01 February 2013

CALL FOR PAPERS: Islamic family law in modern Europe and the Muslim world

Islamic family law in modern Europe and the Muslim world:  
Normative, legal and empirical approaches beyond the women's rights issues

19-21 June 2013 Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Famiily law organizes issues that are central to people's domestic lives, such as marriage, child care, divorce and inheritance. The study of family law can therefore provide insights on constructions and norms about parenthood, sexual relations, the transfer of wealth and the intertwining of the public and the private. European and US academic writing on Islamic family law seem to be divided between a normative approach, a legal approach and an empirical social science approach. Significant differences in questions, methodology and sources make that these approaches rarely meet. Moreover, the field is also divided by geographical borders. Academic work on Islamic family law in the "West" and on Islamic family law in the Muslim world remains largely separated, as is the case with work by scholars from Muslim-majority countries and studies by scholars from Europe and the US. This conference will bring together these fields of study to produce new insights and promote an interdisciplinary and transnational approach.

In all three approaches, there is a strong focus on the issues, rights and position of Muslim women. Muslim women are sometimes depicted as the victims of patriarchal Islamic family laws that grant them little claim to legal rights. While Muslim women are at the centre of academic attention, Muslim men are seldom studied in relation to family law. This conference aims to go beyond a limited women's rights perspective and develop a critical gender perspective, including men and masculinities as well as women and femininities. Discussing mixed families and transnational relationships will provide new insights on intersections of gender with class and ethnicity and legal pluralism.

Questions we want to raise in this conference are: what could an interdisciplinary approach of Islamic family law look like? How can we integrate the different approaches to the study of Islamic family law, both in Europe and the US as well as in Muslim-majority countries? How can scholars of Islamic family law in the West and the Muslim World learn from each other? What do recent events in the Arab spring mean for family law, both in the Middle East and in Europe? What can an intersectional approach of gender and other inequalities contribute to the study of Islamic family law? What is the role of Islamic family law outside of courts and legal conflicts, in the everyday life of people in Muslim-majority-countries and in the West? How do debates on Islamic family law in the West and in Muslim-Majority countries influence each other and legal practice? How does Islamic family law interact with other State legal systems in the cases of migrant and mixed families?

BOOKS: Nigila on Pluralism/Bankes and Koivurova on the Proposed Nordic Saami Convention

Hart Publishing has published, among other texts, the following:

Edited by Leone Niglia

European private law has hitherto tended to be conceptualised firmly around ideas of unity and harmony. Yet the discourse within other areas of European law, notably constitutional law scholarship, visibly adopts pluralist perspectives. This book seeks to bridge the gap between 'public' and 'private' law by looking at European private law from various pluralist positions and by investigating old and new ways in which to understand legal pluralism in general. It fills a gap in the wide literature on legal pluralism, as the first book entirely dedicated to offering an insight into legal pluralism from the vantage point of the private law domain. The book addresses critically issues such as what pluralism really means in private law and what conceptions of pluralism it embodies, including discussion about the outer boundaries of any of the pluralist understandings. Contributions address comparative, critical, historical, theoretical and normative aspects. The book provides an opportunity to engage innovatively with problematic conceptual issues that inform the work of European private law scholars, including the debate on the Common Frame of Reference.

Edited by Nigel Bankes and Timo Koivurova

In 2005 an expert group representing the governments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the Saami parliaments of these countries agreed upon a draft text of a Nordic Saami Convention. Key parts of the text deal with the recognition of Saami land and resource rights. More recently the three governments have embarked on negotiations to move from this draft text to a final convention that may be adopted and ratified by all three countries. Negotiations commenced in the Spring of 2011 and should be completed within five years. This collection of essays explores the national and international dimensions of indigenous property rights and the draft Convention which recognises the Saami as one people divided by international boundaries.

Part one of the book seeks to provide a global and theoretical context for these developments in the Nordic countries, with a series of essays dealing with the moral and legal reasons for recognising indigenous property interests and different conceptualisations of the relationship between indigenous peoples and settler societies, including recognition, reconciliation and pluralism. Part two of the book examines some international legal issues associated with the Convention, including the background to the Convention. Part three turns to examine aspects of the recognition of Saami property interests in each of the three Nordic states, while Part four provides some comparative experiences, examining the recognition of indigenous property rights in a number of jurisdictions, including Canada, Australia and a number of South American states. An additional essay considers gender issues in relation to indigenous property rights.

