Parliamentary Practices and the Challenges of the XXIst century in the English-speaking World and beyond

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
LISA e-journal

In parliamentary as in presidential regimes, whether based on formal texts or on customs and traditions, the work of representatives takes place in a specific framework whose legitimacy is accepted by the majority of politicians and the population. Establishing guidelines has been a long-standing concern, as illustrated by A Treatise upon the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament of Eskine May for Great Britain in 1844 or the Manual of parliamentary practice for the use of the Senate of the United States of Thomas Jefferson of 1801. However regulating practices represents a contemporary interest as well, as the number of seminars, reports and codes of conduct prove, from the Guide to parliamentary practice published by the UNESCO and the Interparliamentary Union[1], the Westminster seminar on parliamentary practices and procedures organized annually since the 1950s by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association[2] or the 2011 report of the European Parliament entitled Parliamentary Ethics. A Question of Trust[3].

The purpose of this issue of the LISA e-journal is to examine the practices of assemblies, the functioning of this microcosm and the activities of its representatives, as well as the functions and uses of parliamentary mandates. Articles will analyse the evolution of behaviours and the regulations and mechanisms of assemblies in the XXIst century.

Indeed recent years saw the questioning of established practices. The 2010 British General Elections jeopardized the traditional two-party system, two elections were held in seven months in Spain in 2019 due to the incapacity of the Congress to invest a president of the government, the Covid-19 sanitary crisis led to the establishment of virtual parliaments, the debates on Brexit disrupted the usual British parliamentary habits (unconstitutionality of the Prime minister’s suspension of Parliament, controversial role of the Speaker...) and the 2019 American shutdown over the vote of the budget was the longest in American history. Moreover some abusive practices were revealed: scandals related to lobbying (Jack Abramoff in the United States in 2005), to the salary of parliamentary assistants (in France and in the European Parliament) and to the expenses of representatives (Great Britain, 2009).

Moreover since the end of the XXth century, the emergence of 24h news media and Internet and social media have created both a demand for greater transparency among citizens and the necessity to adapt to new means of communication and media for institutions. Since 2008, the Interparliamentary Union has published world reports on e-parliament, which focus on how assemblies have integrated these new tools of information and communication[4]. In 2010 the Spanish Senate launched a project of digital transformation which requires the « permanent remodelling of procedures, organisation and culture of the institution »[5]. Within nations public opinion and the media have asked for greater transparency and high standards. Parliamentary committee inquiries have become the subject of intense media scrutiny and Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations have multiplied; more than 200 groups in over 80 countries play a key role in checking parliamentary power and supporting reforms (Regardscitoyens in France, The Public Wip in the UK, Abgeordnetenwatch in Germany, Open Australia in Australia, Public Citizen - Congress Watch in the US)[6].

The turn of the XXIst century constitutes a perfect opportunity to assess and question parliamentary practices all over the world and to wonder about the need for reform and modernisation.

Articles may explore one specific English-speaking sphere, as well as devolved institutions and world organizations, but comparative approaches, in particular European ones, are welcome.

Contributions should not exceed 10,000 words in length and should be sent together with a short biography of the author (max. 200 words) and an abstract (max. 300 words). Please follow the norms for presentation indicated on the LISA e-journal website

Please send your proposals (maximum one A4 page) together with a short biography to Karine Rivière-De Franco ( by 1st November 2020 (the deadline for completed articles is 1st June 2021).

[1] A Guide to Parliamentary Practice, Inter-Parliamentary Union, 1997, <>.

[2] Annual parliamentary seminar on parliamentary practice and procedures, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, <>.

[3] Parliamentary Ethics A Question of Trust, EU Parliament, <>.

[4] <>, 2016, p. 3.

[5] <>.

[6] Strengthening Parliamentary Accountability, Citizen Engagement and Access to Information: A Global Survey of Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations, National Democratic Institute, World Bank Institute, 2011, <>.