The push and pull of fairness: theoretical approaches to fairness in international law

2023 ESIL Annual Conference

Interest Group on International Legal Theory and Philosophy

Call for Papers

Fairness is both a catalyst for change (the push) and a necessary condition for a just and stable international legal order (the pull). From a political perspective, the former poses a set of questions related to redistribution of resources and opportunities among States. From a legal perspective, the inquiry is narrower. It pertains to substantive and procedural aspects of international law that push towards compliance through the authority of normative prescriptions. Some argue this narrower inquiry is tainted because international law is associated with unfairness of the past that created it, and presently creates unfairness. Others consider that a thorough discourse on fairness necessitates looking at the content of contemporary international law to appraise it afresh on compliance or lack of compliance. If we all aspire to fairness in international law and hope to re-imagine it for the 21st century, what are the criteria and parameters for determining fairness?

The ESIL Interest Group on International Legal Theory and Philosophy (IGILTP) aims to explore different theoretical approaches to fairness in international law to create space for re-imagining fairness fitting for the 21st century. The following key questions need to be addressed: what is fairness; whether international law can be fair; and what criteria should be used to determine the fairness of international law. A thorough theoretical starting point enables us to determine the differing perspectives on what the international legal order stands for and how/whether fairness manifests or should manifest. Notwithstanding the proliferation of theoretical debates, to date there has not been a systematic appraisal of fairness in different theories of international law addressing these key questions. Hence, this would be a novel contribution to the field anchoring discussions in a normative and theoretical context with a common goal of achieving fairness in international law.

The IGILTP invites abstracts for an Agora Panel Proposal to be submitted to the 2023 ESIL Annual Conference on “Is International Law Fair?” to be held 1–3 September 2023 in Aix- en-Provence, France. We invite abstracts for papers addressing the following questions through the prism of a chosen theoretical approach:

  1. Is there a problem of unfairness in international law as law as opposed to a political problem?
  2. Reflecting on the connection between fairness and justice, why should international law not only be valid and binding but also just?
  3. What are the criteria to determine whether international law is fair or not?

Theoretical approaches may include but are not restricted to:

  • Marxism
  • Liberalism
  • The New Haven School
  • Geneva and Chicago Schools on economic law
  • The Helsinki School
  • Global ethics
  • Legal pluralism
  • Critical Legal Theory
  • Feminism
  • TWAIL
  • Constitutionalism and global governance

Submission procedure

  • Abstracts no longer than 500 words together with a short author bio (no longer than 250 words containing name, affiliation, email and phone contact details, whether they are an ESIL member, and relevant publications) should be submitted by 12pm (CEST) 23 January 2023 to all three email accounts: ulgeno [at] hotmail.co.ukandrea.carcano [at] unimore.itkevcrow [at] mit.edu. No late submissions will be considered.
  • Abstracts will be selected on the basis of their alignment with the panel description and objectives above, as well as their contribution to the field from a particular theoretical perspective. Successful applicants will be notified no later than 14 April 2023.
  • An IGILTP sub-committee will review abstracts and finalise the proposed format, which is likely to consist of a panel of 3 papers. Selected abstracts will be included in the IGILTP Agora Panel Proposal and sent to the 2023 ESIL Conference Organisers by 31 January 2023 for their consideration. If the proposal is successful, draft papers (5,000-8,000 words) will need to be submitted by 1 August 2023 to all three email accounts above. If the proposal is unsuccessful, IGILTP will organise an autonomous interest group workshop. Draft papers will be put forward for consideration for publication in an edited book authored by the sub-committee members. The ESIL IGILTP Co-ordinating Committee

A PDF of the call for papers is available here.

Call for Papers: Annual Workshop on the Vienna School of Jurisprudence and the Pure Theory of Law, 3–4 April 2023

Background. The Pure Theory of Law (Reine Rechtslehre) is one of the most important legal theories to emerge in the 20th century. It provides a particular approach to law, normativity and legal scholarship. Yet, just as the writings of its founder Hans Kelsen (1881–1973) are not all contributions to the Pure Theory (for example his theory of democracy), the Pure Theory, in turn, is not limited to Kelsen’s writings. The original members of the Vienna School of Jurisprudence, such as Adolf Julius Merkl, as well as their global post‐war heirs have developed and modified this body of thought. While neither the Pure Theory nor Kelsen’s writings have lost their potential to spark interest and controversy, this approach also generates a fair amount of perplexity, misinterpretation and even deliberate ignorance. The Vienna School originated as a response to the problems of mainstream legal scholarship of its day and was intimately connected to doctrines of constitutional, administrative and international law. Its members have also contributed greatly to those fields, for example Kelsen, Josef L Kunz and Alfred Verdross in international law. Its global theoretical appeal, however, is much broader than that.

