20 March 2015

ARTICLE ANNOUNCEMENT: Introduction: Religious Law in the 21st Century

By Michael A. Helfand Pepperdine 
University School of Law

Professor Helfand introduces this symposium on Religious Law in the 21st Century. Helfand notes that a recurring theme in recent debates over the relationship between law and religion is the unique challenge of reconciling conflicts not just between law and religion, but between the law of the nation-state and “religious legal communities” -- that is, communities that primarily experience their religious norms through the prism of legal rules. Muslim and Jewish communities serve as prime examples of such religious legal communities, and the challenges faced by these communities often parallel each other in important ways. Thus, an important subset of contemporary religious controversies -- from circumcision bans to anti-Sharia laws -- emerge as not only conflicts between law and religion, but as conflicts between law and law. And it is to this unique set of questions that the jointly-sponsored program of the Islamic Law and Jewish Law Sections of the American Association of Law Schools was addressed. The program was split into two thematic panels, and the articles in this symposium reflect those themes. The first -- titled “Religious Law in U.S. Courts” -- considered the various contexts in which U.S. courts have been asked to address religious questions that touch upon religious law. The second -- titled “Religious Law in the Secular State” -- considered contemporary issues related to the practice and implementation of religious law in secular democracies. Together, these papers bring new insight to these questions and serve as a springboard for discussion and debate about how religious law will fit into the ever-evolving landscape of the 21st century.

Click here to download this paper.

19 March 2015

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT: 2nd Annual International & Comparative Urban Law Conference

June 29, 2015, Paris, France

The Fordham Urban Law Center is pleased to announce a call for participation for the 2nd Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference, to be held on Monday, June 29, 2015
The all-day Conference will be held at the Sorbonne Law School at the Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne in Paris, France. The Conference is co-sponsored by the Sorbonne Center for Study and Research on Environmental, Development, Urban and Tourism Law (SERDEAUT).

TOPICS: The Conference will provide a dynamic forum for legal and other scholars to engage and generate diverse international, comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives in the burgeoning field of urban law. The Conference will explore overlapping themes, tensions and opportunities for deeper scholarly investigation and practice with a comparative perspective across the following urban law topics, among others:
- Structure and workings of local authority and autonomy
- Urban governance
- Environmental sustainability
- Economic and community development
- Criminal justice
- Urban public health
- Affordable housing
- Municipal finance
- Local government consumer protection
- Family law and urban planning

The goal of the Conference is to facilitate an in-depth engagement across sub-specialties within the legal academy to help develop an understanding of urban law in the twenty-first century.

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION: Potential participants in panels and workshops at the Conference should submit a one-page proposal to Nisha Mistry, Director, Fordham Urban Law Center, at nmistry2@law.fordham.edu

If you have a draft paper, please include it with your proposal. Participants do not need to have prepared a formal paper in order to join the program. Deadline for topic proposal submissions: April 20, 2015.

PUBLICATION: This year, the Urban Law Center will publish the first edition of a multi-year book series compiling cross-cutting global perspectives on law and urbanism, with a core focus on comparative enquiry. This Conference will serve as the basis for the second volume in this series, which will be published by Ashgate (as part of Juris Diversitas) following customary review and selection processes. If you are interested in potential publication, please indicate this interest at the time of your proposal submission.

ABOUT THE URBAN LAW CENTER: The Urban Law Center at Fordham Law School in New York City is committed to investigating and affecting the role of the law and legal systems in contemporary urbanism. Seehttp://law.fordham.edu/urbanlawcenter.htm for more information about the Center.

ABOUT SERDEAUT: Today, SERDEAUT is the only research center in France dedicated to environmental, development, urban, housing, and tourism law altogether. These research and expertise themes directly concern the socio-economic problems that are currently of the utmost importance in France, Europe, and the rest of the world: sustainable development, territorial cohesion, economic development and housing. See for more information about SERDEAUT.

CALL FOR PAPERS: The 5th International Conference on Language, Law and Discourse


The 5th International Conference on Language, Law and Discourse
27 September-1 October 2015

Communication and Fairness in Legal Settings

For additional information, see the conference website here.
Note that the deadline for abstracts is quickly approaching!

