CfP: ICON•S 2015 “Public Law in an Uncertain World” in New York City

ICON-S-logoThe International Society of Public Law (ICON•S) invites submissions for papers and fully-formed panels for its 2015 Conference on “Public Law in an Uncertain World”. The Conference will take place in New York City, on July 1-3, 2015, at the New York University School of Law.

The purpose of this conference is to explore and evaluate the function and limits of public law in our uncertain world in relation to war and peace, human rights, religion, state-building, constitution-making, formal and informal institutional change, revolutionary movements, national security as well as but not limited to the economy, the environment and the challenge of new technologies.

ICON•S welcomes both individual papers as well as proposals for fully-formed panels, from both senior and junior scholars (including advanced Ph.D. students) as well as practitioners. Proposals may focus on any theoretical, historical, comparative, empirical, doctrinal, philosophical or practical perspective related broadly to public law, including administrative law, constitutional law, criminal law, or international law in all of their possible domestic, transnational, supranational, international and global variants related to the 2015 Conference theme.

All submissions must be made on the ICON•S website by April 10, 2015. More information is available at

Assistant Professorship in International Law: Graduate Institute, Geneva

Logo_CMYK_LoThe Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, which I’ll be joining next month, has advertised an assistant professorship in international law, with potential specializations in international economic law, the protection of human dignity, international environmental law, or transnational law. The deadline for applications is 15 February 2015; more details can be found here. Please forward this to whoever might be interested – we’re looking forward to great applications!

The Public and the Private in Global Governance – Barcelona Workshop on Global Governance 2015


Later this week, IBEI and ESADE will host the 2015 Barcelona Workshop on Global Governance on the topic of ‘The Public and the Private in Global Governance‘. The workshop brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars; speakers include Andrew Hurrell (University of  Oxford), Benedict Kingsbury (New York University) and Jonas Tallberg (Stockholm University). More information (also on how to register) can be found here; the programme is available here.

Barcelona Workshop on Global Governance

The Public and the Private in Global Governance

15 & 16 January 2015 – IBEI & ESADEGeo

Global governance is constructed by both public and private actors. Governments have created international institutions and transgovernmental networks; companies have established self-regulatory structures; civil society and business organizations have been active in norm-setting and monitoring. They have joined forces in various hybrid organizations, which collaborate and compete with each other, and all perform functions in the many regulatory spaces that include institutions and actors of various origins. At the same time, many privately-created bodies claim to provide public goods, while many institutions of public origin are criticized for pursuing private gains or for being strongly influenced by private interests. As a result, the boundaries between public and private in global governance have become blurred, and the classical public/private distinction – central to structuring our understanding of domestic government – is under increasing pressure. On this background, the 2015 Barcelona Workshop on Global Governance asks how ‘the public’ and ‘the private’ are related in current structures of global governance.


International Law and Time: Call for Papers

Graduate Institute PictureThe International Law Department of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, which I will join next month, is opening a call for papers to explore the theme of ‘International Law and Time‘ at a conference to be held on 12-13 June 2015. The deadline for abstract submissions is 15 February 2015. The conference is open to both junior and senior international law scholars and practitioners, and the organizers especially encourage current and recent doctoral students to apply with a submission. The theme and envisaged panel topics are very promising, and I hope there will be many abstract submissions. The call for papers is here, and more information on the conference here.


The Backlash against International Courts

Reading of ICJ Advisory Opinion upon IFAD’s request , on 1 February 2012 / Lecture de l’avis consultatif de la Cour sur la demande du FIDA, le 1er février 2012.I have a new blog post out, over at Verfassungsblog and Völkerrechtsblog, on ‘The Backlash against International Courts’. It is part of a broader symposium on tensions between domestic and international law. My post takes recent challenges of international courts by domestic (jusdicial and political) actors as a starting point for inquiring a bit further into whether they form part of a trend, why they have come about, and how to address them normatively. I largely read these challenges as responses to an ever stronger role of international courts – the expansion of their scope of action to include many controversial issues of domestic law and politics. Such responses are sometimes parochial but they need not always be seen in a negative light: they are efforts at recalibrating a relationship in which domestic democratic processes can become marginalized if international rules prevail as a matter of course. Have a look!