The premise. This is what we, the Hans Kelsen Research Group at the University of Freiburg, would like to discuss with you. The Annual Workshop is an intensive small two‐day event where you will have the opportunity to present and discuss your ideas with the other participants of the workshop, with in‐ house experts, such as Matthias Jestaedt and Jörg Kammerhofer, and with an international guest ex‐ pert, this year Lars Vinx of Cambridge University.

We encourage those identifying themselves as ‘junior scholars’ in a very broad sense (PhD students and beyond) to apply to present cutting‐edge research ideas on Kelsen, the Vienna School and/or the Pure Theory. Proposals for all topics broadly within the remit of the workshop are welcome. We par‐ ticularly encourage:

  • applications from doctoral students who wish to integrate Kelsen’s writings, the Vienna School and/or the Pure Theory into their work;
  • proposals which deal with inter‐cultural and inter‐linguistic problems of the approach;
  • those focusing on lesser‐discussed aspects (such as political theory), arguments and writings, or on less well‐known members of the Vienna School;
  • papers which apply the Pure Theory to areas of doctrinal legal study, including public international law, or to specific problems of law and legal theory.

Our Annual Workshops are limited to ten participants; papers may be presented in English or German. Accommodation and food will be provided by the organisers in addition to a staggered subsidy for travel expenses (max. € 150 for intra‐German, € 400 for European, € 800 for transcontinental travel). The third workshop will take place on 3 and 4 April 2022 in a rural retreat in the Black Forest, near the town of Freiburg.

Application procedure. Please send an abstract (max. 500 words) as text file (.rtf, .docx, .odt etc., not .pdf) and a curriculum vitae to rechtstheorie@jura.uni‐freiburg.de until 30 November 2022. Selected speakers should be ready to submit short papers (max. 5000 words) to the conference organisers by 13 March 2023.

The call for papers is available here.

LIBERALISM AND ECOLOGY IN THE ANTHROPOCENE – CALL FOR PAPERS

CALL FOR PAPERS
The European Society of International Law (ESIL) Interest Group on International Environmental Law is organizing an interdisciplinary International Conference on “Liberalism and Ecology in the Anthropocene” to be held at the University of Messina, Italy 30 June –1 July 2022 in collaboration with West Virginia University, USA. This event is supported by the ESIL Interest Group on International Legal Theory and Philosophy and co-organized by the Italian Society of Philosophy of Law (SIFD).

‘Liberalism’ is a term with many implications: it can be understood as a doctrine, and as the endorsement of either economic liberalism or political liberalism (i.e., the protection of individual rights against the threat of the intervention of the State or other institutions).

Against this theoretical background, the present workshop aims at discussing the foundational premises of liberalism from the perspective of both the current debate on the global ecological crisis and the cluster of problems posed by the so-called ‘Age of the Anthropocene’.


In fact, especially if we look at the axis which both bridges and separates Eastern and Western political traditions, a number of urgent questions seem to emerge as far as protection of the environment and balancing individual freedom with environmental equilibrium are concerned. The retrospective and prospective thinking offered by moral and legal philosophy provides a useful tool in this enquiry. Moral and legal philosophy require developing an understanding of the basic components of principles, how and why these principles are formulated as part of unwritten moral codes or laws, and the continuing rationale for such principles. For instance, the principle of intergenerational equity is central to current debates on the impact of human behavior on the climate, and has longstanding roots in developing international environmental law, as well as specialist legal regimes relating to common heritage of mankind, and aboriginal title land and land-related rights. The principle of inter-generational equity essentially promotes the mindful usage and development of natural and cultural resources to ensure these are not passed onto future generations in a worse condition than which they were received. But why should future concerns trouble the minds of those with immediate wants and needs? Here, there is a tradition of liberal philosophy that offers a rationale corresponding to this question.