JURIS DIVERSITAS - BOOK: Berti, Good, and Tarabout (eds), Of Doubt and Proof: Ritual and Legal Practices of Judgment

  • We're very proud to note the latest publication in the Juris Diversitas Series
  • Berti, Good, and Tarabout (eds), Of Doubt and Proof: Ritual and Legal Practices of Judgment
  • All institutions concerned with the process of judging - whether it be deciding between alternative courses of action, determining a judge’s professional integrity, assigning culpability for an alleged crime, or ruling on the credibility of an asylum claimant - are necessarily directly concerned with the question of doubt. By putting ritual and judicial settings into comparative perspective, in contexts as diverse as Indian and Taiwanese divination and international cricket, as well as legal processes in France, the UK, India, Denmark, and Ghana, this book offers a comprehensive and novel perspective on techniques for casting and dispelling doubt, and the roles they play in achieving verdicts or decisions that appear both valid and just.

    Broadening the theoretical understandings of the social role of doubt, both in social science and in law, the authors present these understandings in ways that not only contribute to academic knowledge but are also useful to professionals and other participants engaged in the process of judging. This collection will consequently be of great interest to academics researching in the fields of legal anthropology, ritual studies, legal sociology, criminology, and socio-legal studies.
    • The Contents, Introduction, and Index are available here.
    • Reviews: 
    • ‘Of Doubt and Proof highlights issues of considerable importance for the social sciences, not least for lawyers and others such as anthropologists concerned with what Bourdieu called the “juridical field”. Its comparative scope, with studies of ritual and judicial processes in Africa, Asia and Europe, is especially impressive and enhances its originality.’
    • Ralph Grillo, University of Sussex, UK

      ‘Doubt is not the opposite of belief, as anthropologists have recently shown, but depends upon belief and in turn helps to constitute it. This book, in writing that is both precise and wonderfully imaginative, explores this apparent paradox in relation to the legal terrain, where doubt is routinely cast and then dispelled through compelling public performances. In the process, the book - showing how law and ritual may have much more in common than formerly supposed - innovatively ranges across settings from asylum courts in France, Denmark and the UK, through Indian temple consultations, to Chinese divination. It ambitiously challenges us to think beyond the level of the obvious, while also making a thoughtful and rigorous contribution to the novel field of the anthropology of doubt and evidence.’
    • Deborah James, London School of Economics, UK

      ‘This volume represents a crucial intervention into the question of what happens in institutional settings where doubt must be exercised, not as a presumed internal or affective state, but as a technique of knowledge formation. The cases presented here show that doubt is such a successful technique that it must be managed through a host of other social forms. These cases also show that it is often divinatory practices, and not courtroom judgements, in which doubt is more rigorously exercised in arriving at a decision. This is a collection that shows through felicitous juxtaposition of the legal and the ritual how the former shares far more sociological elements with the latter than is often acknowledged.’
    • Melissa Demian, The Australian National University
  • About the Editors: 
  • Daniela Berti is ‘Chargée de Recherche’ at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, and a member of the Centre for Himalayan Studies at Villejuif. Her research in North India focuses on ritual interactions, politico-ritual roles and practices formerly associated with kingship, and on the ethnography of court cases in India. She recently coordinated with Gilles Tarabout an international research programme funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), entitled Just-India: A Joint Programme on Justice and Governance in India and South Asia.

    Anthony Good is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, and formerly Head of the School of Social & Political Science. His research interests cover Tamil Nadu (South India), and Sri Lanka. He frequently acts as an expert witness in asylum appeals involving Sri Lankan Tamils. His recent research concerns uses of expert evidence in British asylum courts, and (with Robert Gibb) a comparative study of asylum processes in the UK and France.

    Gilles Tarabout is Emeritus ‘Directeur de Recherche’ at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), and formerly head of the Centre for Ethnology and Comparative Sociology (LESC), at the University of Paris West-Nanterre. His research focuses especially on relationships between society and religion in Kerala (South India). He has recently been coordinating with Daniela Berti an international research programme funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), entitled Just-India: A Joint Programme on Justice and Governance in India and South Asia.

