Events

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Upcoming Events

21.06.2021 Law and Humanities Roundtable 2021: Change and the Law

Presenter: Dorothea Endres, PhD Candidate International Law,  Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID

At the third annual Law and Humanities roundtable, which features four original, interdisciplinary, and humanities-focused paper presentations reflectington the theme of change, this presentation will demonstrate how the concept of norm knitting can be useful for the analysis of legal change. The broad starting point is that one can begin the knitting project with one needle, but to actually construct anything, more than one needle is necessary: at least two actors need to collaborate and build upon each other’s work. If those two actors neatly agree upon the pattern to be knitted, the resulting sheet may be uniform and dense, able to cover all situations it is intended for. However, it is not that easy to knit in exactly the same pace and pattern. Sometimes, the wool is held too tightly, and the net becomes too dense; sometimes the wool is held too loosely, and the net will have holes. The constructed law may not fit perfectly all situations it is intended for, because the different actors may have had different patterns in their head. This visualization provides for an innovative analytical tool that makes it possible to demonstrate the variety in ‘successful’ change of a given norm in international law in response to specific challenges the actors face.


Past Events

03.05.2021 Paths Panel VI: The Interaction of Law and Politics in Norm Implementation

Anette Stimmer,  Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow, University of Oxford

Discussant: Lisbeth Zimmermann, Chair of International Relations, Zeppelin University
Moderator: Nico Krisch, Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID

When states conclude negotiations and ratify international treaties such as the Paris Agreement, we consider this a significant development. There is now an expectation that those who joined the international agreement will make efforts to implement it. This paper analyses the following question: what does a state’s effort to implement a norm of international law tell us about its commitment to that norm? I propose that we can infer a state’s degree of commitment by looking at the consistency and publicity of words and actions and the state’s engagement with the international community. Depending on whether a state’s discourse and behaviour exhibit low or strong levels of commitment, we can then identify weak normative influence, strong normative influence, norm avoidance, or internalisation. I, therefore, speak to both the first and second strand of norm research that Wiener and Orchard identify by looking at the process of implementation and by emphasising the agency of states in this process.


07.04.2021 ISA Panel – International Legal Order in the Making: Pathways for Change and Sources of Resilience

Chair: Nina Reiners, Postdoctoral Researcher in International Relations at the University of Potsdam
Discussant: Antje Wiener, Professor of Political Science and Global Governance, University of Hamburg
Organisers: Nico Krisch, Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID
Ezgi Yildiz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID

Panel: Orfeo Fioretos, Associate Professor of Political Science at Temple University
Giovanni Mantilla, Lecturer Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge
Nico Krisch, Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID & Ezgi Yildiz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID
Wayne Sandholtz, John A. McCone Chair in International Relations and Professor of International Relations and Law, University of Southern California
Mark A. Pollack, Professor of Political Science and Law and Jean Monnet Chair, Temple University


08.03.2021 Paths Panel V: The Narrowing of the European Court of Human Rights? Legal Diplomacy, Situational Self-Restraint and Dejudicialisation

Mikael Rask Madsen, Professor of European Law and Integration & Director of iCourts, Centre of Excellence for international Courts, University of Copenhagen

Discussant: Corina Heri, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Law of the University of Zurich
Moderator: Ezgi Yildiz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID

In recent years, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has faced a growing number of challenges, stemming, among other reasons, from problems with the implementation of some of its judgments, an upsurge of sovereigntist sentiments in some member states and the rise of de facto illiberal democracies within its jurisdiction. This article examines the effects that these changing contexts have had on the operation of the ECtHR. In very general terms, the article finds that the ECtHR has become increasingly more restrained, but that this restraint plays out in multiple different ways which reflect the structural differences among the member states with regard to the protection of human rights. The article argues that the ECtHR has developed a new and differentiated legal rationality that combines elements of its original legal diplomacy with new forms of strategic deference and a different vision for its overarching role in the protection of European human rights. Overall, the result is a narrowing of the role of the Court.


