Events

Forthcoming events

  • To be announced.

  • An overview of all past events.

    • T.M.C. Asser Instituut/International Institute of Social Studies/Erasmus School of Law (INFAR Project) Asser Institute, The Hague, 3 April 2019
      Organized by dr. Kinnari Bhatt & dr. Antoine Duval

      The U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights endorsed in 2011 by the U.N. Human Rights Council are structured around three pillars : the duty of the states to protect human rights, the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights, and access to remedy. Yet, the latter has been referred to as “the forgotten pillar”. Alleged victims of human rights violations linked to the activities of transnational corporations (TNCs) are often unable to access national courts to have their cases heard and currently few alternative types of remedies are available. In this context, the OECD National Contact Points (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines) could offer a promising route to access remedies in business and human rights cases. This workshop (organised jointly by International Institute of Social Studies/Erasmus School of Law (INFAR Project) and the Asser Institute) aims to comprehensively explore this possibility and to flesh out under which conditions the NCPs could offer an effective access to remedy as envisaged by the UNGPs under principle 31.

      To do so, we will first focus on dissecting the Bralima/Heineken instance, which is often presented as a success story by the OECD and the various sides involved. We seek to understand the underlying contextual and structural factors explaining why the case is widely perceived as a model NCP case. To do so, we will invite various actors involved in the case to tell their side of the story and walk us through its successful completion. This case study will be complemented by a general discussion with academics and practitioners on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of NCPs across the world. Based on these discussions, we hope to identify some of the key features that (would) support the capacity of NCPs to provide effective remedies.

      For a reflection on the discussions, see this blog by Sanne Taekema.

    • On 19 and 20 October 2018, INFAR coordinator, Dr. Kinnari Bhatt, was invited to participate in an international workshop on 'The International Court of Justice and Chagos'. The workshop was held at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. It was organised by Prof. Dr. Thomas Burri and Dr. Peter Sand. Lawyers from the Universities of Cambridge, Lancaster, Ljubljana, London (Queen Mary), Luxembourg, Milan (Bicocca), Munich (LMU), Newcastle (Northumbria), Oxford, Rotterdam, Tarragona and Trier were invited to discuss with practitioners and observers the application pending before the International Court of Justice for an expert opinion on the status of the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. 

      The outputs from the workshop will be in the form of a series of blog entries that will be coming soon in the peer reviewed online journal Questions of International Law and posted on this website. The video filmed during the workshop on the Chagos Opinion of the International Court of Justice with comments by some participants, including Kinnari Bhatt, is now available. 

      Click here for the full Youtube-video.

    • INFAR members Prof Karin Arts, Dr. Kinnari Bhatt, Dr. Jeff Handmaker, Prof Jonathon Klaaren and Prof Sanne Taekema convened a panel on law based, civil advocacy as an important means for addressing rule of law deficits and problems of development and governance. In their panel, INFAR members and invited speakers explored these trends through the analytical lens of legal mobilization and counterpower in the context of climate change, children’s rights, state capture and law-based civil led social justice advocacy. 

    • The Integrating Normative and Functional Approaches to the Rule of Law and Human Rights (INFAR) Research project at Erasmus School of Law and the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam are hosting a conference on human rights at ISS. Human rights are a core normative idea for law, but need to be instrumentalized/mobilized by various actors in order to function. What happens when that is done? More particularly, what side-effects does the use of human rights by various actors have for human rights as a normative proposition within law and politics? Is it possible to pursue human rights within a legal framework while at the same time criticizing the political and social structures that uphold that human rights framework? Or should we consider these two dimensions as part and parcel of a viable human rights strategy?

      The conference brings together an international mix of scholars to address these questions in a socio-legal context, and focuses on four thematic areas: the law and politics of citizenship, constitutional crises and contestation, rethinking corporate social responsibility, and realizing rights in extractive industries. A keynote address will be delivered by Professor Jonathan Klaaren of the University of the Witwatersrand on 1 June

      A blog post about the conference is available here: https://issblog.nl/2018/05/24/human-rights-inside-and-outside-introducing-the-2018-infar-conference/

    • Panel title:                    Legal Mobilization as a Counterpower to Ethnonationalist Lawfare

      Organizers: Jeff Handmaker and Sanne Taekema, (INFAR-EUR), in cooperation with the Public Interest Litigation Project (PILP)

      Paper 1:           Sanne Taekema (ESL-EUR), ‘In search of counterpowers. Can non-state actors curb government power?’

