitor in 1985 and worked for a number of years as a solicitor in private practice before taking up a lecturing position at the University of Westminster in 1992. After a sabbatical at the Cayman Islands Law School he joined the Law Department at Oxford Brookes in 2002. His main research area is the constitutional law of the Commonwealth Caribbean and the constitutional implication of economic integration within this region. In addition he is interested in the operation of legal systems within small jurisdictions and is one of the founding members of the small jurisdictions project at Oxford Brookes.

Teaching and supervision

Modules taught

  • Public Law


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Professional information


  • September 2014 ‘Commonwealth Caribbean Parliaments: the Least Dangerous and Weakest Branch of Government?’ at Beyond Westminster in the Caribbean: Critiques, Challenges and Reform, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. Conference organised by the Institute for the Student of the Americas, (University College London), in Kingston, Jamaica.
  • June 2014 ‘Magna Carta, the Sugar Colonies and Fantasies of Empire’ at Influence of Magna Carta Workshop, School of Public Policy, University College London
  • November 2012, Confederation in Small Jurisdictions. Paper presented at Jersey and Guernsey Law Annual Law Review, St Peter’s Port, Guernsey.
  • August 2012, ‘Post-independence Constitutional Reform in the Commonwealth Caribbean.’ Paper presented to the 50/50 Conference at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.
  • December 2010, ‘Constitutional Implications of Regional Integration in the Commonwealth Caribbean.’ Paper presented at VIth Annual Conference of the International Association of  Constitutional Lawyers, Mexico City.
  • July 2010, ‘The Head of State in the contemporary Commonwealth Caribbean.’ Paper presented at the 2010 WG Hart Legal Workshop at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London.
  • March 2010, ‘Regional Integration within CARICOM and the role of the Caribbean Court of Justice.’ Paper presented to the Irish Society of Comparative Law at its annual conference at the University of Limerick.