Better together or happy apart? Independence Movements in Europe: Video

Happy together - CaptureAs I posted before, two weeks ago we had an interesting discussion on independence movements in Europe at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, spurred by the recent (formal and informal) referenda in Scotland and Catalonia. I gave a short introductory talk, trying to frame questions about the character of these movements, the legal framework of aspirations for independence in Europe, their normative assessment, and the political challenge they pose. The debate, moderated expertly by Mark Dawson from the Hertie School, included Eve Hepburn from Edinburgh, Jaume Lopez from Barcelona and Steven Blockmans from Amsterdam and Brussels. For those who had to miss the event, videos are now available here and here.

Better together or happy apart? Independence Movements in Europe

DruckOn 19 November I’ll give a short impulse speech to open a debate on independence movements in Europe at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, my former academic home (and where I’m a fellow now). The debate brings together a number of good speakers, from Catalonia, Scotland, Brussels and Berlin. We’ll discuss questions such as: What are the lessons of the Scottish referendum for other regions in Europe? How might the upcoming battle over Catalonia’s constitutional future resolve itself? What role might the EU play in forwarding or limiting the ambitions of independence movements? Given the recent salience of the issue in Scotland and now in Catalonia, this promises to be interesting and (hopefully) controversial event. Join us if you can! Details are here.

Law and Legitimacy in the Spanish Constitutional Conflict

cataloniatownhallflagsoNeus Torbisco and I have a post up at EUROPP, the LSE Blog on European Politics and Policy, on Law and Legitimacy in the Spanish Constitutional Conflict, arguing that ‘using Spanish law to block Catalonia’s independence consultation may simply encourage Catalans to construct their own ‘alternative legality’’. Ahead of this weekend’s consultation (and today’s expected new intervention of the Spanish constitutional court), we thought it would be good to clarify the idea of ‘law’ and ‘legality’ somewhat. Have a look!

Capacity and Constraint: Governance Through International and Transnational Law

Cover high resolutionA chapter of mine on ‘Capacity and Constraint: Governance Through International and Transnational Law’ has just appeared in a volume, edited by Martin Lodge and Kai Wegrich, on The Problem-solving Capacity of the Modern State: Governance Challenges and Administrative Capacities (OUP, 2014, here). This is an interesting volume, the companion volume to the Governance Report 2014 of the Hertie School of Governance (which can be found here).

And here is also the abstract of the chapter (an earlier draft of which is available on SSRN here):

Transboundary problems have provided serious challenges for states’ governance capacity for long. As a result, the modern state has not only begun to adapt its own administrative and regulatory structures; it has also come to rely increasingly on effective institutional structures for cooperation and governance on a regional and global scale. The classical instrument for international cooperation, international law, can only provide such structures under certain conditions and within strict limits. Governments have therefore turned to alternative forms of transnational ordering, which in some cases have indeed led to more effective decision-making – key among them formal international institutions, informal government networks, extraterritorial regulation, and links with private forms of regulation. However, all of these tools come with drawbacks – some are more effective than others, and the more they are effective, the more they tend to entail a loss of control for national governments, regulators and administrators. Domestic authorities have sought to readjust and develop new forms of influence in transnational regulatory contexts, some of them resulting in asymmetrical structures that increase the capacity of some countries’ institutions while constraining those of others. In this paper, I analyze the different forms of transnational law- and rule-making with respect to their varying impacts on, and links with, domestic governance institutions, and I place a particular focus on the most prominent example – the rise of informal institutions and transgovernmental networks in global regulation.


Transnational Standards in the Domestic Legal Order

Univ of AmsterdamLater this month, I’ll have the pleasure to speak at a workshop in Amsterdam on ‘Transnational Standards in the Domestic Legal Order: Authority and Legitimacy’, organized by Machiko Kanetake and Andre Nollkaemper as part of the project on the ‘Architecture of Postnational Rulemaking’ at the University of Amsterdam. The workshop takes place on 24 October and will bring together a great group of scholars. The programme as well as registration details can be found here.