      This paper explores whether a model of balance of powers can be extended to include non-state actors. Is it possible to revise the theory to include counterpowers outside of the state? The primary focus will be on the possible role of civil society actors, such as citizen groups, non-governmental organizations or the media. The paper will develop a theoretical notion of counterpower and explore a distinction between direct and indirect checks on government action.

      Paper 2:           Jeff Handmaker (ISS-EUR), ‘Ethnonationalist lawfare and the pro-migrant legal mobilization challenge’

      There have been a range of restrictive measures taken against migrants in recent years by governments, that more closely resemble ethnonationalist, autocratic regimes than liberal democratic states. Such measures go beyond earlier crimmigration efforts and are rooted in populism, framed by the illusion of containment and drawing on the mantra of irregular migration as a thin form of justification. Meanwhile, civic-led, law-based efforts to protect migrants and advocate for a more rights-respecting policies are making it difficult for such restrictive measures to take hold legally, particularly at the local/municipal level, serving as a counterpower to ethnonationalist lawfare against migrants.

      An analytical lens of lawfare can explain state-led, ethnonationalist instrumentalization of law against migrants. Legal mobilization as an analytical lens can explain the potential for civic-led legal instrumentalism to protect migrants against retrogressive measures by the state.

      This paper argues against conflation of lawfare and legal mobilization, as some authors do, in favour of a strict, analytical distinction between these two forms of legal instrumentalism, each having strong distinguishing features. Two features that will be examined in this paper concern the (questionable) legitimacy of the respective forms and the structural bias of (international) law that preserves particular values and can be either highly constraining or a form of political leverage.

      Paper 3:           Jelle Klaas (PILP), ‘Strategic litigation as counterpower’

      Sometimes alternative routes to justice are blocked. Sometimes dialogue and lobbying are ineffective on their own. In these cases, legal action may be necessary as a form of “counterpower” to curb government overreach, or harms caused by corporations. The Amsterdam-based Public Interest Litigation Project or PILP pursues what it describes as ‘strategic litigation’, a concept that is in fact broader than what most legal advocacy organizations traditionally understand strategic litigation to be, and incorporates various forms of law-based, civic-led advocacy.

      Strategic litigation, according to PILP is the use of legal action to bring about certain social, political or legal changes. The goal of strategic litigation is not to win a case for a particular client, but the impact the legal procedure can have on broader interests and can also be seen as “impact litigation”. Strategic litigation complements other ways of bringing about change; from lobbying and advocacy to community organizing and protests. An organization focused on strategic litigation should therefore act as an ally to activists, NGOs and grass roots organizations. Usually, the aim is to go to court for a legal victory, but sometimes you can win by losing a case. Where injustice is exposed and publicity generated, there is often an opportunity for non-state actors to be a form of counterpower, regardless of the outcome of the case.

    • On 3 February 2017, INFAR member dr. Jeff Handmaker has delivered an invited public lecture at at the Leiden Socio-legal Seminar Series, organised by Leiden University. The lecture was entitled ‘Peering through the legal mobilisation lens to analyse the potential of legal advocacy’.

      Full announcement and the abstract of the lecture can be found here: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/news/2017/01/peering-through-the-legal-mobilisation-lens-to-analyse-the-potential-of-legal-advocacy

      On 14-16 September, 2017, dr. Handmaker also presents a paper at the European Law and Development Research Conference in Ostende, Belgium, hosted by the University of Antwerp. His presentation will be based on his paper titled ‘Evaluating the potential of law and development through the lens of legal mobilization.’ The conference focuses on perspectives from the Global South on the field of Law and Development. 

      Full program of the conference, see here: https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/conferences/law-development-conference-days/

    • 12-13 June, 2017 INFAR members dr. Jeff Handmaker, prof. Sanne Taekema, prof. Karin Arts and INFAR visiting professor Kim Lane Scheppele organised a colloquium at Princeton University.

