18 June 2010

NOTICE: 2011 Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History - 'The Struggle for Land: Property, Territory, and Jurisdiction in Early Modern Europe and the Americas'

The 2011 Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History at Chicago's Newberry Library will focus on 'The Struggle for Land: Property, Territory, and Jurisdiction in Early Modern Europe and the Americas'. It will take place from 9-5 on Friday, 8 April, 2011. The Symposium is organised by Tamar Herzog (Stanford) and Richard J. Ross (Illinois, Urbana-Champaign).

The description reads:

The struggle to possess and control land, both as property and as jurisdictional territory, was central to the formation of early modern European societies as well as their colonial domains. This conference will look at how Europeans defined the right to land both at home and overseas. We will examine how so-called European expansion influenced the conceptualization of property and territorial jurisdiction and the relationship between them. Conference participants may explore how notions of property and territoriality changed over time; and how colonial needs and the encounter with new cultures reshaped these notions. In what ways did “international competition” and the emergence of an “international law” (to use an anachronism) modify property and jurisdiction? How did economic, social, and political developments influence new ideas and experiences regarding the land? In what ways did these ideas and experiences shape practical strategies for claiming land and asserting rights to govern it and profit from it? We are particularly eager to know whether these encounters encouraged, consciously or not, borrowing between different European legal systems as well as between settlers and indigenous peoples. How was the movement and refashioning of legal knowledge bound up with the movement of peoples and refashioning of modes of control over land? We would like to encourage an interdisciplinary conversation among lawyers, historians, sociologists, geographers, and literary scholars.

16 June 2010

NOTICE: 'Comparative Law and International Organizations: Cooperation, Competition and Connections' (Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, Lausanne, 9-10 September 2010)

The Swiss Institute of Comparative Law (SICL) has organised a Juris Diversitas-inspired colloquia on 'Comparative Law and International Organizations: Cooperation, Competition and Connections' from 9-10 September 2010.


The concept is as follows:

Contemporary comparative law is more than just a method of legal research. The explosion in numbers of international organizations after the Second World War dragged this “academic law” out of the shadows of legal libraries and made it become an instrument of and material for the construction of new legal institutions .

International organizations today are veritable laboratories of “living comparative law” where the practical implementation of comparative methods may be observed. In fact, the use of comparative law by international organizations occurs on several levels.

On the one hand, comparative law is applied in the construction of international entities. Indeed, international organizations and, in consequence, the international law they produce are “artificial legal orders” as opposed to the usual “naturally grown” legal orders of states. Historically, the national legal orders developed before international organizations, which, therefore, have been designed after the image of the former. Thus comparative law has become not only an instrument of construction, but also a sphere of competition among several legal traditions: the duel between the civil law and common law was followed by the increasing influence of the law of the Nordic countries as well as the Islamic legal tradition and the law of the former socialist countries. In order to be able to understand international organizations, it is essential to analyze this “competition of legal traditions” and to study the nature of international entities and of the law they produce: Is one legal tradition predominantly influencing an international organization – and what are the reasons and the consequences? Or is it actually a “chemical reaction” resulting in hybrid legal orders, for example somewhere between common and civil law, a fusion of elements from several legal families or traditions?

On the other hand, comparative law unquestionably also plays an important role in the daily work of international entities. Comparative studies concerning the legislation and practice within the member states are becoming an increasingly important part of the international organizations’ legislative process. This approach bears witness to the goal of finding a common denominator, a universally acceptable minimum standard, or a model-law conveying the most suitable solution. Within the work of international developmental organizations, comparative law is often a tool in the search for the best solution when proposing legislation to be adopted in assisted countries.

Furthermore, the case-law of the international courts facilitates the transposition of concepts from one legal tradition to another, thus contributing to blurring the boundaries between the major legal traditions. To give but one example: by interpreting the notion of “contractual obligations”, the European Court of Justice imposes on the British judge the duty to apply, in certain cases, a concept originating in the continental legal traditions.

