Conference: The Creation of International Law: An Exploration of Normative Innovation, Contextual Application, and Interpretation in a Time of Flux (Oslo, 6-7 August 2010)

We invite internationally acclaimed women scholars to this conference. The intention is to create a network for women scholars and practitioners to support their engagement in international public law. We seek to pursue publication of the papers and conclusions of the roundtables in an anthology with an international publishing house thereafter. 

The University of Oslo Department of Public and International Law

General Information

The conference is hosted by the Research group on Internationalisation of Law and the Department of Public and International Law at the University of Oslo Faculty of Law, in cooperation with the Rights, Individuals, Culture and Society research group and the Natural Resources Law research group. It will take place at the Hotel Bristol in downtown Oslo, close to the Faculty of Law, on Friday 6 August and Saturday 7 August 2010.

Contact information

Conference organiser: Professor Cecilia Bailliet
Phone: +47 90740305

Practical assistance: Senior Executive Officer Elisabeth Wenger-Hagene or Linn Bævre (
Phone: +47-22850062


  • Deadline for delivery of abstract: June 15, 2010
  • Deadline for delivery of draft paper: July 5, 2010

The abstracts and papers will be posted online (with limited access for the participants only) once received.

Abstracts and papers

List of abstracts and papers.

We are preparing a book proposal based on the abstracts and papers.  More information on the publication will be given at the conference.

For access, please contact Cecilia Bailliet.


International Public Law has traditionally been a male-dominated field, both nationally and internationally. The majority of textbooks and articles are written by men and the majority of judges and lawyers participating in international tribunals are men. In the recent time period, women researchers have increased their international publications and have been selected to serve as judges and lawyers in the international tribunals. Among those most famous are: Roselyn Higgins, former President of the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and Navi Pillay, former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, currently the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. At present women are participating at all levels within the field. They argue important cases as lawyers before national, regional and international tribunals, committees/commissions, offer interpretation of norms as judges; and they propose new normative theories as researchers. This is a unique opportunity to create an international network of inspirational women scholars. There is a need to bring together academic women to promote new research collaboration strengthen their ability to influence the creation and elaboration of international law. There is a clear incentive to profile women as subjects of international public law development, both for students and female researchers seeking recruitment to the law faculties. We hope that the conference will promote opportunities for guest lecture and future research collaboration on the topics identified in the conference.

Scholars from across the globe are invited to present papers addressing challenges in relation to the creation of international law from theoretical or contextual perspectives.  We welcome papers on sources, actors, law-making, interpretation, dispute resolution, and practice in selected fields of international law. We seek analysis of how the elaboration of international law at the national, regional, and international levels is affected by economic crisis, trade and investment instability, war, forced migration, international criminal networks and climate change.

Further, we welcome discussion as to what extent non-state actors (such as multinational companies or NGOs) promote the creation of new (quasi-legal) norms and why regulation is difficult by institutions at the different levels. We invite reflection over the large volume of “soft law” principles and guidelines, as well as increased resort to alternative dispute resolution forums. Can we still apply Francke’s measure of determinacy, symbolic validation, coherence and adherence to a normative hierarchy? There are dilemmas pertaining to the legitimacy of institutions at the different levels interpreting norms that have inter and intra state impact; resulting in increased resistance of states and/or private actors in implementing decisions. Is there a dilution of “good faith” implementation of treaties and rejection of the oversight monitors assigned to them? Is there a decrease in transparency and procedural fairness in national administrative agencies and judiciaries in response to increased possibility of oversight from above? What changes are occurring in relation to Koh’s identification of transnational legal processes (interaction, interpretation, and internalization) as the framework for norm evolution?

How is law created, interpreted and applied in states undergoing crisis, conflict, or post-conflict phases? What is the implication of the increased multi-disciplinary nature of normative evolution? What are the most relevant sources of law? How can we improve enforcement of norms contained in multilateral (human rights and environmental law) instruments in which simple reciprocity is unavailable? Is there a need to look beyond the law to achieve just solutions to present challenges?


