Established: 2005    Number of members: 541

Legislative Studies is an important and growing subfield in political research. Although scholars may argue about their role, significance and importance it is almost impossible to study any political system without reference to its parliament. Within parliamentary systems the legislature serves as the link between citizens and the executive – within presidential systems the legislative branch is seen frequently as a balance against executive power.

For a number of years the study of legislatures has concentrated on the US Congress. Parliaments in Europe have not been a subject of investigation to any comparable extent. Nevertheless, the body of knowledge is ever expanding on both the long-standing parliaments in Europe and the new institutions of the European Union and Central and Eastern Europe.

The group mainly studies questions related to:

  • Assembly institutionalisation – the development of organisational patterns, rules and procedures
  • Assembly capacity – the formal powers and resources of parliaments
  • Assembly operation – the dynamics of the party system and legislative-executive balance

Members of the steering committee

  • Maria Thürk (University of Basel, Chair)
  • Flemming Juul Christiansen (University of Roskilde, Co-chair and newsletter editor)
  • David Willumsen (University of Innsbruck, Conference chair and secretary)
  • Olivier Rozenberg (Science Po Paris, Treasurer)
  • Zsófia Papp (Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre of Excellence, Summer school officer)

Aims and objectives

The Standing Group’s aim is to promote comparative research and theory-building on the institutionalisation, capacity, operation, and performance of legislatures and the dissemination of such research. The Standing Group is both the starting point for those interested in studying legislatures and the meeting point for existing scholars in the field.

The Standing Group on Parliaments brings together scholars dedicated to the study of legislatures, including but not limited to parliaments and congresses, across the world.

The Standing Group aims to:

  1. Contribute to the development of the comparative study of legislatures, including but not limited to parliaments and congresses, across the world;
  2. Establish, develop and maintain an international network of researchers in the field of legislative studies;
  3. Work with other organizations dedicated to the scholarly study of legislatures;
  4. Develop links between experienced academics and junior scholars working in the field of legislative studies;
  5. As appropriate develop specialized courses for PhD students and early-career researchers whose research and thesis fall within the field of legislative studies;
  6. Organize regular events for the international legislative studies community such as, conference panels, workshops, summer schools and specialized conferences;
  7. Articulate its members’ views vis-à-vis ECPR central bodies and the wider academic community.


The Standing Group on Parliaments is part of the ECPR and governed by the Framework for Standing Groups. In accordance with the Framework the Standing Group has adopted a single bye-law:

‘The Steering Committee of the Standing Group on Parliaments comprises of five members’

How to join the Standing Group

If you would like to join the Standing Group on Parliaments, you will need to create a myECPR account at This only takes a few minutes, and you need not be from an ECPR member institution to do so. Then, click on the following link, and select ‘Join Standing Group’.

If you are from an ECPR member institution your membership to the standing group is accepted automatically. If you are from a non-member institution we will need to accept your application to join, so your membership status will be ‘pending’ until we accept you.

Please note that you need to renew your membership every two years. We will remind members to do so when necessary.