Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

The new wave of law and development

This short note was inspired by the 2019 Law and Development Research Network Conference in Berlin.  The Conference was organised by the Chair for Public Law and Comparative Law at Humboldt University, and was attended by over two hundred scholars from thirty-nine countries under the heading ‘The plurality of law and development’. I am greatly indebted to those who offered their views at the conference; what follows, however, is a …

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Current Developments

(Un-)Precedented?

The relevance of the Urgenda case to the Children vs. Climate Crisis Communication

The communication brought by sixteen children before the Committee on the Rights of the Child to address the effects of states’ inaction on climate change seems at first glance unprecedented and foreign to our common ideas about international environmental law. Yet, as the Urgenda case shows, a rights-based approach to climate change is not wholly unheard of. Individual communications to the Committee on the Rights of the Child              The fact …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Reflections on the history and future of Law and Development

Recording of David Trubek’s Keynote Lecture at the LDRN Conference

Watch here the recording of  the Keynote Lecture of David Trubek (University of Wisconsin-Madison) who reflects upon the history and future of Law and Development and its main current challenges, as part of his keynote at the LDRN Conference at Humboldt University Berlin on 27 September 2019. The keynote is followed by a roundtable discussion with Celine Tan (University of Warwick), Morag Goodwin (Tilburg University), Johanna Cortes (University of Rosario), …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Social justice – a vehicle for transformative constitutionalism

Recording of Justice Madan Lokur’s Keynote Lecture at the LDRN Conference

Watch here the recording of the Keynote of Justice Madan Lokur (Supreme Court of India) who explains the challenges and opportunities of transformative constitutionalism as a vehicle for social justice, held at the LDRN Conference at Humboldt University Berlin on 26 September 2019.     If your browser does not support the video format, you can watch the keynote here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P6CYO-VzuE&t=10s

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Towards comparative legal institutionalism

Recording of Katharina Pistor’s Keynote Lecture at the LDRN Conference

Watch here the Keynote Lecture of Katharina Pistor (Columbia Law School) reflecting on questions of method and theory through her approach of “comparative legal institutionalism”, opening the LDRN Conference at Humboldt University Berlin on 25 September 2019. The Keynote is followed by a comment by Prof. David Trubek (University of Wisconsin-Madison). If your browser does not support the video format, you can watch the keynote here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caJ63vDbbUY&t=20s

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Current Developments

More than just a scientific report

The global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services as scientific and political tool

In May 2019, headlines worldwide suddenly became concerned with biodiversity. News sites and journals all quoted a report from the United Nations and its alarming conclusions that a million species could go extinct in the near future. In other terms, approximately one out of eight species, both plant and animal, is threatened with extinction. This massive extinction will be accompanied by a global ecosystem collapse and the consequent loss of …

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Current Developments

International climate change adjudication: A means to amplify voices of the global south?

Traditionally, the UN Climate change regime has been premised on an intergovernmental negotiations paradigm where political actors play the dominant role in the development of norms. In this post, I argue for using international adjudication as a supplementary tool to complement international negotiations. Adjudication, which entails the participation of impartial, third‑party decision makers, might help us overcome blind spots of negotiations by redistributing argumentative burdens and providing an expressive function …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Alternatives to Development in the Andes

Contesting cosmovisions and their path towards recognition

The concept of “development” has become a buzzword for social change, economic redistribution and ultimately socio-economic rights. This concerns both economic relations maintained in the international community built on the premise of State sovereignty and resulting intergovernmental agreements. Manifestations of such realities are manifold including a dominating WTO-steered legal order; new international trade deals such as current EU-Mercosur negotiations on the most extensive free trade zone on earth; the CETA …

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Current DevelopmentsResponse

Not for sale?

Some thoughts on human rights in cases of cession of territory

Pierre Thielbörger and Timeela Manandhar have given an innovative and thought-provoking account of the lawfulness of the incumbent US president’s potential plans to purchase Greenland. Vividly and succinctly they make their case against the possibility of a sale of the island under international law. However, their colorful picture of the legal scenery arguably glosses over some nuances. I do not intend to comment again on President Trump’s announced intention to acquire the …

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Current Developments

Thank you, Greta & friends!

Procedural aspects on the climate crisis-related communication to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Sixteen children, among them the popular Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, from 12 different countries have filed a communication to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure. The communication complains of a rights violation by five different states: Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey. The petitioners’ claim: Each of these states …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Scholars in mutual estrangement?

Transformative constitutionalism meets law and development

There is a curious estrangement between two scholarly communities that ought to have a lot in common: The first studies “transformative constitutionalism”, the second “law and development”. There is considerable thematic, geographical and methodological overlap between the two. Yet, the two strands of scholarship do not systematically connect. My argument in this post is that connecting the two approaches is productive because it confronts each side with its own blind …

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Current Developments

Nord Stream 2: Arbitration Notices from Moscow

Sometimes the unimaginable becomes reality: Donald Trump, his Democrat counterparts, the European Parliament and the European Commission are all united – in their opposition against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The construction of this mega project, a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that is to supplement the existing Nord Stream twin-pipeline in the Baltic Sea, has caused a stir on both sides of the Atlantic. Observers who thought that …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Empowerment of indigenous and ethnic groups

Comparing cases on land use under the ACHPR and ECHR

Ten years ago, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decided on the admissibility of the case Handölsdalen Sami Village and Others v Sweden dealing with the land use of the Sami and their reindeer herds. In the same year, the Endorois case was decided by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AComHPR), concerning the land use of another indigenous people, the Endorois. The outcome of these two …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

A slow revolution to protect the poor and vulnerable?

The International Monetary Fund’s Social Spending Strategy 2019

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the “single most influential international actor not only in relation to fiscal policy but also to social protection”. This is how the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights has recently characterized the IMF. The statement recognizes the importance of IMF policy-making for the sustainable financing of social protection frameworks. In June 2019 the IMF acknowledged this role with the adoption of the …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Increasing the benefits, reducing the costs

Adding competitiveness to the theory and practice of free trade agreements and regional integration in Africa

With an increase in the spread and impact of independent regulatory agencies, Africa now has a nascent but significant network of competition authorities and other economic regulators.  This growth in African regulatory practice and influence contributes to the value of adding the factor of competitiveness to the theory and practice of African regional integration.  To add competitiveness may well increase the total benefits and speed of these developments of multinational …

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Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

The plurality of law and development

Reflections on a field in transformation

As a legal field, law and development is often traced back to the movement of US-American scholars and practitioners in the 1960s and 1970s, both epitomized and criticized by David Trubek’s seminal article “Scholars in Self-Estrangement”. While this strand remains an important reference, the story of law and development is arguably broader, more plural and more global. The plurality of law and development is marked by a variety of national …

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