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Dr Olcay is on research leave in Spring 2024.

Dr Tarik Olcay is a constitutional lawyer working primarily on constitutional change from doctrinal, theoretical, comparative, and empirical perspectives.

Dr Olcay has a multi-disciplinary background with degrees in law, political science, and economics. He specialises in constitutional law and legal theory, and his main research interests lie in comparative constitutional law, constitutional theory, natural law theories, and law and technology. His research to date has been funded by institutions including the British Academy (BA), AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the US National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Scottish Council on Global Affairs (SCGA). His PhD, completed in 2018 at the University of Glasgow, studied the justifications of constitutional unamendability from comparative and theoretical perspectives.

He has advised governments, national and international NGOs, and individuals on matters of constitution-making, constitutional reform, and human rights law. He is regularly invited to give seminars and talks in the fields of constitutional theory and constitutional change, and acts as peer-reviewer for leading academic journals in law and political science. His work has been cited favourably by, among others, the Constitutional Court of Slovenia and the Supreme Court of Kenya.

Dr Olcay convenes the Law Reading Group in the Law School and is the University’s constituency representative with the Society of Legal Scholars. He also manages the School’s social media channels.

Dr Olcay is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). He currently serves as an External Examiner at the School of Law, University of Strathclyde, and a reviewer for the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) and Scottish Universities Insight Institute (SUII). He is also a member of the Constitutional Law and Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of Scotland.


Dr Olcay's research spans the areas of comparative constitutional law and constitutional theory. His current research mainly focusses on constitutional change and seeks to find viable justifications for limiting the power to amend a constitution.

He is currently working on three research projects:

  • evaluative constitutionalism
  • reconciling peace-making and the rule of law in constitutional reform
  • the use of artificial intelligence in constitution-making processes.

His work has been published in leading academic journals including the International Journal of Constitutional Law, European Constitutional Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, Cambridge Law Journal and Public Law and in edited collections published by Cambridge University Press, Routledge, and Springer. A number of his research outputs have been translated into Polish and Spanish.

Most of his published and forthcoming research is available on SSRN and Google Scholar.

Research Interests

  • constitutionalism and constitutional change
  • constitutional unamendability
  • natural law theories
  • constitutionalism and artificial intelligence
  • judicial independence
  • Turkish constitutional law

Dr Olcay currently supervises PhD students and welcomes informal enquiries from prospective research students interested in public law or legal theory.

Research Grants

  • British Academy (BA), ECR Network Seed Fund Grant (2023) (£2,150)
  • Scottish Council on Global Affairs (SCGA), Insight Award (2022 – 2023) (£1,226)
  • AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), Pump-priming Fund Competition (2019 – 2020) (£9,325)
  • Research Development Fund Competition, Aston University (2019) (£400)
  • European Junior Faculty Forum for Public Law and Jurisprudence Grant (2019) (€500)
  • University of Edinburgh, Political Settlements Research Programme Seed Funding (2018) (joint) (£1,000)
  • US National Science Foundation (NSF) Conference Grant (2009) ($809)
View full research profile and publications


Dr Olcay teaches UK constitutional and administrative law to first-year law students, and comparative constitutional law to Honours-level law students, as well as supervising undergraduate and postgraduate law dissertations.

He co-authored a legal pedagogy article on the use of multiple-choice questionnaire exams in Law.

Modules Dr Olcay currently teaches are

  • LW11012 Public Law I – Sources of Power (Module Leader)
  • LW21015 Public Law I – Sources of Power (Advanced) (Module Leader)
  • LW12012 Public Law II – Controls on Power
  • LW22014 Public Law II – Controls on Power (Advanced)
  • LW32035 Comparative Constitutional Law (Module Leader)
  • LW42032 Comparative Constitutional Law (Advanced) (Module Leader).

Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

Dr Olcay’s research centres on constitutional reform. His focus to date has included constitutional reforms in Colombia, India, Scotland, Syria, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine. Dr Olcay has advised governments and NGOs on constitutional reform and human rights law, and he regularly engages with national and international media.

Contact Corporate Communications for media enquiries.

Areas of expertise

  • Brexit
  • Human rights
  • Politics
  • Scotland
  • Scottish independence referendum