International Law in Times of Disorder and Contestation

The 2018 Research Forum addresses challenges to the international legal order emanating from dynamics of disengagement from multilateral governance, a perceived erosion of support by states and other stakeholders in existing international institutions, contestation of universal values, shifts in hegemonic power at the global and regional level, and the rise in populist, antiliberal, anti-institutional and isolationist political sentiments in various regions of the world. Such processes occur in tandem with growing concerns about the suitability of the existing international legal structures and approaches to address global phenomena such as migration, cyber-security threats and climate change, and to influence the conduct of non-state actors such as corporations. It is the combination of the ‘re-emergence of the state’ from out of the shadows of multilateralism and international governance, a growing discontent and backlash from multiple sectors of society directed against existing international norms and institutions and the limited ability of the latter to address serious contemporary problems, which generate a sense of crisis and a possible plunge towards world disorder (Although, it may also be claimed that the current state of affairs creates new opportunities for introducing much needed reforms in international law).

The 2018 ESIL Research Forum invites the submission of papers addressing the theme of international law in times of disorder and contestation, including the following set of issues:

  • International governance and reassertions of sovereignty
  • Backlashes against international judicial institutions
  • Challenges to the UN Charter as a global constitutional framework
  • Erosion of the prohibition against the threat and use of force in international law
  • International human rights and humanitarian law, institutions and concepts under new pressures
  • The adequacy of international responses to the migration and refugee crisis
  • Regulation of non-state actors within the existing international legal order
  • International law governing areas and spaces beyond national sovereignty: in search of a new paradigm?
  • New points of equilibrium in international economic law and regional economic integration
  • International responses to intractable/frozen conflicts
  • Universality of values underlying the international legal system
  • Return to the past? Can the pre-Westphalian legal order provide lessons for a post-Westphalian legal order?

Abstracts (of not more than 750 words) should be submitted to ESIL-RFJER2018@mail.huji.ac.il by 15 September 2017.

Access the CfP as a PDF here. 

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