AREAS OF INTEREST
We welcome papers addressing the following questions (and akin):
•Who is responsible, from a liberal point of view, for the environmental policies of today, with respect to the consequences produced for the rights of future generations?
•What is the ethical grounding of environmental rights in the age of Anthropocene?
•How can the Anthropocene be conceptualized at different spatial, temporal, and institutional levels?
•How can the Anthropocene can integrate temporal and spatial aspects of human-planetary interaction?
•Are the rights of future generations based on a legal fiction and, if so, how are they compatible with the model of liberal societies?
•Is there a right to develop as well as a right to undevelop?
•Are environmental duties subsumed and snuffed out by environmental rights?
•How have regimes such as the concept of the common heritage of mankind in international law slowed down development?

VENUES AND DATE
The international conference will take place in person, on the premises of the University of Messina on 30 June –1 July 2022.

APPLICATIONS
Applications can be submitted via e-mail to both the following addresses:
paolo.farah@glawcal.org.uk, alessio.logiudice@unime.it, by 30 April 2022 (after the deadline the abstracts will be assessed if additional slots are still available. Please reach out to the conference chairs for information).

The author’s name and affiliation;
•A 500-700-word abstract;
•The author’s CV, including a list of relevant publications, if applicable;
•The author’s contact details, including e-mail address and phone number;
•The author’s preferred date to present at the conference and their preference to present in person or online;
•Co-authored papers are also welcomed.

ELIGIBILITY

This call is open to all senior and junior academics, as well as, business professionals and practitioners who are members of international organizations or NGOs that work in these areas.

PUBLICATION OPPORTUNITIES
The conference organizers have publication plans for the presented papers. The precise nature and format of publication will be discussed in more detail during the conference, however, the organizers preliminary vision is to publish an edited book with an international publisher or a special section or special issue of a Journal.

CONFERENCE CHAIRS AND COORDINATORS

PAOLO D. FARAH
West Virginia University, USA & gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development, United Kingdom

ALESSIO LO GIUDICE
University of Messina, Italy

SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE
Chamu Kuppuswamy (University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom), Martin Svec (Masaryk
University, Brno, Czech Republic), Ozlem Ulgen (University of Nottingham, United Kingdom),
Carmela Panella (University of Messina, Italy) Daria Boklan (HSE University)

Call for papers: The Reality of International Legal Theory – Reality in International Legal Theory

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ESIL IGILTP European Conference Series on the Theory and Philosophy of International Law

Second ECTPIL and iCourts Conference, to be held 19–20 May 2022 at the University of Copenhagen

1. Topic

Reality and realism are two important topics in 21st century theoretical thought about international law. Theory must, one argument goes, remain connected to the reality of the law – the real law – in order to be relevant to the practices and arguments of lawyers. Various shades of (international) legal realist argument vie with approaches foregrounding empirical aspects and methods to find out about the law and how it is ‘lived’. Both acceptance by peers as well as research funding is dependent on fulfilling the requirement of ‘interdisciplinarity’, which often focuses heavily on the socio-empirical over normative aspects of law. The philosophy of legal science or theory of legal scholarship (Rechtswissenschaftstheorie) has a lot to say about such arguments and requirements, both in its deconstructive and in its constructive modes. Another way of thinking about ‘reality’ is the way in which international legal theoretical arguments, approaches, schools or theorems are actually used – both by scholars and practitioners. How is theory used and abused, how is it practised?

Both sets of issues concern the way in which ‘theory’ deals with ‘reality’ in one way or another. This conference is an open forum to analyse this relationship, to expose fault-lines and to explore trajectories. The Second ECTPIL and iCourts Conference will draw on these and other under-researched questions.

The Conference is organised by the TEMPTATION research project at iCourts, the Centre of Excellence for International Courts at the University of Copenhagen in conjunction with the European Society of International Law’s Interest Group on International Legal Theory and Philosophy. It is convened by Jakob v.H. Holtermann (iCourts), Jörg Kammerhofer (University of Freiburg) and Panos Merkouris (University of Groningen, IGILTP).

