On Monday, 23 May 2011, the Montesquieu Institute Maastricht hosted an international workshop on parliamentary immunities. Before the background of the ‘Wilders case’ in the Netherlands, the repeated efforts of Italian prime minister Berlusconi to evade justice through new immunity legislation and the recent scandals around expenses of members of the British Parliament, to name a few, the subject continues to be of interest not only to legal academics.
During the workshop, experts from the Netherlands, France and the UK discussed the systems of parliamentary immunity of their respective countries and beyond. The problems addressed included the compatibility of parliamentary immunity with the European Convention on Human Rights, the need for reform of the immunity system of the European Parliament and the question whether it would be desirable for the Netherlands to broaden the reach of parliamentary immunity to cover statements made outside parliament.
While controversy on all these points is likely to persist, the Montesquieu Institute Maastricht looks back on a very interesting and fruitful workshop.