Legal implications of Britains wars explored in research seminar

A prominent legal expert will lead a free public research seminar on the legal implications of decisions to use British military force abroad on Thursday 23 March.

Professor Peter Rowe will discuss the possibility of holding MPs accountable for any decision to use military force during the research seminar in the University's Law School.

In British constitutional practice, the decision to use armed force outside the UK was made by the Prime Minister on the basis of the Royal Prerogative.

On 18 March 2003, in a break with this tradition, the Labour Prime Minister (Mr Blair), proposed a motion to the House of Commons seeking its support for the proposed military action against Iraq.

This procedure was followed for military action affecting Libya (2011); Syria (2013); Iraq (2014); Syria (2015) and has developed into a Parliamentary convention.

Professor Rowe, from Lancaster University, will explore four main issues in the seminar. First, can international law, prohibiting the use of force by States, survive translation into practice? Secondly, who makes the decision to use force? Thirdly, if MPs are given a vote on the use of force, how important is the legal justification for it? Fourthly, are MPs accountable? Finally, some conclusions will be drawn from the British experience since 2000.

The seminar, ‘The Accountability of Members of Parliament for the Decision to Use Armed Force outside the UK’, is free and open to all and will be held in the Leicester Law School at the University of Leicester, Jan Grodecki Room (FJ164) on Thursday 23 March 2017 between 3:00pm and 5:00pm.