David Erdos (Oxford): An exciting conference on constitutional reform organized by Oxford University's Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS) is happening next Friday 4th (full-day) and Saturday 5th (half-day) July. The full programme can be found here. Timed to mark the twentieth anniversary of the signing of Charter88, the conference will explore the origins, philosophy, impact and legacy of this unique movement for democratic change. Key players from the Charter's history including Stuart Weir, Hilary Wainwright and Pam Giddy will be on hand to offer their personal reflections on the history and work of the Charter. They'll be joined by leading analysts from the world of academia including Professor Vernon Bogdanor from Oxford, Professor Patrick Dunleavy from LSE and Matt Flinders from Sheffield.
Alongside this analysis and reflection, the conference will also be about the future direction of the UK's constitutional set-up. As the Brown Government's Governance White Paper and the Conservative Party's flirtation with a British Bill of Rights indicates, the issues with which the Charter grappled are once more open to being influenced by informed debate. Leading Labour civil liberties lawyer, Baroness Helena Kennedy, will deliver the keynote address examining the lessons for reform from the experience of not only Charter 88 but also the Power Inquiry. More specifically, our themed panels will be discussing all the key issues on the democratic agenda today. In the wake of both Guantanamo Bay and the shock David Davis by-election, Professor David Fagelson of American University, Washington DC will be exploring contemporary threats to constitutionalism and civil liberties. In the democracy and levels of government panel, I will be exploring the relationship between constitutional reform and Europe - something which seems particularly pertinent in the wake of the stunning defeat of the Lisbon treaty in the Irish referendum earlier this month. Finally, Will Hutton, Chief Executive of the Work Foundation and author of the State We're In (1995) will be debating with OurKingdom's Anthony Barnett, a founder of Charter 88, the complex relationship between globalization and constitutional change.
We have a fantastic variety of participants linked-up bridging the traditional divides of academia, policy-making, pressure groups and the law. But to make the event the best it can be we need your participation as well. So do get in touch (david.erdos[at]csls.ox.ac.uk) and also check out our website including full booking information here. We look forward to you joining us for a great discussion next week!
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