JOURNAL: Glossae

Glossae: Revista de Historia del Derecho Europeo, a legal history journal published from 1988 to 1996 has been revived.

GLOSSAE -  European Journal of Legal History has preserved its original, international character, accepting works on legal history on a wide variety of themes, chronological and geographical contexts, and within the Western legal tradition or beyond.

The journal is also published online now and its articles, including those of the first series (1988-1996), can be freely accessed and downloaded.  

The first issue of the new series came out in December. 


Glossae's Editorial Board has decided to publish the next issue in honour of Professor Antonio Pérez Martín, Catedrático Emérito Honorario of Legal History (University of Murcia) and founder of the journal. The Board is especially interested in contributions from those who know Professor Pérez Martín.

To submit an article for this issue or any other, please consult the rules and instructions for publicationThe deadline for submissions is 9 September 2013 and texts should be submitted to aniceto.masferrer@uv.es

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Law and Boundaries Conference

Law and Boundaries / Droit et Limites
Annual International Conference / Sciences Po Paris / May 23d and 24th 2013
Call for Abstracts / Appel à propositions

Call for Abstracts

Law and Boundaries  is an interdisciplinary yearly conference that aims to discuss and propose new perspectives on  the challenges the legal discipline is facing regarding its object, its function, its theoretical foundations and  its practical outcomes.

The focus of this year’s conference is the idea of “conflicts” and the ways law and the neighboring disciplines account for the notion and its manifestations, particularly when it comes to conflicts embedded within the globalization processes.

We expect young scholars from all disciplines to submit their abstracts (250-300 words) before March 15th. Papers  (max. 7000 words) will be circulated among participants during the conference and should be sent by May 5th. A limited number of papers will be selected for publication.

To submit an abstract, click here

We are interested in receiving contributions from graduate students and young scholars that address the following topics:

ARTICLE: Hendry on Legal pluralism and normative transfer


Jennifer Hendry, 'Legal pluralism and normative transfer' in 

G. Frankenberg (ed),

 Order from Transfer: Projects and Problems of Comparative Constitutional Studies (2013, forthcoming)

Legal norms have always crossed borders, be these national, cultural or functional, but recent legal and social changes have made the study of the circumstances under which law and norms are transferred from one context or locus to another more important than ever before. Post-colonial, supranational and global processes have not only drawn attention to this legal 'movement' or transfer but have also raised challenges to conventional conceptions of legal spaces and borders, and these feature alongside legal pluralism at the forefront of contemporary comparative legal studies debates. These two concepts - transfer and pluralism - find themselves inextricably linked by their conceptual relevance to different legal orders and to issues of conflict, contestation and interaction in terms of law, society, culture and legal culture, but are rarely (if ever) conceptualized with relation to each other. This paper submits that framing normative transfer in terms of legal pluralism adds another dimension to each concept, and attempts to illustrate this with reference to the example of nation state-internal normative pluralism in post-colonial societies with indigenous communities. 

At http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2200117  

31 January 2013

ARTICLES: Hong and Provost on Mythologies and Sezgin on Women Challenging Muslim Family Laws

The following are now on SSRN:


Caylee Hong and Rene Provost, Let us compare mythologies:


