Dr Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne

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Prior to my appointment at Dundee Law School, I was teaching in the School of Law at Liverpool Hope University. My work traverses’ Comparative Constitutional Law (with a particular reference to South and Southeast Asia), Colonial Legal History and Law and Religion. My published work (mainly in the field of Buddhist legal studies and colonial legal history) is informed by contemporary debates in continental philosophy, Buddhist studies and the anthropology of ritual. I am currently working on a co-authored article on Buddhism and International Humanitarian Law and developing a body of research on Buddhist constitutionalism and the legal politics of reconciliation in Australia.

I completed my PhD in Law at the University of Kent in 1998, under the supervision of the late Professor Peter Fitzpatrick. I undertook my LLB at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) and completed by LLM at the University of London. My first academic post as Lecturer in Law was at the University of East London. In 2001 I took up a position at the Law School in Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. At Griffith Law School I convened courses in Property Law, Law and Anthropology and the Law and Practice of Native Title. In 2019 I joined the Law School at the University of Westminster and in 2023 was appointed to Dundee Law School. 


My discovery page gives details of my research outputs and profile.

My research is interdisciplinary – drawing on continental philosophy and the anthropology of ritual my work has sought to explore how the intellectual framing of British colonialism systematically transformed legal and religious categories in South Asia and increasingly in Southeast Asia as well. I continue to research the relation between modern religious essentialism in the region and the subsequent impact this has had on constitutional forms in the region. Having spent nearly 20 years working in Brisbane, my other area of research is the legal politics of the post-Mabo environment in Australia, which focuses on the racialised history of legal forms in Australia, as well as the politics of community that the post-Mabo era makes possible.    

I am currently working on Buddhism and International Humanitarian Law and engaged in a collaborative project on how Buddhism could inform contemporary reformist constitutional debates in Sri Lanka. Finally, I am currently working on a special journal issue that focuses on law, violence, and re-establishing community beyond the limits of liberal individualism.   

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I have taught a number of core (Land Law and Public Law) and elective subjects across a number of institutions in both the UK and Australia. Currently I am the course lead for Comparative Constitutional Law (which focuses on South and Southeast Asia and southern Africa) on the LLM and English Land Law on the LLB at Dundee Law School.

Postgraduate supervision: I am particularly interested in supervising PhD or Masters students who wish to explore:

  • the relationship between law and religion
  • comparative constitutional law (with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region)
  • law and the post-colonial condition in the global South
  • legal history
  • legal theory (particularly projects informed by contemporary continental philosophy)