Screen Shot 2020-11-30 at 5.21.16 PM30.11. to 10.12.2021: Authors’ Workshop on “The Paths of Change in International Law”
Convenors: Nico Krisch & Ezgi Yildiz. Twenty scholars of international law and international relations, from junior to senior, held virtual in-depth discussions on draft chapters for a joint volume around the project theme. The program is available here: Paths of International Law Workshop Program.


12.11.2020 Paths Panel IV: Letting External Norms in: How Do Courts Behave When Reviewing Environmental Norms?
Ezgi Yildiz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID
Chanya Punyakumpol, PhD Candidate International Law, Research Assistant, Center for Trade and Economic Integration, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID
Carlos Antonio Cruz Carrillo, Research Assistant, Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID

Discussant: Mark Pollack, Professor of Political Science and Law and Jean Monnet Chair, Temple University
Moderator: Nico Krisch, Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID

How do courts treat norms that are external to their foundational document?

In this paper, we seek to understand the way international courts develop external norms – subject matters that are not explicitly mentioned in, or otherwise not the main objectives of, their constitutive treaties. Applying a tripartite typology, we assess whether they tend to proactively develop the norm and encourage judicial fertilization (i.e. acting as entrepreneurs), or apply establish reasoning introduced in previous rulings (i.e. acting as arbitrators), or issue evasive rulings and employ judicial economy (i.e. acting as delineators). In so doing, we analyze whether they act entrepreneurial or deferential and we distinguish deference to legal authorities from deference to states. We analyze the patterns of judicial behavior looking at the case of environmental norms across three fields of international law, namely trade, human rights, and law of the sea.

This exploratory research sheds light not only on the link between judicial behavior and citation patterns, but also on diverging and converging judicial strategies when addressing environmental norms.


15.10.2020 Paths Panel III: Norm(ative) Change in International Relations: A Conceptual Framework
Antje Wiener, Professor of Political Science and Global Governance, University of Hamburg

Discussant: Erna Burai, Postdoctoral Researcher, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID
Moderator: Nico Krisch, Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID

Current contestations of the liberal international order stand in notable contrast with the earlier rise of international law during the post-cold war period. As Krieger and Liese argue, this situation calls for assessment of the type of change that is currently observed, i.e. norm change (Wandel) or a more fundamental transformation of international law – a metamorphosis (Verwandlung)? To address this question, this paper details the bi-focal approach to norms in order to reflect and take account of the complex interrelation between fact-based and value-based conceptions of norms.


28.10.2019 In the Name of the Holy Trinity: Examining Credibility under Anarchy through 250 Years of Treaty-Making
Krzysztof J. Pelc, Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar, Department of Political Science McGill University

Where does the binding force of international treaties come from?

This article considers three centuries of international peace treaties to chart how signatories have sought to convince one another of the viability of their commitments. It shows how one means of doing so was by invoking divine authority: treaty violations were punished by divine sanction in heaven and excommunication on earth.


6-7.06.2019 The Paths of International Law Workshop

Convenors: Nico Krisch, Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID
Ezgi Yildiz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID

In the workshop, we seek to bring together leading and rising scholars from different
disciplines – law, international relations, and political sociology – to explore these issues in a small and interactive format. We are particularly interested in sharpening the contrasts
between different theoretical and methodological approaches, and invite participants to
develop distinctive arguments rather than ecumenical accounts. If you are interested in joining the workshop as an auditor for the morning sessions please contact the PATHS team. The preliminary programme is now available here.


16.05.2019 Paths Panel II: The Authority of Legal Instruments: Perspectives from IHL and Environmental Law

This panel brings together recent research analyzing the authority of legal instruments – be it international, regional or national – in the fields of IHL and International Environmental Law.

Linus Mührel, Freie Universität Berlin
“The Authority of Interpretations and Law-Ascertainments of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Course of Times”
Linus examines how the ICRC’s output has impacted the contemporary understanding of relevant notions of IHL in the legal practice of international courts, states, as well as in international legal scholarship, thereby succeeding in occasioning change in international law.

Aylin Yildiz, World Trade Institute
“The Law and Governance of Climate Change and Migration: A Case Study from Fiji”
Aylin analyses the recent climate change and migration instruments of Fiji in light of regional and international initiatives, and finds that cooperative governance structures are crucial to inform and strengthen national frameworks.

