A two-day international conference on Parliaments and Human Rights: Redressing the Democratic Deficit was held in London on the 17th and 18th of April 2012.

This conference was informed by a conference report of the same title (link here), which was intended to provide the necessary empirical findings to enable participants at the conference to take stock of the role that the UK Parliament already plays in relation to human rights and of the courts’ current approach to that role.

The purpose of the conference, however, was not merely to disseminate those findings, but to consider their practical implications and identify some concrete practical recommendations which flow from them, in keeping with the AHRC’s strategic priority of enhancing the impact of arts and humanities research on the development of public policy and public services.

The conference therefore brought together a wide range of practitioners and scholars with relevant expertise, from both the UK and abroad and from a range of professional and academic disciplines, to identify practical ways in which parliaments everywhere can play a more active role in the protection and realisation of human rights, and to consider how courts, in turn, could respond to such an enhanced role for parliaments. The aim was to connect current practice in parliaments and courts with relevant current debates in legal and political theory, in the conviction that the impact of academic research is greatest when practice is informed by theory and vice versa. Lord McNally - then UK Government Minister of State for Justice – gave the keynote speech (link here).

Edited versions of the conference papers can be found in our 2015 book (link here).