Conference on "The New International Law", Oslo 15 - 18 March 2007

Conference Programme
Concept Paper
List of Participants and Contact Information

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The New International Law:

Polycentric decision-making structures and fragmented spheres of law:

What implications for the new generation of international legal discourse?

You are invited to a week-end conference in Oslo, Norway, where international law scholars will join experts in international relations, political theory and other disciplines engaged in the study of complex relations transcending national jurisdiction. Distinguished scholars will present their views in key-note lectures and comment on papers submitted. This will be a fine chance for a new generation of scholars engaged in the current international legal discourse to meet, discuss and broaden their theoretical and empirical horizons.

About the Topic

Sovereignty is transformed. Governmental authority is horizontally and vertically dispersed. States have accepted treaty regimes whereby international authorities exercise regulatory power that interferes with domestic governance. International organs are increasingly endowed with something resembling legislative powers. Dispute-settling bodies proliferate on the international plane. We are increasingly aware of the considerable influence exercised by the private sector on international decision-making processes. In short, today’s international law is constituted by polycentric decision-making structures and fragmented spheres of law. This ‘new international law’ is a patch-work of norms, institutions and actors on various overlapping levels.

The current discourse of international law is certainly acquainted with the enormity of challenges posed by rapid restructuring of domestic and international governance to conventional outlooks, theories and practices of international law. Indeed, today’s research forefront thrives on studies that encapsulate, analyse and discuss the shift from a world made up by sovereign nation-states to today’s inter-, supra- and transnational arrangements.

This is not to say that the academic debate is over. Even ‘new’ international law relates to fundamental theoretical schemes that were central to traditional conceptions of international law. Contemporary research must take into account concepts such as the status and shape of sovereignty, prospects for democracy and the rule of law, the stability of prevalent dichotomies such as international/domestic and private/public domains and the functionality and efficacy of international norms and institutions. Interaction between legal practitioners, theorists and academics in various are promising in this regard. What may traditional legal discourse benefit from, say, theories of multi-level governance? Would not the development of theoretical models encapsulating ‘new international law’ profit from the empiricism of doctrinal legal studies? Such exchanges may develop increased academic sensitivity and comprehension of the complexities of contemporary decision-making structures and spheres of law.

Conference Brochure (PDF)

Key Note Speakers and Invited Experts

The following distinguished academics have accepted our invitation to come to the conference in the capacity of key note speakers and/or invited experts:

  • Eyal Benvenisti, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv
  • Matthew Craven, School of Oriental and African Studies, London
  • Malgosia Fitzmaurice, Queen Mary, University of London, London
  • Andreas Føllesdal, University of Oslo, Oslo
  • Christian Joerges, European University Institute, Florence
  • Benedict Kingsbury, New York University, New York
  • Martti Koskenniemi, Helsinki University, Helsinki
  • Susan Marks, London School of Economics, London
  • Inger-Johanne Sand, University of Oslo/Copenhagen Business School, Oslo/Copenhagen
  • Geir Ulfstein, University of Oslo, Oslo
  • Karel Wellens, Ramboud Universiteit, Nijmegen
  • Jan Wouters, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven
  • Michael Zürn, Social Science Research Centre, Berlin

Papers and Abstracts

We welcome research papers addressing ‘new international law’ and its implications for theoretical schemes central to international legal discourse, theories of international relations and political theory, including but not limited to:

  • the legitimacy of international law
  • democracy
  • the rule of law
  • sovereignty
  • interaction between international law and international relations
  • compliance with international legal norms

We also welcome papers on specific fields of regulation, including but not limited to

  • international trade
  • investment protection
  • environmental protection
  • international criminal law
  • human rights
  • law and development
  • international peace and security.


NB! These are the valid times for submission, contrary to the diverging times which appears in the conference brochure

There is no fixed word limit for Abstracts, however, we prefer texts delimited to that minimum
which constitutes adequate grounds for evaluation

Please consult call for papers and invitation brochure for further details on submission

Papers and abstracts may be submitted by e-mail to:

If you are unable to submit electronically, submissions may be sent by mail to the conference organizers:

Marius Emberland/Christoffer Eriksen

Institute of Public and International Law
University of Oslo
P O Box 6706 St Olavs plass
N-0130 OSLO

Published Feb. 9, 2011 11:39 AM - Last modified May 14, 2019 11:02 AM