18 March 2015

SERIES/BOOK: Global Law and Walker on Intimations of Global Law

A new Global Law Series has been announced at Cambridge:

The series provides unique perspectives on the way globalisation is radically altering the study, discipline and practice of law. Featuring innovative books in this growing field, the series explores those bodies of law which are becoming global in their application, and the newly emerging interdependency and interaction of different legal systems. It covers all major branches of the law and includes work on legal theory, history and the methodology of legal practice and jurisprudence under conditions of globalisation. Offering a major platform on global law, these books provide essential reading for students and scholars of comparative, international and transnational law.

Neil Walker’s Intimations of Global Law is the first text in the Series:

A strain of law reaching beyond any bounded international or transnational remit to assert a global jurisdiction has recently acquired a new prominence. Intimations of Global Law detects this strain in structures of international law claiming a planetary scope independent of state consent, in new threads of global constitutional law, administrative law and human rights, and in revived notions of ius gentium and the global rule of law. It is also visible in the legal pursuit of functionally differentiated global public goods, general conflict rules, norms of 'legal pluralism' and new legal hybrids such as the global law of peace and humanity law. The coming of global law affects how law manifests itself in a global age and alters the shape of our legal-ethical horizons. Global law presents a diverse, unsettled and sometimes conflicted legal category, and one which challenges our very understanding of the rudiments of legal authority.

16 March 2015

ARTICLE ANNOUNCEMENT:Whither Egypt? Against Religious Fascism and Legal Authoritarianism: Pure Revolution, Popular Coup, or a Military Coup D’État?

By Mohamed A. Arafa
Indiana International & Comparative Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 4, 2014

One important question has been raised since the now-removed Islamist President Mohammad Morsi took the office of the Republic on June 30, 2012: will Egypt be an Islamic State with legislation based onIslamic (Sharia) Law? Egyptian people expel the accusations proliferated by extremist streams and radical Islamists that the concept of a “civil (secular) State” is anti-religious or that it interests only the prosperous minority. Such untrue discourse and dialogue by extremists misinforms the folks, as the human logic and knowledge shows that a State which is based on just laws, fair statutes, and respect for human rights is not antagonistic to religion, and is in the public interest of the whole community. Furthermore, playing on religious sentimentalities by saying that God’s (Allah’s) sovereignty — as argued by some rigid classical religious jurists — rather than the people destabilizes the legal institutions and main foundations of the modern democratic civil state by adopting and codifying theocratic and radical notions takes Egypt back into the Dark Ages. Accordingly, this opens the door to complicated issues in constitutional litigation, and the enactment and repeal of legal rulings according to religious interpretations based on misunderstanding of the principles of divine sovereignty in Islamic law.

In this domain, the conflation of Islam and Islamism has permeated the interpretation of Egypt’s ethnic and personal character, leading one legal and political scholar to label the Muslim Brotherhood as “the Muslims” or “Islamic” while calling their opponents “non-Islamic.” Islamism is considered a vague politicization of a specific religious attitude throughout the Middle Eastern Arabian World and cannot be associated with Islam as a belief or faith. The Egyptian Government, along with Egyptians, are in favor of having a place in a civil democratic Egypt for quiet, peaceful Islamists who would not want to change the State’s national character and the form of its government into an Islamic religious theocracy. The scuffle to define and explain the concept of “Islam” in Egypt has a long legal and constitutional history as those who favor political Islam square off against those who prefer a more secular-oriented form of government. Generally speaking, the state’s main obligation in any country is to preserve public order and protect and defend its national citizens. This duty is generally difficult to harmonize with the accountability of any non-state dynamic.