      The colloquium, entitled ‘Legal Mobilization in a World Marked By Populism and Crisis‘, drew a select group of speakers from across the USA and abroad. The goals of the invitation-only colloquium was to bring together scholars and experts to better understand legal mobilization (LM), both as an academic concept and approach, and as a strategy for advocates; to stimulate a relevant research agenda on LM that is informed by current, pressing challenges faced by legal advocates; and to share strategies for LM in light of contemporary political crises in the USA and the Netherlands.

      On 13 June, 2017, a public seminar was organized as an extension of the colloquium. At the seminar titled ‘Legal Mobilization at a Time of Political Crisis in Europe and North America‘, INFAR members dr. Jeff Handmaker and prof. Sanne Taekema presented their research at a panel along with prof. Susam Akram of Boston University, Jelle Klaas from the Public Interest Litigation Project, and Baher Azmy from Center for Constitutional Rights.

      For full announcement, see here https://lapa.princeton.edu/content/legal-mobilization-time-political-crisis-europe-and-north-america

      Both the colloquium and the public seminar were organised by INFAR in co-operation with the Public Interest Litigation Project (PILP) of the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM), the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) and the Law and Public Affairs Program of Princeton University

    • The INFAR Research Excellence Initiative at Erasmus School of Law invites you to a seminar on: “Recent Developments in Militant Democracy”

      In this seminar, prof. Roel de Lange and dr. Nick Efthymiou will give a presentation of a new report they wrote, discussing ways constitutional systems – in particular those of Germany, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America – defend themselves against the rise of anti-democratic organisations. The report was written on request of the Dutch government. It was submitted to the Dutch parliament earlier this year.

      Prof. Kim Lane Scheppele, professor of sociology and international affairs at Princeton University, will serve as a discussant.

      Date: Friday, 2 June 2017, 14:00-15:45.

      Venue: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Woudestein Campus

    • On 28 and 29 January, 2016, an international conference was held at Hotel New York, Rotterdam, as a kick-off event for the launching of the INFAR project. The conference, titled ‘Changing Narratives of Rule of Law: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’, brought together a vibrant group of scholars from around the world for an in-depth discussion on rule of law. The presented papers explored the contested historical origins of the concept and usage of rule of law, and the challenges in its contemporary application. The historical discussions covered as far back as the 18th century, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon world and continental Europe. Some of the papers also critically revisited the narrative of rule of law in modern day Europe and European Union institutions. Contemporary challenges in the conceptualization and realization of rule of law were also discussed, particularly in relation with the political and social crises facing the EU, the recent trend of authoritarianism among the EU membership, and in the context of post-conflict societies.

      Researchers of INFAR at Erasmus School of Law and the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) were joined by internationally renowned key note speakers and other scholars from within the Netherlands (particularly the universities of Amsterdam, Leiden, Maastricht, Tilburg, and VU University) and abroad (the Max Plank Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, the Max Plank Institute for European Legal History, the University of Edinburgh, University of Surrey, Queen Marry University of London, University of Helsinki, University of New South Wales, Princeton University and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Serbia and Montenegro

    • A joint research seminar, organized by Erasmus School of Law, University of Groningen and European Research Centre for Economic and Financial Governance (euro-cefg.eu)

      Wednesday, 31 May 2017 from 15:30 h until 17.45 h
      Erasmus School of Law, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam, Sanders Building, Room 0-12

      The INFAR Research Excellence Initiative at Erasmus School of Law and the European Research Centre for Economic and Financial Governance (EURO-CEFG) invite you to a joint research seminar on ‘Challenges to the Rule of Law in Europe’. The seminar brings together the contributors and editors of two important new books on the rule of law problem in Europe:

      • Closa/Kochenov (eds.), Reinforcing the Rule of Law Oversight in the European Union
        (Cambridge, 2016)
      • Jakab/Kochenov (eds.), The Enforcement of EU Law and Values (Oxford, 2017)

      Confirmed speakers:

      • Prof. Dr. Dimitry Kochenov (University of Groningen)
      • Prof. Dr. Fabian Amtenbrink and Dr. René Repasi (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
      • Prof. Dr. Kim Lane Scheppele (Princeton University)
      • Prof. Dr. Laurent Pech (Middlesex University London)
      • Prof. Dr. Leonard Besselink (University of Amsterdam)

      Integrating Normative and Functional Approaches to Rules of Law (INFAR) is a research project of Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus School of History, Culture, and Communication, and the Institute of Social Studies. EURO-CEFG is a joint research initiative initiated by researchers from the Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam conducting interdisciplinary reasearch around the theme of economic and financial governance in the EU.

