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Workshop to be held 23-24 July 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

The reputation, effectiveness and reform of legislative and scrutiny committees are increasingly becoming the subjects of prominent public and political debates. For example, in the US, the operation of congressional committees have been called into question by increasing party discipline and political polarisation, while, in the UK, select committees – especially in light of the 2010 Wright Reforms – are often hailed as ‘Parliament at its best’ and as being central to increasing the power of Parliament vis-à-vis the Government. Following on from developments such as these, academic attention is also being (re)turned towards committees; yet, of course, the role and scope of these institutions in legislatures and the policy making process differ widely around the world.

In light of this diversity, the purposes of the workshop are to bring together legislative studies scholars and others from around the world in order to: (1) analyse the role, influence and effectiveness of committees in different polities and political systems; and (2) begin to think about how to develop new, and extend existing, comparative research strategies in this area.

Paper proposals are welcomed from scholars who focus on particular types of committee in particular countries/legislatures, as well as those who research across geographical and institutional boundaries. There is a limited number of places available at the workshop but it is expected that there will be a broad geographical spread of research interests among participants.

Papers by all attendees will be circulated beforehand and then discussed in detail in dedicated sessions for each paper over the first one-and-a-half days of the workshop. The last half day will be spent discussing potential avenues for collaborative comparative analysis of committees and the possibility of future grant applications.

Thanks to generous funding received from the Birmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement and Education (BRIDGE), attendance at the workshop – including all accommodation costs and refreshments – will be free. Some funding may also available for travel expenses, depending on the number of applications and locations of applicants. Applicants will be informed of available travel subsidies in advance.

If you are interested in attending the workshop, please send a 250 word abstract to by February 28th 2018. Applicants will be notified of their success or otherwise by mid-March 2018.

The workshop is being organised by: