Crowdsourcing: new ways of engaging the public in legislation

In most of the democratic world enacting legislation is the sole preserve of elected parliaments working together with governments. Over the last decades, spurred on by the arrival and mass use of new technologies, the self-evidence of indirect participation by way of elected representatives as the common route for public engagement in enacting legislation is being questioned more and more. Especially the huge volumes of legislation that have a very week democratic pedigree – like delegated legislation or regulation enacted by non-elected, administrative of governmental bodies – have been criticized for their weak political legitimacy.

Governments and administrations, grappling with legitimacy problems of legislation (resulting in poor performance, high costs and low compliance rates), of late have tried to come up with solutions. One interesting trend is the move towards innovative ways of crowdsourcing. Electronic and wide public consultation, citizen’s initiatives, engaging the public in a Wiki to actually engage in the drafting of an act (see annex 2), like in Iceland and New Zealand.

The conference will look into US and European practices of crowdsourcing and try to assess whether indeed crowdsourcing helps improving the overall legitimacy and performance of legislation be it parliamentary enacted legislation or statutory instruments


Click here for the the preliminary programme Preliminary program (to IAL webpage)