Jacob Rowbottom

Jacob Rowbottom

Stowell Tutorial Fellow in Law; Professor of Law

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I give tutorials in two compulsory subjects, Constitutional Law and Administrative Law. Both of these subjects look at the way the law regulates the state and public bodies. In Constitutional Law, we examine the relationship between Parliament, the courts and the executive, how power is separated between them and consider what role the courts should play in protecting fundamental rights. Administrative Law focuses on the role of judicial review, asking when a decision of an executive body can be challenged in court.

I also teach the Media Law optional subject, which is a fast-growing area of law looking at subjects ranging from privacy, defamation, censorship and the regulation of digital communications. In each topic, we look at the impact of the various laws on media freedom and on the ability of the media to hold government and other powerful bodies to account.


My research primarily looks at issues of freedom of speech, media freedom and political participation. I am particularly interested in the role that expression rights play in a well-functioning democracy and the limits of those rights. Common questions in this area include whether the right to speak entails the right to offend, spend large amounts of money on advertising, and access particular forums. In my published work, I discuss these issues in relation to a number of areas including the way that elections are financed, the right to protest, the regulation of social media and government communications.

Selected Publications

‘Corruption, Transparency and Reputation: The Role of Publicity in Regulating Political Donations’ (2016) 75 Cambridge Law Journal398

‘Government Speech and Public Opinion: Democracy by the Bootstraps’ (2016) 25 The Journal of Political Philosophy 22

‘In the Shadow of Big Media: Freedom of Expression, Participation and the Production of Knowledge Online ‘ [2014] Public Law 491

‘To Rant, Vent and Converse: Protecting Low Level Digital Speech ‘ (2012) 71 Cambridge Law Journal 355

Lies, Manipulation and Elections: Controlling False Campaign Statements’ (2012) 32 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 507

Democracy Distorted (Cambridge University Press 2010)

‘Media Freedom and Political Debate in the Digital Era’ (2006) Modern Law Review 489

‘Political Donations and the Democratic Process: Rationales for Reform’ [2002] Public Law 758

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