For several decades, "culture" played a central role in challenging the liberal tradition and its legal and philosophical foundations, a debate particularly acute in the field of human rights. "Religion," which also had posed a challenge to liberal thought for centuries, seemed to have almost faded away beyond constitutional debates regarding the limits of free exercise. More recently, however, religion seems to have reemerged as the new central challenge facing Western liberal societies. This paper is the introduction to an edited volume that addresses the significance of the growing presence of "religion" in contemporary law and politics, and discusses the following questions: Has "religion" indeed taken the place of "culture" as a center of political tension and social integration? How have liberal democracies faced the rise of religion in the age of multiculturalism? Do religious and ethnic groups pose similar challenges to modern liberal societies, or are these challenges significantly different? Has the traditional struggle for "religious freedom" been transformed to a struggle for political recognition in line with the more contemporary "politics of identity"? Are contemporary discussions of a "post-secular" society similar to those of "multi-cultural" societies? Are notions of religious belief being merged with cultural practices to enlarge the constitutionally protected autonomy of minorities? Can this destabilize societies viewing themselves as multicultural by relying on a common foundation presented as secular? Can the notion of "citizenship" escape any religious overtone, given the significance of religious beliefs in the identities of so many groups constituting modern societies? Is "secularization" itself, as some have argued, "culturally biased"? Is "culture" in the final analysis nothing more than a "secularized" version of (Christian?) "religion"? More generally, what is the philosophical and legal sense of "religion" and "culture"? Have these concepts and the phenomena they represent undergone a historical change? Are we in need of new concepts, doctrines and theories to comprehend and resolve the new challenges of religious revival in the post-multicultural age?

Yuksel Sezgin, The Promise and Pitfalls of Women Challenging Muslim Family Laws in India and Israel (Chapter 4 of Anissa Helie and Homa Hoodfar (eds) Sexuality in Muslim Contexts: Restrictions and Resistance (2012):


Across nations one of the most common ways that women’s sexuality and personal autonomy is controlled is through family law, particularly marriage, and divorce. In essence, many such laws are in place to govern autonomous and individual expressions of sexuality, most often through the use of moral arguments located within ethno-religious traditions. Yet matters of family law are often analyzed in terms of state- or nation-building and religious practices. Indeed as Carol Pateman (1988) has shown, family law remains one of the least democratic legal and social institutions, despite women’s struggles, with limited success, for family law reform. Resistance to democratizing family law is often most pronounced by elements within ethno-religious communities which hold a minority position vis-à-vis the state, and are thus excluded from the state political power structure. This has meant that women within such communities have to develop nuanced strategies to extend their sexual and personal autonomy without alienating their community. A comparison of the cases of India and Israel -- where the Muslim minorities’ relationships with the state are extremely politicized -- provides insight into the ways in which women are contesting the governance and control of their sexuality through the re-shaping of marriage and divorce laws.

LECTURE: Resolution of Jewish Disputes in England 1154-1290

Resolution of Jewish Disputes in England 1154-1290

19 February 2013, 18:00 - 19:00
Speakers: Professor Derek Roebuck, IALS Senior Associate Research Fellow, and author of 'Mediation and Arbitration in the Middle Ages: England 1154-1558' (Arbitration Press, 2013).
Organised by: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Event Type: Lecture
Venue: IALS
Venue Details: 
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Charles Clore House
17 Russell Square


This event is FREE but those wishing to attend should register in advance. To register, please use the the automatic form below.

A Lecture in a Series of Occasional Lectures in Jewish Law in the names of Leah and Alexander Woolf.

30 January 2013

WORKSHOP: Crossroads East and West: Visions of the Economy in the Islamic and Western Legal Traditions

Crossroads East and West:
Visions of the Economy in the Islamic and Western Legal Traditions

International Workshop

Turin, International University College
IUC Lecture Hall, Piazza Paleocapa 2, 2nd floor
4-5 February 2013

While open to the public, space is limited and pre-registration is required
Please RSVP by February 1, 2013 to ignazio@castellucci.eu and akoppel1@jhu.edu

Program Announcement

As the world enters a post-global phase featuring a growing multipolarity of economic, legal and political systems, the Western-driven global order that emerged at the end of the 20th century is being redefined in the 21st. The international workshop will therefore be devoted to exploring emerging trends and dynamics in the economies, economic relations, and legal interplay between these increasingly interconnected systems, with a focus on a comparative analysis between the legal and economic traditions based on or underpinned by Islamic law with the legal traditions and economic systems grounded in civil and common law traditions.

Divergences and convergences should emerge from the workshop, permitting a better assessment of current developments and of the possible outlines of future legal features of economies and economic relationships in an incresaingly multi-polar world. The macro-theme of the event will therefore be the economy in its largest sense, with a view to developing legal comparative analyses of economic phenomena rooted in Islamic legal thought—both Sunni and Shi’a, and the relevant perspectives from common and civil law. The workshop aims at illuminating the breadth of fundamental legal-economic and related societal themes underpinning the Islamic and Western legal-economic systems and the relationships between the two, in a comparative perspective.