To further illustrate the far-reaching effects of the June 30 and July 3 events, this Article contains four parts including the introduction. Part two provides a concise framework establishing the theoretical and ethical underpinnings of Egyptian politics. Then, part three discusses the definition of the relevant religious laws and legislation in Egypt and how they can be enacted under Islamic law in the light of the flexible Sharia’s definition and interpretation, especially within the new provisions of the 2014 Constitution. This Article concludes in part four by arguing that talks about Islam, Islamism, and political Islam are understood only as discourse about power, and always will impede any régime [tyrannical and autonomous] that does not generate a place for its survival. What Egypt essentially needs at the present status quo — more than anything else — is an Islamic resurgence and religious revival in the light of an innovative reinterpretation of Islam [Islamic law] and its teachings as a dialogue of freedom and liberty. Whatever the ultimate aftermath is in Egypt, it will cause undulations that will resonate throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Click here to download this paper.

15 March 2015

SPEAKERS: Irish Society of Comparative Law Conference (5-6 June 2015)

The plenary speakers of the Irish Society of Comparative Law Conference, to be held at the University of Limerick (Ireland) immediately after the Juris Diversitas Conference, have been announced.

Comparative legal historians Kjell Å Modéer and Mia Korpiola will speak. Each is an important member of the European Society for Comparative Legal History.

You should consider staying for both conferences ...

More details on the conference will follow soon.

UPDATE (Keynote Speakers): Juris Diversitas Annual Conference (2-4 June 2015)

UPDATE (Keynote Speakers): Juris Diversitas Annual Conference
2-4 June 2015 School of Law University of Limerick

We're pleased to announce that we've confirmed our second plenary speaker for the Juris Diversitas ConferenceKatharina Boele-Woelki (Utrecht). 

As her faculty profile reads, she:

is Professor of Private International Law, Comparative Law and Family Law at Utrecht University, The Netherlands and Extraordinary Professor at the University of the Western Cape, South-Africa. Since 2001 she has been the chair of the Commission on European Family Law which was established upon her initiative.  She is president of the Dutch Association of Family Law, member of the board of the Dutch Association of Comparative Law, and member of several editorial boards of Dutch and European and South-African law journals. She is also a member of various associations, such as the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerrecht as well as theWissenschaftliche Vereinigung für Familienrecht. Since 2003 she has been one of the editors of the European Family Law Series. In 2007 she established the Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law (UCERF). She is a titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law. She has organized prestigious international conferences, delivered numerous guest lectures at various universities around the world and has acted as a reporter, speaker, expert and panel member in many international conferences. In 2011 she has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Uppsala. In 2012 she has received the Anneliese Maier Forschungspreis of theAlexander von Humboldt Stiftung (Germany) for her work in the field of international and European family law. In 2013 she has been elected member of the International Advisory Board of theAlexander von Humboldt Stiftung. In 2014 she has been elected President of the International Academy of Comparative Law.

Brian Tamanaha (Washington - St Louis) will also speak.

JURIS DIVERSITAS: Micro-Jurisdictions and Small States Symposium (The Institute of Law (Jersey), 17 April 2015)

Micro-Jurisdictions & Small States Symposium
The Institute of Law (Jersey)
17 April 2015

In conjunction with the Institute of Law (Jersey), Juris Diversitas will co-host a symposium on micro-jurisdictions and small states in St Helier, Jersey on 17 April 2015.

Those who wish to attend as participants or observers should contact David Marrani (David.Marrani@lawinstitute.ac.je ) or Ignazio Castellucci (ignazio@castellucci.eu). 

Envisioned as the first in a series, the symposium is designed to establish direct avenues of communication between representatives of microjurisdictions and small states from around the globe.

Participants will be prepared to discuss the formation and structures, etc of their respective jurisdictions and traditions. The unique features of micro-jurisdictions will also be considered, eg their:
  • survival over long periods of political aggregation
  • dominance by other jurisdictions
  • unusual or archaic legal mixtures or forms of sovereignty
  • role as financial centres
  • cultural and legal identities

The event will produce three concrete results.
  • An international Network of Micro-Jurisdictions and Small States will be established by the Institute
  • A Project on European Micro-Jurisdictions will be launched by Juris Diversitas
  • Topics for Future Meetings or Projects will be determined, eg legal education and the legal profession