Comparative law is therefore used as a reservoir for good practices, optimal legal solutions that enable international legislators and judges to propagate the models of law which best correspond to the objectives of the organization which they represent. By allowing for a “free movement of models of law”, the normative and judicial activities of international organizations contribute to the erasing of the borders separating the major legal traditions. The impact of this tendency on actual and future legal systems requires reflection: Which legal tradition shapes a changing legal system? Is it primarily one tradition, or does it incorporate the features of two or more legal traditions? What are the implications of “hybrid” models of law? And what are the reasons for the influence of a legal tradition? Is it the feature and quality of a legal tradition, geopolitical factors, the personalities involved, or pure coincidence that determines the influence of a legal tradition?

The aim of this conference is to lay the foundations for finding the answers to these questions. In three half-days, the conference endeavors to open up avenues for reflection on the functioning of international organizations, on the contents of the international legal rules they produce and on the crossed influences of the major legal traditions (e.g., civil law, common law, Islamic law, law of the Nordic countries, and law of the former socialist systems). Furthermore, the reverse influence of the international entities and their legal rules on the internal law of the member states will also be examined.

Taking examples such as the United Nations Organization, the European Union, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank, this conference aspires to study the international organizations, on the one hand, as hybrid legal systems (1st half-day, 9th of September), and, on the other hand, as “consumers” and “producers” of comparative law, confronting their member-states’ national legal orders to search for and propagate the “most suitable solutions” (2nd half-day, 10th of September). These two topics will be brought together in a round table discussion on the various interactions between national and international legal orders and the different roles of comparative law in this process (3rd half-day, 10th of September).

The programme and registration information is available on the SICL Website. Speakers will include, among others,:
  • International Legal Order’s Mixed Heritage - Colin B. Picker
  • International Trade Law (WTO) - Gabrielle Marceau
  • International Environmental Law - Markus W. Gehring
  • International Law of Human Rights - Daniel Rietiker
  • The ECJ’s Perspective - Ludovic Bernardeau
  • International Commercial Arbitration (ICC’s) - Francesca Mazza
  • The World Bank - Klaus Decker
  • The Experience of International Development Agencies: UNDP - Ekaterina Kouznetsova
  • The European Union in the Field of Consumer Law - Brigitta Lurger
 For additional information, contact Martine Do-Spitteler at martine.do@isdc-dfjp.unil.ch. Tel. +41(0)21 692 49 11 – Fax +41(0)21 692 49 49.

NOTICE: Empire: Legality, Locality, Authority Symposium (Plymouth, 10 September 2010)

I just received the following information:

Empire: Legality, Locality, Authority
A Symposium at the University of Plymouth 10 September 2010
Organizers: Dr Nandini Chatterjee and Dr Kim Stevenson

This multi-disciplinary symposium draws together scholars working within their own disciplinary contexts on the historical connection between law and empire, with the following aims:

• Bringing together a variety of discipline-specific analytical tools to explore how law-bound power is constituted, exercised, justified, represented and transgressed in the inherently unequal context of empire;
• Grappling with methodological problems to identify the most convincing and productive uses of the Privy Council’s records, recently transferred to the National Archives;
• Building a core research team and larger advisory committee to help in conceptualizing, executing, publicizing and attracting funds for the Privy Council project as its grows.

Further details about the project: ‘Judging empire: the global reach of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council’; Programme and Abstracts are available from the website of the Centre for Humanities, Music and Performing Arts Research, University of Plymouth.

Speakers: Nandini Chatterjee; Lin Holdridge; Stacey Hynd; Diana Jeater; Justin Jones; Stephanie Jones; Stephanie Pratt; Charlotte Smith, Judith Rowbotham; Kim Stevenson; Elizabeth Tingle.

Participation in the symposium is free, but spaces are limited.

To register, contact: nandini.chatterjee@plymouth.ac.uk before 16 July 2010.