Organizing Committee:
Scientific Director : Dr. Ignazio Castellucci, University of Trento
Dr. Mohamed Mattar, The Protection Project
Dr. Giuseppe Mastruzzo, International University
Ms. Anna Koppel, The Protection Project
Ms. Silvia Quazzo, International University College-Turin

APPOINTMENT: Visiting Chair in International Law & Human Security

Simons Visiting Chair in International Law & Human Security 
School for International Studies 
Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada)

The School for International Studies invites applications from scholars and from those with relevant professional experience in international law or diplomacy for this visiting position, to be taken up in the Fall Term (September-­‐December) 2013. The successful candidate will be asked to teach one senior undergraduate course, to mount a workshop on her/his research interests, and to contribute to the research activity of the School. The position will be remunerated at a level appropriate to the successful candidate’s seniority and experience and assistance may be given with travel and housing costs. Applications will be treated in confidence and should include a letter of application with a statement of interest, curriculum vitae, and a list of publications. Applicants should also provide the names and contact details of six referees.

All materials should be sent electronically to: Dr. Alexander Dawson, Director, School for International Studies (intst@sfu.ca) by 24 February 2013.
In the Subject Line of the email, indicate the following information in the order specified: 2013 Fall SVC Application, Applicant Name.
For more information, visit this webpage.

BOOK: Objectivity in Law and Legal Reasoning

Hart Publishing has just published Jaakko Husa and Mark van Hoecke (eds), Objectivity in Law and Legal Reasoning (2013). Both are members.

The book blurb is:

Legal theorists consider their discipline as an objective endeavour in line with other fields of science. Objectivity in science is generally regarded as a fundamental condition, informing how science should be practised and how truths may be found. Objective scientists venture to uncover empirical truths about the world and ought to eliminate personal biases, prior commitments and emotional involvement. However, legal theorists are inevitably bound up with a given legal culture. Consequently, their scholarly work derives at least in part from this environment and their subtle interaction with it. This book questions critically, in novel ways and from various perspectives, the possibilities of objectivity of legal theory in the twenty-first century. It transpires that legal theory is unavoidably confronted with varying conceptions of law, underlying ideologies, approaches to legal method, argumentation and discourse etc, which limit the possibilities of 'objectivity' in law and in legal reasoning. The authors of this book reveal some of these underlying notions and discuss their consequences for legal theory.

WORKSHOP: Machiavelli, Islam and the East

Machiavelli, Islam and the East
International Workshop
Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa (Italy)
6 May 2013

Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa (Italy) is inviting scholars to submit 25-minutes papers for a one-day international workshop titled "Machiavelli, Islam and the East", which will take place on 6 May 2013.

While Niccolò Machiavelli is universally recognized as one of the founders of the Western political thinking, the aim of the international workshop, organized by the research project "Beyond the Holy War" in the year of the fifth centenary of the Prince, is to explore the less known connections among Machiavelli's work - written in a period of successful Ottoman expansion in the Mediterranean region -, the Muslim world, and the East. The languages of the workshop are English and Italian.

We particularly invite contributions related to one or more of the following areas:

1. Machiavelli's vision about political, administrative, military, and religious aspects of  the Muslim world and the East, including its origin and reference, as well as similar contemporary examples, not only from the European context; 2. The reception and re-use of Machiavellian themes by European authors, who  formulated opinions and images about Islam and the East, from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment; 3. A comparative study of the recovery of Machiavelli in relation with Islam and the East on the one hand, and the Americas in the Age of Exploration on the other hand; 4. The possible circulation of Machiavelli's writings in North Africa, Middle East and Asia in the early modern period, both among local learned men and travelers.

Please send your proposals, 250 words maximum, and a brief CV with your contact information to Giuseppe Marcocci (g.marcocci@sns.it).

The deadline for proposals is 20 February 2013. Responses will be sent by e-mail within 28 February 2013.

While we are not able to offer support to cover travel expenses, the Scuola Normale will provide accommodation for the workshop and will cover all meals.

