Saturday, May 30, 2009

Write On! International Law in A Time of Change

The 104th American Society of International Law Annual Meeting will convene on 24-27 March 2010 in Washington, DC. The program committee welcomes suggestions for innovative panels, round-tables, and debates from ASIL members on the theme “International Law in a Time of Change.” The committee also calls for “New Voices” paper proposals.
Suggestions and proposals should be in by the rapidly approaching deadline of June 19, 2009. Click here for full details and the submission form for panel suggestions. Click here for details and submission forms for “New Voices” paper proposals.
Hari Osofsky co-chairs the program committee (click here for her IntLawGrrls information), along with Russ LaMotte, and Allen S. Weiner.
The Annual Meeting theme addresses significant new or resurgent uncertainties, challenges, and possibilities facing the discipline. Perhaps there's really “nothing new under the sun,” but it feels as if there have never been so many issues of global scope in which law, law-making, legal institutions, and legal interpretation are so inextricably involved. I'll name just a few:
Global Climate Change (and the regulation of energy production, emissions, and toxic waste disposal);
The Implementation of Human Rights for All (an old problem, but one that now raises new questions about new duty-bearers (businesses, other non-state actors) as well as actual or perceived tensions with other state priorities);
Global Poverty (and new approaches to the role of law in the allocation of food, housing, healthcare, education, and other resources);
Armed Conflict and Terrorism (state abuses of civil rights or civil liberties in response to actual or purported security threats and the efficacy of existing legal norms and institutions in preventing the production, proliferation, threat, or use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons by state and non-state actors);
A Global Financial Crisis (and the need to rethink state, transnational, or private regulatory and governance mechanisms);
New Pandemics and other global threats to health (and the legal norms relevant to public health and security);
Global Discrimination (how law responds to contemporary forms of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, religion, and class-based discrimination and related violence);
The Internet (and related privacy, speech, intellectual property, security, accessibility, and information transfer legal issues).
ASIL’s meeting description indicates interest in a broad range of perspectives on these and other issues:

[T]he 2010 Annual Meeting will consider the extent to which this time of change … does and should impact the nature of international lawmaking. How, if at all, can the model of sovereign and equal nation states consenting to law encompass the increasing roles of subnational, nongovernmental, and corporate actors and the networks interconnecting them? In what ways should the making of treaties and customary international law include new actors and approaches? Which existing and new fora should be available to them? What new international institutions or institutional reforms do contemporary challenges demand? How will the embrace of new institutions and actors – or the failure to embrace them –affect the legitimacy of international law? What dangers or challenges to the international legal system do new approaches to international lawmaking present? Above all, what new substantive norms are required, and how should they be achieved?
IntLawGrrls have had a great deal to say on such issues, so we are likely to be well-represented at the meeting!


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