Discussants: Lucy Lu Reimers, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID, Francesco Romani, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law- University of Cambridge


12.12.2018 Paths Panel I: Transnational Lawmaking
Nina Reiners, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Chair of International Politics, University of Potsdam, Johannes Fahner, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Luxembourg
Discussant: Ezgi Yildiz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID
Moderator: Nico Krisch, Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies – IHEID

This panel brings together new research on international adjudication and transnational lawmaking coalitions. In particular, the participants discuss the authority of international judges and the treaty bodies, and shed light on international lawmaking processes.
Dr Reiners will present her research insights from her postdoctoral projectFrom International to Transnational Human Rights Lawmaking”, while Dr Hendrik Fahner will share his research insights from his dissertationIntensity of Review in International Courts and Tribunals – A Comparative Analysis of Deference“.

03.12.2018 Colloquium: Measuring the Topology of Institutional Complexity
James Hollway, Assistant Professor Political Science/International Relations, IHEID

To date the research on regime complexes has typically developed theory with reference to single policy areas. Our paper argues that a comparative perspective on both the statics and dynamics of regime complexity is an important next step in theory development, but that commensuration is first required. Given different characteristics across policy domains, we propose a topological typology based on two structural dimensions: dominance and coherence.


29.10.2018 Colloquium: An Extended Critique of International Adjudication
Ingo Venzke, Professor of International Law and Social Justice, University of Amsterdam

The paper illustrates how different ways of thinking about past judicial decisions effects their appearance. More specifically, it draws on insights from experiments to show what explaining past judicial decisions not only increases the perceived likelihood of those decisions but also makes them look more just. Conversely, thinking about alternative decisions makes them look less likely and less agreeable. In short, the appearance of the path of international law very much depends on the posture with which it is received.


06.06.2018 Colloquium: Human Rights Treaty Obligations and State Commitment
Wayne Sandholtz, Professor of International Relations and Law, University of Southern California

Research on human rights treaty commitment analyzes the costs of ratifying treaties in terms of regime type and other state-level attributes. But little scholarship to date has analyzed the effects of treaty design, in particular, the substance of treaty obligations, on the likelihood of ratification. We analyze new data that code every provision of ten global human rights treaties for the strength and precision of the obligations they contain. We classify obligations that are strong, precise, and that require domestic action as “demanding.” We hypothesize that treaties containing more of these demanding obligations would be seen as more costly to ratify because they imply potentially greater policy adaptation or compliance costs. Event history analyses are consistent with that hypothesis.


04.06.2018 PATHS Brainstorming Workshop

This workshop brought together scholars from the Graduate Institute and the broader Geneva area to discuss preliminary ideas for the project. The aim was to explore potential synergies with other research projects currently undertaken in Geneva and beyond, and engage in a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue. We also initiated a conversation about the ways in which legal change occurs in different issue areas and the differences between them.


14.05.2018 Colloquium: Global Lawmakers: The Sociology of International Organizations in the Crafting of World Markets
Terence Halliday, Research Professor, American Bar Foundation, and Susan Block-Lieb, Professor of Law, Fordham Law School

Global lawmaking by international organizations holds the potential for enormous influence over world trade and national economies. Representatives from states, industries, and professions produce laws for worldwide adoption in an effort to alter state lawmaking and commercial behaviors, whether of giant multi-national corporations or micro, small and medium-sized businesses. Who makes that law and who benefits affects all states and all market players. Global Lawmakers offers the first extensive empirical study of commercial lawmaking within the United Nations. It shows who makes law for the world, how they make it, and who comes out ahead.
Using extensive and unique data, the book investigates three episodes of lawmaking between the late 1990s and 2012. Through its original socio-legal orientation, it reveals dynamics of competition, cooperation and competitive cooperation within and between international organizations, including the UN, World Bank, IMF and UNIDROIT, as these IOs craft international laws.
Global Lawmakers proposes an original theory of international organizations that seek to construct transnational legal orders within social ecologies of lawmaking. The book concludes with an appraisal of creative global governance by the UN in international commerce over the past fifty years and examines prospective challenges for the twenty-first century.