Current Developments

Bouncers beyond Borders

On the (il)legality of EU funding for the Libyan coast guard

Over the past two years, the EU has spent almost 100 million Euro to improve the Libyan coast guard’s ability to implement a “Search and Rescue Zone” in the Mediterranean. This financial cooperation is now the object of a legal complaint, filed by a coalition of NGOs led by the Global Legal Action Network. The complaint alleges that financial support for the Libyan coast guard violates European and international law. …


Book ReviewResponse

Global information governance in pandemic times

In the geopolitics of global health information, international institutional law is more important than ever

The main argument of my book, which we are discussing in this symposium, is that international institutions are not only diplomatic fora, lawmakers or financiers, but also act and govern through information, knowledge and expertise. Their informational activities are governed by a body of law that strikes an uneasy balance between international cooperation, state sovereignty and individual rights. This balance is becoming all the more salient in times of a …


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 …


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 …



Funding Völkerrechtsblog

The German national research funding organization DFG will support Völkerrechtsblog in the coming years

Since its inception in 2014, Völkerrechtsblog has been run by dedicated volunteers who spent countless hours of their spare time, and sometimes even their own money, on the blog. As workload and expectations have been growing, the time has come to secure more sustainable funding and to further professionalize the blog. We are thus happy to announce that Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the German national research funding organization, has awarded funding to …


Journal Cooperation

Access to information and the fourth wave of rights

The Inter-American and the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee, the European Union, Germany, India, South Africa, and Brazil all share one common legal feature: They have recognized “access to information” as an individual fundamental right since the turn of the millennium. Since the 1990s, there has been a veritable “global explosion of freedom of information” as new constitutions have enshrined the right to information, legislators …


Current Developments

Cheating Chile

The (il)legality of information and the World Bank’s “Doing Business” ranking

A rare mea culpa emanated from the leading international development institution, the World Bank, last week. The Bank’s Chief Economist, Paul Romer, told the Wall Street Journal: “I want to make a personal apology to Chile, and to any other country where we conveyed the wrong impression.” Romer, who took his post in late 2016, said he had found “irregularities” in the World Bank’s flagship publication, the “Doing Business” ranking. …


Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

The 12mm-Winchester-Gun and the Global South in Comparative Constitutional Law

Symposium accompanying the 50-year anniversary conference of our partner journal VRÜ

This week, our partner journal Verfassung und Recht in Übersee (VRÜ) / Law and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America celebrates its 50th birthday with an international conference on “The Global South in Comparative Constitutional Law” in Berlin. We will accompany this conference with an online symposium also featured on the blog of the International Association of Constitutional Law. The symposium is not only intended to make the conference …



Open Access on the shores of international legal scholarship

Völkerrechtsblog’s experience with providing open access to scholars from 156 countries around the world

The digital revolution is hitting the shores of academic publishing. Online resources increasingly gain ground, and open access has become the call of the day – and a hotly debated issue. Political and academic initiatives favor and fund open access, for instance the digital strategy of the German Ministry of Education and Research or the Open Access 2020 initiative of the Max Planck society. For its advocates, open access promises …


Land GovernanceSymposium

Grab me if you can?

The global scramble for land in local context

This post opens our symposium on “Land governance”, which accompanies an international conference at the Law and Society Institute of Humboldt University Berlin. Lawyers and political scientists from Germany, India and Brazil will reflect on the global scramble for land in local contexts. Land as such is a rather localized phenomenon, but land governance matters in much wider political, economic, social and ecological contexts: Control over land has always been …