Confirmed contributions include a key-note speech by Mikael Madsen (iCourts) and presentations by Arthur Dyevre (KU Leuven), Andreas Føllesdal (PluriCourts), Brad Roth (Wayne State), Urska Sadl (EUI) and Nora Stappert (Leeds).

2. Application Process

  • Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words in a text file (.docx, .odt etc. – not .pdf) to jvhh@jur.ku.dk. Only one abstract per author or team of co-authors will be considered.
  • In addition to the abstract, please include the following information for all co-authors:
    • name and affiliation;
    • contact details, including email address and phone number;
    • CV, including a list of relevant publications.
  • We are looking for a wide range of voices and takes on this topic from all corners of international legal scholarship and practice – both established and early career scholars, practitioners and ‘stakeholders’ – representing a wide range of views, including critical and mainstream, ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’. In selecting the speakers, we will aim to secure a balance of views, backgrounds and approaches.
  • The deadline for the submission of abstracts is Monday, 14 February 2022. The selection committee endeavours to inform applicants of its decision on Monday, 28 February 2022. Successful applicants are expected to submit a paper of 3,000–5,000 words no later than Tuesday, 19 April 2022 and will be expected to limit their presentation to 20 minutes.
  • The organisers will be able to at least partially cover speakers’ travel and accommodation costs.

Call for papers: The Reality of International Legal Theory – Reality in International Legal Theory (pdf)

Details

Time: 19 May – 20 May 2022

Place: University of Copenhagen

Organizer: iCourts, the Centre of Excellence for International Courts at the University of Copenhagen in con-junction with the European Society of International Law’s Interest Group on International Legal Theory and Philosophy

Call for Papers: ESIL IGILTP Roundtable – Theories and Methodologies in the Contemporary Study of International Lawmaking (9 September 2020)

The way scholars study international lawmaking has changed significantly over time. The scholarship witnesses a flourishing variety of theoretical approaches and empirical investigations aimed at uncovering new facets of international lawmaking. The IGILTP invites applications for a roundtable to discuss various theories and methodological approaches utilized today to study international lawmaking understood broadly. If recently you investigated any aspect of international lawmaking and would like to share your experience with regard to theoretical and methodological challenges, we would be delighted to receive your proposal. The roundtable will be dedicated not to substantive issues related to lawmaking but on theories and methodologies utilized by scholars in the study of various facets of international lawmaking focusing on the following questions:

  • What is the particular theory or methodology you used?
  • How this theory or methodology was utilized?
  • What particular utility it had for the study of international lawmaking?
  • In what circumstances would you recommend this theory or methodology for the study of other aspects of international lawmaking?
  • What is this theory or methodology unable to achieve?
  • Why is this theory or methodology better than others?

Submission procedure

Please submit an abstract no longer than 500 words together with a short author(s) bio (no longer than 100 words) to the panel organizer Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko (ekaterina.yahyaoui@nuigalway.ie). Please provide the following information with each abstract:

  • Author’s name, affiliation, email and phone contact details;
  • Whether the author is a current ESIL member;

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 25 April 2020.

Successful applicants will be informed no later than 30 April 2020.

The Interest Group is unable to provide funding for travel and accommodation. Selected speakers will be expected to bear the costs of their own travel and accommodation. Some ESIL travel grants and ESIL carers grants will be available to offer partial financial support to speakers who have exhausted other potential sources of funding. Please see the ESIL website for all relevant information about the conference.

All participants at ESIL Interest Group workshops are required to register for the Annual Conference. There will be an option to register just for one day to attend the workshop; however, all participants are warmly invited to attend the entire event.

Speakers selected for this workshop can indicate their interest in being considered for the ESIL Young Scholar Prize, if they meet the eligibility conditions as stated on the ESIL website. The ESIL Secretariat must be informed of all selected speakers who wish to be considered for the Prize before 15 May.

