Questions of Accountability: Prerogatives, Power and Politics  

The Covid-19 crisis has created major challenges for governments, organisations and communities all over the world. This is reflected in increasing concerns regarding ‘democratic backsliding’ and the emergence of increasingly ‘il-liberal democracies’. The use of emergency powers, limits on individual rights and restrictions on public gatherings have all in their own ways created ‘new’ questions of accountability which very often exist alongside or augment longstanding ‘old’ concerns regarding the accountability and control of politicians and public servants. The emergence of populist pressures and anti-political sentiments had in recent years already added distinctive dimensions and democratic dilemmas to the notion of accountable governance, and Covid-19 has exacerbated these concerns. The time has now come to subject those ‘questions of accountability’ to open debate and honest reflection in the hope of identifying fresh perspectives and possibly even new solutions.   

In line with an emphasis on innovation, this is not a traditional conference: it is an online exhibition of presentations and papers that engage with different questions of accountability from a range of perspectives. With an emphasis on diversity, inclusion and equality this is an open event with no fees or conference charges. A thematic catalogue of papers and presentations will be made available on-line for five weeks, with a core event on the 3rd November showcasing keynote speakers from all over the world. The exhibition will be hosted online by the University of Worcester and convened by Professor Matthew Flinders (University of Sheffield) and Chris Monaghan (University of Worcester).

There are five prizes available for best paper (in separate categories): 

  • Routledge Prize for Best Paper – Overall (£100 in books)
  • Routledge Prize for Best Paper - Post-Graduate Student (£50 in books)
  • Routledge Prize for Best Paper - Early Career Researcher (five years post-PhD) (£50 in books)
  • Routledge Prize for Best Paper - Contribution to Theory (£50 in books)
  • Routledge Prize for Best Paper - Innovative Approach (£50 in books)

The Exhibition of Papers runs from Monday 1st November to Friday 5th November 2021. The exhibition and the recording of the keynote speakers will be available to view for four weeks following the formal close of the exhibition. 

Keynote events        


Keynote Lecture on 1st November at 3pm. 

“Impeachment and Disqualification around the World: the Dynamics of Political Escalation.” This will be delivered by Professor Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago), with a response by Professor Aníbal Pérez-Liñán (University of Notre Dame).

Keynote Event on 3rd November 2021

  1.  Welcome Address - Lord David Edmond Neuberger
  2. ‘Has Brexit Shattered the Westminster System Beyond Repair - and, if so, what Next?’ - Professor Bruce Ackerman, Yale University
  3.  ‘Accountability Expectations in a Changing World’ - Lord Blunkett, former UK Home Secretary
  4.  ‘Accountability and the Constitution’ - Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King’s College London
  5. ‘Executive Powers, Fuzzy Law and the Problem of Accountability’ - Professor Margit Cohn, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  6. The title of her keynote is: ‘A Collaborative Approach to Constitutional Accountability’ - Dr Se-shauna Wheatle, Durham Law School

  7. ‘Accountability, Democracy and Demagogues’ - Professor John Keane, University of Sydney
  8. ‘Accountable Intelligence and Charitable Scrutiny’ - Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, Chair of the Wellcome Trust
  9. ‘Parliamentary Accountability: are the exceptions eroding the rules?’ - Dr Hannah White, Deputy Director, Institute for Government

The keynote event will take place between 9.30-12.30 and then will resume at 14.00-17.00.


Expert Panel Discussions

In addition to the keynote event there will be three panel discussions taking place on 2nd and 4th November 2021.


Judicial Review and Accountability, 2nd November 2021 1pm-3pm

Chaired by David Lock QC (Landmark Chambers), speakers include Baroness Hale of Richmond (former President of the UK Supreme Court), Baroness Kennedy QC (member of the UK House of Lords), Professor Conor Gearty (LSE), Lord Blunkett (former UK Home Secretary). 

Front-end constitutional guardians: roles, influence, and importance (University of Sheffield) 4th November 2021, 10.00am -12.00 noon.

Convened by Dr Brian Christopher Jones (School of Law, University of Sheffield) this expert panel features:

Elizabeth Gardiner (First Parliamentary Counsel), Liam Laurence Smyth (Clerk of Legislation, Public Bill Office), Jack Simson Caird (Counsel, Justice Committee) and Joanna Dawson (Commons Library). 

US Presidential Accountability: The problems and use of impeachment, 4th November 2021 3pm-5pm

Chaired by Professor Richard Albert (University of Texas), speakers include Professor Frank Bowman (University of Missouri), Karen Popp (former Associate White House Counsel), Chris Monaghan (University of Worcester) and Joshua Matz (counsel for the impeachment and trial of President Trump).

Other Events


Welcome to the Exhibition, 1st November 2021, 9.30-10.00am

This session is intended to welcome delegates to the Questions of Accountability: Prerogatives, Power and Politics exhibition. Delegates will be welcomed to the University of Worcester by Professor Sarah Greer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost. 

'PSA Parliaments Specialist Group Presents: Parliamentary Committees and Accountability' Tuesday 2nd November 2021 10am -12.00 noon.

The Political Studies Association Specialist Group on Parliaments invite you to attend an event featuring three academic papers on the theme of Parliamentary Committees and Accountability that will be followed by a Q&A session. 

  • Deliberative Accountability in Parliamentary Committees by Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey (LSE)
  • Accountability in Public Committee Hearings: Who speaks, who interrupts, who equivocates? by Marc Geddes (Edinburgh)
  • Do Select Committee Membership Patterns Affect Accountability? by Stephen Holden Bates (Birmingham), Caroline Bhattacharya (Helsinki) and Stephen McKay (Lincoln)

Publishing with Routledge, 4th November 2021, 1-2pm.

A 'How to Publish’  session with Alison Kirk, Senior Commissioning Editor, Routledge. The purpose of this presentation is to explain the book publishing process from approaching a publisher and preparing a book proposal through the various steps to publication. It will also provide advice and tips for converting a PhD thesis for book publication and may therefore be particularly useful for early career academics. 

To discuss individual projects, Alison can be contacted at


Exhibition Organisers

The exhibition is a collaboration between the University of Worcester and the University of Sheffield. It is kindly supported by the Political Studies Association, the UK Constitutional Law Association and Routledge.

The organisers are:

Professor Matthew Flinders, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield Email:  Twitter: @PoliticalSpike

Chris Monaghan, School of Law, University of Worcester Email: Twitter: @Chris_JMonaghan

For information on For information on 'Questions of Accountability: Prerogatives, Power and Politics' registrationthe call for papers, the format of the exhibitionaccessing the exhibitionpublications arising from the exhibition, Invited Speakers, Q&A and the Conference Organisation Team please see our relevant webpages.     


Twitter:  #Qofaccountability2021 


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