UKCLA Conference 2023

10:30am - 5:30pm / Monday 11th September 2023 / Venue: Ground Floor Event space School of Law & Social Justice
Type: Conference / Category: Department
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UKCLA Conference 2023
Contemporary Challenges for Constitutional Accountability
University of Liverpool – 11th & 12th September 2023
The nature and effectiveness of the UK’s framework of constitutional accountability has been at the centre of many recent legal and political controversies.
We might see this, among other examples, in controversies concerning ministerial conduct and standards from ‘wallpapergate’ to ‘partygate’, in relation to the Brexit referendum and its aftermath, in ongoing debates about Scottish independence, in the process of governing without an Executive in Northern Ireland, in human rights law reform and attempts to process refugee claims in Rwanda, in the increasing recourse to statutory ouster clauses to limit or restrict judicial review, in concerns about the use of delegated legislation and the limits of parliamentary scrutiny, and potential challenges faced by the network of independent institutions tasked with enforcing constitutional norms and values in a democratic system.
While of course the policies and decisions taken by any government will inevitably invite controversy, the range of recent examples – and just as importantly, the political and legal responses to them – provide public lawyers with a timely opportunity to reflect on the contemporary features of accountability in the UK’s present-day constitution. In this period of enduring constitutional turbulence, an overarching assessment of the operation of the UK’s accountability practices and principles – both looking back and to the future – is increasingly necessary.
The UKCLA and the Liverpool Public Law Unit conference ‘Contemporary Challenges for Constitutional Accountability’ will explore these issues. Taking a broad approach to the idea of ‘accountability’, the conference will explore a range of issues including: what ‘accountability’ means and how it operates within the current constitutional landscape within or across the UK and its constituent nations; the relationship and tensions between legal and political modes of accountability; the effectiveness of existing processes for holding governments and public authorities to account; different critical and conceptual approaches to ‘constitutional accountability’; and the significance and effects of the interactions between parliamentary and extra-parliamentary actors in the context of constitutional accountability.
This event is kindly funded by the UKCLA and the School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool. A symposium of blog posts on this theme will follow the conference on the UKCLA blog.

Organisers: Dr Stephanie Reynolds and Professor Mike Gordon at and