Call for Papers: Second ECTPIL & iCourts Conference – The Reality of International Legal Theory – Reality in International Legal Theory (22-23 October 2020)

Second ECTPIL and iCourts Conference, to be held  22–23 October 2020 at the University of Copenhagen

Reality and realism are two important topics in 21st century theoretical thought about international  law. Theory must, one argument goes, remain connected to the reality of the law – the real law – in order to be relevant to the practices and arguments of lawyers. Various shades of (international) legal realist argument vie with approaches foregrounding empirical aspects and methods to find out about the law and how it is ‘lived’. Both acceptance by peers as well as research funding is dependent on  fulfilling the requirement of ‘interdisciplinarity’, which often focuses heavily on the socio‐empirical over normative aspects of law. The philosophy of legal science or theory of legal scholarship (Rechtswissenschaftstheorie) has a lot to say about such arguments and requirements, both in its de‐constructive and in its constructive modes. Another way of thinking about ‘reality’ is the way in which international legal theoretical arguments, approaches, schools or theorems are actually used – both by scholars and practitioners. How is theory used and abused, how is it practised?
Both sets of issues concern the way in which ‘theory’ deals with ‘reality’ in one way or another. This conference is an open forum to analyse this relationship, to expose fault‐lines and to explore trajectories. The Second ECTPIL and iCourts Conference will draw on these and other under‐researched questions.
The Conference is organised by iCourts, the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence for International Courts at the University of Copenhagen in conjunction with the European Society of International Law’s Interest Group on International Legal Theory and Philosophy and hosted by iCourts. It is convened by Jakob v.H. Holtermann (iCourts), jvhh@jur.ku.dk, and Jörg Kammerhofer (University of Freiburg, IGILTP), joerg.kammerhofer@jura.uni‐freiburg.de.

The full call for papers for this conference can be viewed here

The deadline for the submission of abstracts to jvhh@jur.ku.dk is Sunday, 17 May 2020.

IGILTP Agora – 15th ESIL Annual Conference

On the occasion of the 15th ESIL Annual Conference the IGILTP held a very engaging Agora on spatio-temporal dimensions of sovereignty in international law. The panel chaired by Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko (The Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway) brought together three presentations each critically reflecting on the concept of sovereignty using a spatio-temporal lens. So Yeon Kim, a PhD candidate from the University of Cambridge talked about Difference in the Concept of Sovereignty in Spatial Dimension: Reflecting the Legal Approach to the East Asian Territorial Disputes. Professor Christopher R. Rossi from the University of Iowa presented on the following topic: Rethinking International Law and Remoteness: Topophilia, Resource Extraction, and the History of International Law in the Americas (Atacama Desert). The final presentation by Professor Valentina Vadi of Lancaster University addressed Spatio-Temporal Dimensions of Indigenous Sovereignty in International Law. All members of the Co-ordinating Committee of the IGILTP are grateful to speakers for their engagement with this topic and for making this Agora successful.

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First ECTPIL & TRICI-Law Conference

The first conference launching the ESIL-IGITLP European Conference Series on the Theory and Philosophy of International Law (ECTPIL) was held 24–25 May 2019 at the University of Groningen

The ESIL Interest Group on International Legal Theory and Philosophy and the ERC-funded TRICI-Law project co-organised a conference on ‘The Theory and Philosophy of Customary International Law (CIL) and its Interpretation’. The conference brought together over one hundred scholars to discuss a plethora of issues including the paradox of CIL, inductive and deductive methodology, the interpretability of CIL, relevance of hermeneutics, fiction, phenomenology and logic in interpretation, Schrödinger’s custom – dead and alive at the same time, and dimensions of temporality, among other relevant topics, with keynote delivered by H.E. Judge Pangalangan of the ICC.

Podcasts and videos of the presentations will be released in the upcoming months.

 

IGILTP Conference photo

Call for Papers: The Theory and Philosophy of Customary International Law and its Interpretation

On 24–25 May 2019 the ESIL Interest Group on International Legal Theory and Philosophy, in co-operation with the TRICI-Law project at the University of Groningen, NL, will hold the first instalment of the European Conference Series on the Theory and Philosophy of International Law. The topic to be discussed is:

 

The Theory and Philosophy of Customary International Law and its Interpretation

 

The full call for papers for this conference can be viewed here. We are, as always, looking for a wide range of voices and takes on this topic from all corners of international legal scholarship and practice – both established and early career scholars, practitioners and ‘stakeholders’ – representing a wide range of views, including critical and main-stream, ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’.

 

The deadline for responses to trici-law@rug.nl is Thursday, 15 November 2018.