15 June 2010

Robert A. Pascal: A Priest of Right Order

ROBERT ANTHONY PASCAL: A PRIEST OF RIGHT ORDER, has been published online as Volume 3 of the Bicentennial Series, by the Center of Civil Law Studies at LSU (Louisiana State University). The book was edited by Professor Olivier Moréteau, who wrote a twenty-page introduction and selected previously unpublished and published writings by Professor Emeritus Robert A. Pascal:

Recollections of a Life Studying and Teaching Law
Punishment, Pardon, Parole
Natural Law and Respect for Law
A Summary Reflection on Legal Education
Of the Civil Code and Us
Of Trusts, Human Dignity, Legal Science, and Taxes
Updating Louisiana’s Community of Gains
Characterization as an Approach to the Conflict of Laws
The Italian Legal System: A Book Review

The book may be downloaded from the CCLS website: http://www.law.lsu.edu/index.cfm?geaux=ccls.publications.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Union in Separation: Trading Diasporas in the Eastern Mediterranean (1200-1700) - Heidelberg, 17-19 February 2011

A Call for Papers has been issued for international conference to be held in Heidelberg from 17-19 February 2011. The theme is 'Union in Separation – Trading Diasporas in the Eastern Mediterranean (1200-1700)':

“Union in Separation” is a three-day international conference hosted by the Transcultural Studies Programme at the University of Heidelberg. The conference focuses on transcultural diasporic communities in the medieval and early modern Mediterranean with specific respect to their role in trade between perceived separate cultural areas.

The term “transculturality” tends to be used to designate the hybrid character of modern-day societies and to ultimately argue that separate cultural units (defined as the sum of elements that characterise the aggregate identity of a society) do not exist. However, regardless of whether it is possible to speak of separate ‘cultures’, the construct continues to persist in people’s minds. These mindsets, their creation and their impact on societies is what historians are now investigating.

The study of Mediterranean diasporas lends itself well to this endeavour, as it allows for an understanding of the construction and deconstruction of cultural differences as well as the potential integration into a host culture. In order to best analyse these processes, we suggest exploring commercial exchange and its legal framework as two interrelated phenomena.

Medieval Mediterranean trading diasporas, such as Venetian merchants residing in Mamluk Alexandria, operated both within and outside of formal legal structures. However, their status as religious minorities often posed strong challenges to their business. For instance, far-reaching privileges granted by the Sultan to Christian merchants coexisted with, and were frequently challenged by, orthodox Islamic law and/or local legal practice.

Thus, a primary interest of historical transcultural research is to gather evidence on informal mechanisms that facilitated trade-given cultural hurdles. This will shed light on the form and scope of cultural exchange.

The conference will bring together academics from a wide variety of fields including medieval studies, history (including economic, legal, art history), and cultural studies.

Panels include

-Legal Pluralism and Diasporic Communities in Historical Perspective (Teresa Sartore)
-Diasporic Communities in Rhodes 1350-1450 (Teresa Sartore)
-Diasporic Groups in Mamluk Egypt 1300-1450 (Anna Katharina Angermann)
-Diasporas and Imperial Rule in the 13th C. Aegean (Stefan Burkhardt)
-Diasporic Networks and Institutions in Medieval Trade 1200-1500 (Lars Börner, Franz Julius Morche)
-Early Modern Italy‘s Diasporas (Roberto Zaugg)

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words  and a short CV to the respective panel organizer as well as to Teresa Sartore and Georg Christ.

PhD students are encouraged to participate as well. Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you wish to propose an entire panel. There is a limited availability of travel grants for PhD students.

Deadline for Abstracts: 31.07.2010

University of Heidelberg
Transcultural Studies
Marstallstraße 6
D-69117 Heidelberg


THANKS: Juris Diversitas AGM and Mediterranean Legal Hybridity Symposium (Malta)

I want to thank all of those who attended the Juris Diversitas AGM and the Symposium in Malta last week.

Special thanks are due to Dr David Zammit (Malta) for handling local arrangements, to Simon Mercieca (Malta) and all of those who assisted locally, and to our sponsors.

Additional thanks go to Professor Olivier Moretéau (LSU) for delivering the conference's keynote address and to Professor Vernon Palmer (Tulane) for launching the Mediterranean Hybridity Project.

Additional information will also be available soon on publication of the papers presented at the conference, the Mediterranean Hybridity Project, and on changes in Juris Diversitas.