August 6:

9:00 Welcome, Inger-Johanne Sand

9:10 Introduction of Catherine MacKinnon, Cecilia Bailliet

9:15 Keynote: Creating International Law: Gender as New Paradigm, Catherine MacKinnon

Creation of International Law Roundtables

Roundtable 1: Looking Between and Beyond National, Regional, and International Institutions: Towards ”New Lawmaking” and the Rise of Non-State Actors

10:00 Coffee Break

10:10 Crisis, Panic and Law-Making: Do National Patterns of Panic-Relating Law-Making Transpose to the International Plane, Fiona de Londras

10:30 The Decline of the Individual Subject’s Consent, Catherine Brölmann

10:50 The Effects of Framing Norms as Rules or Exceptions in the Process of International Law Making Katherine Del Mar

11:10 Beyond the Arbitration- The Role of Fact-Finding in International Law, Agnieszka Jachec Neale

11:30 Coffee Break and Discussion

12:10 Lunch

13:10 The Grass That Gets Trampled When Elephants Fight: Will the Crime of Aggression Protect Women? Beth Van Schaack 

13:30  Is International Criminal Law Feminist? Doris Buss

13:50 Who is the Most Able and Willing? Complementarity and Victim Reparations at the International Criminal Court, Edda Kristjánsdóttir

14:10  Compliance and the International Criminal Court Thomas Franck’s Theory of Legitimacy Re-visited  Maria Varaki

14:30  Increasing Importance of Workable Division of Labour between National and International Criminal Jurisdictions, Hitomi Takemura


14:50 Coffee Break & Discussion

15:20  Civil Society and International Criminal Justice, Rosemary Bryne 

15:40  Productive Tensions: Women's Rights NGOs, the "Mainstream" Human Rights Movement, and International Law- Making, Karima Bennoune

16:00  Transnational Law Making in Oslo- Norwegian-Pakistani Women at the Interface, Anne Hellum

16:20 Discussion

17:00 Close of Day One

Dinner 19:00

August 7:

Roundtable 2: Towards a Better Earth: The Quandary of Addressing Climate Change and Sustainable Development in the Context of Instability in Trade and Investment

9:00 Intergenerational Equity Revisted, Malgosia Fitzmaurice

9:20 The Creation of International Law of Climate Change: Complexities of Sub-State Actors, Hari M. Osofsky

9:40 International Environmental Law and Soft Law: A New Direction or a Contradiction? Sumudu Atapatttu

10:00 Coffee Break and Discussion

10:40 Assuming Away the Problem: Grappling with the Vexing Relationship between International Trade and Environmental Protection, Rebecca Bratspies 

11:00 International Law between a Global Economy, Risk Society and Ethics, Inger Johanne Sand 

11:20 Discussion

12:00 Lunch

Roundtable 3: Conflict and Post-Conflict Innovations and Setbacks in Normative Evolution and Institution Building

13:00 Understanding the Post-Conflict Terrain for Women in the Context of Prevailing Gender Hierarchies, Stereotypes and Masculinities, Fionnuala Ni Aoláin

13:20 Legal Redress for Children on the Front Line: The Invisibility of the Female Child, Christine Byron 

14:10 A Theory of Accountability for Past Human Rights Violations in the Inter-American Human Rights System: Present Challenges to Its Underlying Principles and Legitimacy, Claudia Martin 

13:50 Will Subsidiary Review be the Future of International Human Rights Adjudication, Brigit Schlütter

14:10 Coffee Break & Discussion

15:00 Hilary Charlesworth:  Brainstorming for Future Networking

17:00 Conclusion of Conference and Note on Future Publication, Cecilia Bailliet


1) Looking Between and Beyond National, Regional and International Institutions: Towards New “Lawmaking” and the rise of Non State Actors

2) Towards a Better Earth: The Quandary of Addressing Climate Change and Sustainable Development in the context of Instability in Trade and Investment

3) Forced Migration, Conflict and Post Conflict Innovations and Setbacks in Normative Evolution and Institution Building

Practical information for participants

Invited speakers will be lodged at the conference hotel (Bristol) or nearby hotels.


Most international participants will land at Oslo Airport Gardermoen and then take the airport shuttle train train to the Central Station, Oslo S (25 minutes). From the Central Station you take a taxi to the Bristol hotel (10 minutes).  Alternatively, you may take the airport shuttle train to the National Theater station, only a short walk to the Bristol hotel (map).  The airport shuttle train (Flytoget) schedule is available on the internet:

Oslo is usually quite pleasant during August, with temperature usually in the range of 15-30 degrees Celsius.

Guide to Oslo

General information: 

Published Jan. 24, 2010 5:14 PM - Last modified Jan. 11, 2018 4:18 PM