REGISTRATION: Juris Diversitas Inaugural Annual Conference (3-4 June, Lausanne, Switzerland)

Registration is now open  for the 

an international, interdisciplinary conference on comparative law (and more)

3-4 June 2013, Lausanne, Switzerland 

The conference fees are:
  • 50: For JD Members (with Ordinary membership 2012 and 2013)
  • 100: For JD Members (with Ordinary membership 2013) or Members of the AiSDC 
  • 200: For Non-Members (individuals neither a member of JD nor the AiSDC)

The conference dinner fee is optional and costs an additional €50.

JD membership information is available here

Membership fees, conference registration fees, and conference dinner fees can all be paid through the SUBSCRIBE button on the main Juris Diversitas Blog page. Simply enter the appropriate amount there.

Questions about membership payments and registration should be addressed to Lukas Heckendorn-Urscheler at Lukas.Heckendorn@isdc-dfjp.unil.ch. Other membership questions should be addressed to Salvatore Mancuso at secretariat.jd@outlook.com.

29 January 2013

JOURNAL: Journal of Japanese Law

A member brought the following journal to my attention:

Journal of Japanese Law
Zeitschrift für Japanisches Recht

The most recent issue available online included the following articles:


Members and readerswe’d appreciate your support in spreading the word about Juris Diversitas: the blog, our conference and other events, our publications and projects, our new book series, etc, etc.

We'd also appreciate your support as members.

And if you’re a Facebook user, we also have a Facebook page with additional notices. Stop by, ‘Like’ us, ‘Share’ our posts, and suggest us to friends. If you're attending our conference, please visit our Conference Page, too, to let others know if you’ll be attending.

ARTICLES: Ellis on Soft Law and Ho on Law and Virtue

The following have appeared on SSRN:

Jane Ellis, 'Shades of Grey: Soft Law and the Validity of Public International Law' (2012) 25(2) Leiden Journal of International Law

Soft law is often seen as a way to overcome certain problems of legitimacy in international law, notably the weaknesses of a voluntaristic conception of international law’s validity. Other perceived benefits of soft law include flexibility, speed of adoption and modification, and even effectiveness. Yet soft law is seen by others as a threat to law, because it effaces the border between law and politics. This paper explores different approaches to the boundary between law and not-law which seek both to maintain this boundary and to reconceptualise it in a way that better anchors the validity of international legal rules. 

HL Ho, 'Of Law, Virtue and Justice - An Introduction' 

This is the introductory chapter of the book, Amalia Amaya and Ho Hock Lai (eds.), Law, Virtue and Justice (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2012).

ARTICLE: Hesselink on Private Law Principles, Pluralism and Perfectionism

Martijn W Hesselink's 'Private Law Principles, Pluralism and Perfectionism' is available on SSRN:

This paper discusses the legitimacy of general principles of private law as they have been formulated recently by the Court of Justice of the European Union and proposed by the European Commission. It addresses challenges from different strands in political theory including liberal perfectionism, political liberalism and Habermasian discourse theory. There are four specific lessons to be learned from these theories. First, the quest should not be for very general and abstract principles with a very broad scope, but rather for principles of an intermediate level of abstraction and a limited scope, which could explain and bring coherence to a set of rules or a legal doctrine, but not to the whole law of contract. Private law principles which are too general and sweeping would risk to neglect the need for internal diversification within private law. Secondly, these private law principles should be situated on the non-constitutional level of ordinary private law, subject to the constitution (including its horizontal effect) which in turn must be compatible, in order to be legitimate, with the political principles of justice that the EU polity has given itself. Thirdly, the CJEU, although an institution that is not in itself a less legitimate lawmaker than the legislator, also when it comes to private law principles, has a strong duty to explain itself and to provide good reasons for adopting general principles of civil law and for choosing certain principles, especially if these principles happen to be controversial, either from a comparative law point of view or along any of the other axes along which European citizens and European Member States may differ. Finally, there is no legitimate place for strong perfectionism in the deliberation on fundamental European private law principles; any private law perfectionism should be either local (in specific doctrines like unfair exploitation) or thin (limited to values like rationality). However, as long as we remain cautious is all these respects, the quest for general private law principles is perfectly legitimate. There is no contradiction per se in seeking to find general private law principles in a pluralist world.