University of Liverpool calls for contributions to Hillsborough Law symposium

University of Liverpool

Call for Participants: Contributors to a symposium on the proposed Hillsborough Law

Date: Wednesday 15 February 2017

Location: University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool seeks contributions for an event that will consider whether the proposed Hillsborough Law as drafted can meet the intended aims and how it can be improved. 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 to codify 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. The draft text of the bill and Explanatory Note are available here:

Participants will be invited to deliver short presentations outlining their contributions to topic-based working groups, followed by discussion and questions from the drafters of the proposed law and other participants. These will be broadly structured around the following thematic areas:

  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.

There will also be invited speakers and panel discussions around these themes. The potential for research impact is very strong. Participants may be asked to contribute directly to the draft bill before it is considered in Parliament.

To submit, please send an email to indicating:

- your name and institution

- the provisional title of your contribution with reference to the thematic area

- an abstract (up to 500 words) summarising your contribution

Selection will be based upon both the quality of the abstract and the relevance to the theme. The deadline for applications is Friday 28 October and decisions will be communicated by Monday 14 November.

Inquiries about the symposium may be directed to Jared Ficklin at

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