    • The International Institute of Social Studies and Erasmus School of Law, in collaboration with the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Working Group of the School of Human Rights Research invite you to attend a seminar on:

      The Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights: Synergies or Tensions?

      Date: 29 May, 10.00-13.30 hrs.

      Venue: ISS, The Hague

      In this seminar, the speakers and participants will investigate in what way human rights protection interacts with promoting Agenda 2030, and more in particular the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and which synergies and tensions can be identified.

      More particular questions to be explored include:

      1. if synergies are to be expected, which human rights (aspects) are most likely to contribute to sustainable development, and

      2. how does the interdependence of human rights affect the interplay with the SDGs: is a focus on particular human rights or on inequality advisable or does it require integral human rights protection (and is the latter feasible?)

      The seminar is an activity of the Research Excellence Initiative INFAR (Integrating Normative and Functional Approaches to Rule of Law and Human Rights), which is a collaborative project involving Erasmus School of Law (ESL) and the ISS.

    • An INFAR/IDLO event
      12 Jan. 2017, 16 – 17 hrs, IDLO Offices, The Hague

      Rule of law approaches have been criticised by practitioners and scholars alike, either for their perceived lack of impact or insufficient contextual grounding. Responding to these criticisms, a second generation rule of law approach is emerging as an alternative to the conventional approaches in law and development interventions. This approach has been characterised involves complex interactions between various civic and state actors and values the importance of power structures, context, culture and other factors. Second generation approaches do not pay attention to formal structures alone. Informal and flexible structures are also recognised as significant.

      We have invited like-minded colleagues in the field to hear reflections on these developments from the following two prominent scholars: 
      Kim Lane Scheppele is Lawrence S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Princeton University and Visiting Scholar of INFAR. Her academic and advisory work covers an extensive range of rule of law and justice related questions. 
      Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Former Dean at the University at Buffalo School of Law. His scholarship has addressed constitutional human rights and transitional justice questions concerning some of the most pressing dilemmas of our time. 
      Sanne Taekema will moderate the discussion. She is Professor of Jurisprudence at the Erasmus School of Law of Erasmus University Rotterdam and co-ordinator of the INFAR project.

      This event is organised by the INFAR Project (Integrating Normative and Functional Approaches to Rule of Law and Human Rights) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Department of Research and Learning of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).

    • Time: Wednesday 14 December 2016, 13.00–15.00
      Place: Erasmus Law School, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Polak 3-22
      Organizers: Professor Jan Klabbers (Helsinki), LL.D. Elisabeth Eneroth (Lund)

      Abstract: The purpose of the seminar is to present and discuss three contributions to the special issue in Retfærd. Nordic Journal on Law and Justice, Vol. 39, Nr. 4, 2016 on European New Legal Realism (ENLR). The seminar begins with a presentation of the premises for a ENLR as elaborated by Associate Professor Jakob v. H. Holtermann and Professor Mikael Rask Madsen (both iCourts, Copenhagen) in their article “What is Empirical in Empirical Studies of Law? A European New Legal Realist Conception”.

      The presentation is followed by comments by Professor Henrik Palmer Olsen (iCourts, Copenhagen) and Professor Stuart Toddington (Huddersfield) as presented in their article “Legal Realism: In Search of a Science of Law”. These comments are followed by a presentation by Elisabeth Eneroth (Lund) of an alternate theoretical and methodological route to the premises of a ENLR as presented in her article ”Critical Substantive Validity Testing of Legal Norms”. The three presentations are followed by comments by Professor Jan Klabbers, visiting professor at Erasmus Law School (Helsinki). The seminar ends with a debate among the participants on the possibilities and/or limitations of a ENLR as presented by Holtermann and Madsen as well as interjections on the comments and alternative route presented by Olsen, Toddington and Eneroth.

      Varieties of Consequential Reasoning and the Rule of Law: Theory and Institutional Contexts

    • Organized by research programme Rethinking the Rule of Law in collaboration with The Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC) at Queen Mary University, London.

