Hillsborough Law Symposium

Invitation to a symposium on the proposed Hillsborough Law

Date: Wednesday 15 February 2017, Public sessions 10-12; 4-5

Location: University of Liverpool, Foresight Centre, Hub Lounge

The University of Liverpool will hold a symposium to discuss the proposed Hillsborough Law on 15 February 2017. Part of the symposium will take place in public, and everyone is invited to attend the opening and closing sessions where speakers will set out the challenges of transparency and accountability in large, defensive institutions such as the police or NHS. After the opening statements, invitees and contributors will meet in closed workshops to debate particular aspects of the proposed legislation. The workshop groups will return at 4 to briefly summarise their discussions and to make proposals for the future of the Bill.

Please register to attend the free public sessions. If you would like to be involved in a closed workshop, please contact jared.ficklin@liverpool.ac.uk to discuss your interest.

The event will be followed by the Eleanor Rathbone Lecture delivered by Professor Phil Scraton 'Hillsborough: Resisting Injustice, Recovering Truth' which will take place at 5pm on Wednesday February 15, 2017.

The Hillsborough Law is intended tocodify and strengthen existing duties on public institutions to behave in the public interest and with transparency and candour. It is also intended to protect whistleblowers and to prevent the institutional defensiveness that allowed the truth about what happened at Hillsborough in 1989 to be concealed and deflected for 27 years. Draft text of the bill and Explanatory Note.

Speaker and workshop topics include:

1. Do the duties in clauses 1-2 adequately meet the aims of the proposed law (as set out in the Explanatory Note)?

2. Have the 'duty of candour' provisions in Regulation 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and Appendix 5 of the NHS Standard Contract had a positive effect in combatting 'institutional defensiveness'?

 3. Are there international examples of statutory, regulatory or policy regimes that effectively reduce institutional defensiveness and improve transparency, candour and frankness by public bodies?  What can be learnt from these regimes for the UK context?

 4. What essential features must 'Codes of Ethics’ (clause 9) have in both content and implementation in order to help change the culture of defensiveness in public-facing bodies?

 5. How might the proposed law be improved to more effectively achieve the aims of transparency and candour by public servants as set out in the Explanatory Note?

6. Contributions that do not fall into the above categories from specialists in accountability of public bodies, Freedom of Information, whistleblowers, international comparative law, and public law generally are welcomed.