Articles

Backstage Performances of Parliamentary Scrutiny, or Coming Together in Parliamentary Committee Rooms

Authors
  • Kate Seear (La Trobe University)
  • Sean Mulcahy (La Trobe University)

Abstract

When new legislation comes before parliament, it is often referred to a scrutiny committee that undertakes detailed examination of the proposed law. The meetings of parliamentary scrutiny committees are often held behind closed doors and provide an opportunity for parliamentarians and their advisors to exchange views on the impacts of proposed laws, including their impacts on human rights. Responding to Lisa Samuels’ provocation “to take encounter as a work” and to research on law as performance, this paper examines these moments of encounter as legal performances. We argue that these meetings, comings-together and encounters do the work of (per)forming human rights assessments of legislation. We also question how the spaces of committee meetings, the absence of an outside audience, and the differing levels of knowledge on the part of parliamentary actors affect the performance of human rights scrutiny.

Keywords: law and performance, legal performance, human rights, parliament, space, audience

How to Cite:

Seear, K. & Mulcahy, S., (2023) “Backstage Performances of Parliamentary Scrutiny, or Coming Together in Parliamentary Committee Rooms”, Documenta 41(2): 10, 255-281. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/documenta.90038

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Published on
20 Dec 2023
Peer Reviewed