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June 11, 2015

2015 ABA London Sessions, June 11-15

A Magna Carta for True Local Government: 800 Years of Lessons from the UK and the US will be presented in London on June 12, 2015.

The Section of State and Local Government Law’s program was one of 16 selected out of over 54 program submissions for this occasion.

Speakers and panelists for A Magna Carta for True Local Government: 800 Years of Lessons from the U.K. and U.S. will address the evolving nature, role, and scope of local government from the perspective of elected representatives, current and former municipal government officials and academic experts in urban planning law and policy from the U.K. and the U.S.

Panelists are conversant with and will discuss the practical aspects of local government autonomy, local democracy in real time, new localism and the rekindling of civic pride, municipal planning, the experience of elected mayors and a form of Presidentialism,  and lessons learned relative to local government power, autonomy and intergovernmental relationships over the past 800 years - on both sides of the pond, of course.

Panelists include the following:

(1) Councillor Marianne Overton MBE, Local Government Association Independent Group Leader and Vice Chair of the Local Government Association, will give a practical perspective of ‘lived’ local government in England, complementing the more theoretical angles on offer. She will look at local government’s journey since the barons assembled in Stamford, just 30 miles from her ward in Lincolnshire, and set off southwards to sign the Magna Carta. She will reflect on how far local government has come and what remains to be done. This will especially focus on local government autonomy and the possibility of codifying local democracy’s unique contribution to British politics.

(2) Peter Wynne Rees, Professor of Places and City Planning, The Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment, recent recipient of the prestigious College of Estate Management 2014 Property Award, served as City Planning Officer for 29 years and is credited with shaping London's skyline. Prof. Rees will address how successive British governments, regardless of political affiliation, have stigmatised the work of local authorities.  National politicians talk of handing more power and responsibility to the municipalities while simultaneously tightening their grip on funding.  “New Localism” is preached alongside micro-management by the UK Treasury.  Britain is a market-driven economy and the Cities have been reduced to mute targets for exploitation.  His theme will focus on the question “how can we rekindle Civic Pride?”

(3) Dr. Anton Cooray, former Law Department Chair, Hong Kong City University,  former chair of Hong Kong town planning board, and professor, City University United Kingdom, will address the experience of elected mayors and how that experience can be likened to a form of presidentialism; and

(4) Professor David Callies, FAICP, whose credentials include experience and training in English planning, having earned an LLM in planning law from Nottingham, serving two terms as a visiting fellow at Cambridge and authoring several articles and book chapters comparing US and British town planning law, serves on the faculty at the University of Hawaii School of Law, and will summarize the remarks and contributions of our London-based panelists. Professor Callies is past-Chair of the Section of State & Local Government Law and responsible for identifying and securing the participation of two of our distinguished speakers, Prof. Peter Rees and Prof. Anton Cooray.

The program moderator is Benjamin E. Griffith, principal in Griffith Law Firm of Oxford, Mississippi, past-Chair of the Section of State and Local Government Law, a member of the ABA House of Delegates and Chair of the Section’s International Committee.


Please click here for additional information on the 2015 ABA London Sessions.