On Thursday 24 May 2018, 09:00 - Friday 25 May 2018, 17:00, the Graduate Institute of Geneva and its Global Governance Center will host what is shaping up to be a quite pathbreaking conceptual workshop entitled Entangled Legalities. Over the course of two days a group of participants from a variety of fields will consider the conceptual framing of what has emerged as the in-between spaces of law – the interfaces between bodies of norms – and the challenge to traditional legal orders that comes with the resulting governance polycentricity. The object is to move closer to an understanding of how legal practice is changing in these circumstances, how the interfaces between orders are constructed, and what consequences we need to draw in theoretical terms for our understanding of law.
The growing density of interactions between spheres of authority in global governance – the focus of the proposed research unit – puts pressure also on traditional legal structures. It challenges the traditional separation of domestic and international legal orders in favour of greater linkages and routine interaction, but it also drives strategies of distancing where greater integration had been the norm, as in the field of public international law. These dual pressures are likely to produce new configurations on both the formal and the substantive side of the interfaces between normative orders and they may drive relations between layers of law in the direction of greater enmeshment rather than formal separation or simple unity.
This project seeks to analyze these new configurations both empirically and from a theoretical angle. It aims at illuminating how the interactions between (formal and informal, public and private) spheres of authority in the global order are reflected in the theory and practice of law, using the issue area of global economic governance as an example and focusing on six jurisdictions – Germany, the UK, the US, Brazil, India and China – to inquire into the ways in which conflicts between different layers of law (and informal norms) are processed in judicial, quasi-judicial and regulatory settings.
The Workshop Concept Note and Program follow. More reports to come.
The ways in which scholarship and practice approach law today have mostly been shaped in the twentieth century on the model of unitary legal systems in the modern state. However, as is increasingly clear, unitary law gives way to a multiplicity of normative orders in many areas, especially those characterized by strong transnational forces – and in many ways, this revives a multiplicity that has been characteristic of law in earlier times. As a result, the in-between spaces of law – the interfaces between bodies of norms – have found increasing attention, and terms such as global legal pluralism, interlegality, or métissage have come to describe the challenge that comes with multiplicity. But we do not yet have a broader picture of how legal practice is changing in these circumstances, how the interfaces between orders are constructed, and what consequences we need to draw in theoretical terms for our understanding of law. In this workshop, we seek to tackle these questions and better understand the ways in which law is being reconfigured through engagements with plural normative orders. One intuition behind this is that, rather than start from the idea of separate and potentially conflicting systems of law, we should be open to the possibility of a greater entanglement, or enmeshment of normative orders, which would make multiplicity not just a phenomenon at the boundaries, but one that is constitutive of legal orders themselves. Drawing on pre-national as well as post-national examples, the workshop will ask questions such as:
• How do actors – judges, regulators, societal actors – construe the relation of the multiple normative orders they are faced with? How did they do so before the consolidation of the nation-state?
• What norms, procedural and substantive, do and did they invoke to structure these relations? How do they deal with conflicts at the interfaces between them?
• When does it make sense to think of normative orders as enmeshed rather than separate? How much of such enmeshment do we see where?
• And what consequences flow from the greater centrality of these interfaces for legal theory and legal reasoning? How is law being – and has been – thought of under conditions of multiplicity?
Bringing together scholars from different backgrounds – history, sociology, anthropology, law – the workshop will aim at developing our analytical instrumentarium and charting ways forward in the study of entangled laws. The workshop is designed to be small, with less than twenty participants. Participants are not asked to present fully-developed papers but rather short think pieces (around 10 pages) to serve as a stimulus for discussion in the group.