      Location: NH Atlanta Rotterdam
      Date: Friday 25 November 2016
      Time: 10:00-17:30 hrs. incl. lunch

      Legal decision-makers and judges frame their judgments in terms of the legal order they work with. Usually, this means that their decisions are argued for on the basis of the existing legal norms. However, these decisions do not only look back, they also have consequences for the future. In this workshop we will consider the forward-looking aspects of legal decision-making: in what ways do legal decision-makers, and judges in particular, refer to and consider future consequences in their reasoning? More particularly, the focus of the workshop is on tracing the relationship between different types of consequences that play a role in legal reasoning and how consequential reasoning relates to the rule of law.

    • Prof. Scheppele delivered a lecture on judicial independence and the rule of law. Using the cases of Hungary and Poland where recently governments have attacked constitutional courts, prof Scheppele presented the argument that judges need powers of constitutional review to be meaningfully independent.

      Date: 21 June 2016
      Time: 13.00-15.00h
      Location: TBA, Erasmus University Rotterdam

    • Prof. Tamanaha discussed his new book on Social Legal Theory with Prof. Martijn Hesselink (University of Amsterdam) and Prof. Jan Klabbers (University of Helsinki)

      Date: 13 June 2016
      Time: 14.00-17.00h
      Location: TBA, UvA Amsterdam

    • INFAR project leader prof. Sanne Taekema will speak at ISS on 4 April in their DRS 2016- Dialogue on Legal Mobilization – Moving forward on ‘Legal Mobilisation: Interactional Law as a Bridge between Instrumentalism and Law’s Values’ with comments by Dr. Ilaria Bottigliero, Director Research and Learning, International Development Law Organization (IDLO).

      “Legal instrumentalism has a bad name: it is criticized for reducing law to a policy instrument for external political or economic goals. During the ISS Dialogue on Civic Innovation Research on April 4, I aim to rehabilitate instrumentalism, at least to some extent, by reinterpreting it from the perspective of pragmatist interactionism. By seeing law as emerging from the interactional expectancies of people towards one another, law is conceptually based on horizontal relationships (building on the theory of Lon Fuller). I will argue that this horizontal orientation can provide a specific version of an instrumental view of law because it pluralizes law’s instrumentality. Law is no longer seen as a policy instrument in the hands of authorities, but as a tool for everyone who makes use of it (making use of John Dewey’s pragmatism).”

    • INFAR member Dr. Nathanael Ali delivered invited guest lectures titled ‘Risk Management and Collateral Damage in Global Governance: the Case of Anti-Terrorism Financing’ at the University of Edinburgh and University of Amsterdam, 16 March 2016 and 5 April 2016 respectively. The lecture at Edinburgh took place during the Law School’s international law discussion group seminar series. The lecture at University of Amsterdam was delivered as a Paul Scholten Colloquium, at the Paul Scholten Center for Jurisprudence.

      A brief abstract of the lecture can be found here

    • Prof. Sanne Taekema will be speaking at Queen Mary, London on 30 March 2016 at the book symposium as one of the commentators on Michael Giudice’s book Understanding the Nature of Law.

    • On 25 November 2015, Prof van der Burg spoke at the work-inprogress seminar of Queen Marry University of London Law School on ‘The Merits of Law: Towards a Framework for Evaluative Judgments and Normative Recommendations in Legal Research’.

      On 4 December 2015, he gave a presentation at University of Warwick Law School titled ‘Legal Interactionism and Theory of Law and Morality’. The presentation was based on his book The Dynamics of Law and Morality. A Pluralist Account of Legal Interactionism, Farnham: Ashgate 2014

    • 20-21 November 2015, Dr Temperman presented a paper titled ‘Religious Hatred and International Law’ at an international conference ‘Do Freedoms Unite or Divide?: negotiating the Borders of Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion in Multicultural World’, at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute, Istanbul, Turkey.

      16-18 November 2015, he served as a moderator at a G20 Interfaith Summit titled ‘Equality, Inclusiveness and Non-Discrimination’, in Istanbul, Turkey.

      15-19 October 2015, he also presented a paper titled ‘Reflections on the Rabat Plan of Action’ at a panel discussion during The Parliament of the World’s Religions summit, Salt Lake City, USA

Pictures from past events