On October 16 2015, Dr Aileen Kavanagh organised a one-day workshop at St John’s College entitled ‘Protecting Rights – Engaging Parliament’. The aim of the workshop was to draw together a select group of academics, judges, parliamentarians and parliamentary officials, to explore the ways in which Parliament engages with rights, but also the ways in which other institutions (such as the courts) engage and interact with Parliament when striving to protect rights. The programme included a range of distinguished speakers including the former Attorney General The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP and former Director of Prosecutions Lord Macdonald of River Glaven QC and Warden of Wadham College Oxford. From the judiciary, Lord Justice Sales spoke on the courts’ role in managing the integration of rights and democracy, whilst Lord Justice Bean spoke about his role as Chair of the Law Commission. There was a distinguished panel on the role of parliamentary committees which included the Legal Advisor to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (Murray Hunt), a former and current Legal Advisor to the Constitution Committee (Professors Rick Rawlings and Stephen Tierney respectively). Baroness Helena Kennedy QC and Head of Mansfield College spoke about her role on the European Union Select Committee.
These perspectives from the legislative and judicial branches of government were interspersed with academic contributions from the UK, Canada and Australia including Professors Janet Hiebert, Robert Leckey, George Williams and Jeff King. The event was generously funded by the British Academy, as part of the funding for Aileen Kavanagh’s research project called ‘Rights and the Collaborative Constitution’. At the workshop, Aileen Kavanagh presented some of the research she has undertaken during her British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship which she held during 2015-16.