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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Benjamin Yong

Yong, Ben, Davies, Greg & Leston‐Bandeira, Cristina (2019). Tacticians, Stewards, and Professionals: The Politics of Publishing Select Committee Legal Advice. Journal of Law and Society 46(3): 367-395.

Author(s) from Durham


At Westminster, there are increasing pressures on select committees to publish in‐house legal advice. We suggest that examining the process of deciding to publish provides useful insights into the provision, reception, and use of legal advice, and the dynamics of select committees generally. We argue that the autonomy of select committees to decide what use they make of evidence and advice they receive is, in practice, constrained by the intra‐institutional dynamics and practices of select committees. Committee actors – parliamentarians, clerks, and parliamentary lawyers – each have overlapping, sometimes competing, roles. Most of the time, these roles and the responsibilities they encompass coincide, but the prospect of publication reveals clear tensions between the different actors. This is the politics of publication: the tactical approach of politicians is in tension with the stewardship of clerks and the professional norms of parliamentary lawyers. We suggest this tension will only increase in the near future.