A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (May 2017-July 2017)
Bowden, James W.J. “Reforming prorogation.” The Dorchester Review, 7 (1): 64-8, Spring/Summer 2017.
The House of Commons has no authority to regulate prorogation. Proposed amendments to the Standing Orders would either be ineffectual or unconstitutional as a means of regulating the Prime Minister’s prerogative over prorogation.
Hazell, Robert. “Pre-appointment scrutiny hearings: parliament’s bark delivers a stronger bite than MPs realise.” The Constitution Unit Blog, 3p, July 20, 2017.
For the past decade House of Commons select committees have held pre-appointment scrutiny hearings with preferred candidates for some of the most senior public appointments. Many select committee chairs and members consider these to be a waste of time because there is no power of veto. However, new research suggests that they have much more influence than committees realise.
Ihimaera-Smiler, Jessica. “Members’s bills.” New Zealand Parliamentary Library, 2017/01, 15p, February 2017.
This paper contains a description of members’ bills, their purpose, and the process by which they are created and pass through Parliament. It examines the number of members’ bills passed since 1984 and also looks at other ways in which members’ bills can have an impact on legislation, such as through adoption by the Government.
Klinck, Jennifer. “Modernizing judicial review of prerogative powers.” Alberta Law Review 54 (4): 997-1037, 2017.
Despite judicial pronouncements that the source of government power, whether statutory or prerogative, should not affect judicial review, Canadian courts respond much more tentatively when asked to review exercises of prerogative powers than exercises of statutory powers. This article proposes that courts reform judicial review of the exercise of prerogative powers.
Ling, Justin. “Is there a duty to consult in the legislative process?” National Magazine Blog, 3p, May 25, 2017.
…what if Parliament were required to consult Indigenous peoples on legislation it plans on adopting?
McCormick, John (Chair). “Report on Scottish Parliament – Your Parliament, your voice.” Commission on Parliamentary Reform, 106p, 20 June 2017.
The report’s recommendations are aimed at increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the Scottish Parliament as a single chamber, elected body keeping faith with its founding principles. Taken together they reinforce the crucial role of the committees and the chamber in scrutinising legislation and holding government to account and seek to improve the participation of people across the country.
Moore, Christopher. “A very, very modest proposal [book review]: Can a microscopically small-ball approach accomplish political reform?” Literary Review of Canada 25 (5): 11-12, June 2017.
Review of Turning Parliament Inside Out: Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada’s Democracy and The Unbroken Machine: Canada’s Democracy in Action. The MPs writing in Turning Parliament Inside Out mostly accept it would be impossible, even illegal, for them to do what is needed: wield control over their parliamentary leaders.
Purser, Pleasance. “Overseas Parliamentary News – May 2017.” New Zealand Parliamentary Library, 6p.
New South Wales – Former office space has been converted into a parents’ room for members and staff. The room, which cost $15,000 to fit out, is equipped with cots, change tables, armchairs for breastfeeding, a TV and toys. Currently three women MPs have children under one year old. The Speaker said the room might be a small step for more women coming into Parliament.
Strickland, Pat, Joanna Dawson and Samantha Godec. “The Wilson Doctrine.” UK House of Commons Library, 4258, 18p, June 12, 2017.
The Wilson Doctrine is a convention that UK MPs’ communications should not be intercepted by the intelligence services. There have been a number of controversies concerning the doctrine in recent years. The most recent one centres on the Snowden leaks concerning the way in which GCHQ has been collecting metadata – the ‘who, when, where and how’ of a communication.