Sunday, January 10, 2016

Call for Papers: ILA British Branch 2016 Spring Conference (Reminder)

The International Law Association British Branch has issued a call for papers for its spring conference, to take place at Lancaster University, on April 8-9, 2016. The theme is: "Non-State Actors and Changing Relations in International Law." The deadline is January 31, 2016. Here's the call:

Non-State Actors and Changing Relations in International Law

This conference will examine the changing role of non-state actors in international law and their impact on law-making, obligations, responsibility and dispute settlement. These actors lie at the heart of international law, expressing many of its aspirations: in business and investment, human rights, the environment and humanising conflict: but also at its margins, underlining its borders and limitations. Non-state actors hold many of the key rights in international law, especially human and peoples’ rights, provide frameworks for its creation and enforcement, and drive its agendas. But, they are also defined by exclusion: by not being the principal subject of international law, the sovereign state. As such non-state actors are by nature a wide and diverse group, defined in essence not by their varied contributions but by their lack of sovereignty.

This conference will take a broad view of non-state actors, which could include: individuals; peoples, minorities, and indigenous groups; NGOs; businesses; organised armed groups; and international organisations, amongst others. Each may have their own rights and/or duties and particular relationship with international law. But, they also raise common questions: how do they contribute to international law; to what extent are they bound by its obligations; how do they enjoy rights and ensure protection of those rights; whether they hold responsibilities; and how they access enforcement and dispute resolution mechanisms?

In some cases, this relationship with international law is direct: e.g. treaties concluded by international organisations or individual/NGOs communications to human rights bodies: in other cases it is indirect, with the actors having to seek to influence states or other bodies in order to make a legal impact. Moreover, the relationship between states and non-state actors may be reciprocal with states using these actors to avoid their own obligations, e.g. in the case of cyber-attacks or by providing support for insurgent groups.

We welcome papers on this subject, which might include, but are by no means limited to:

(1) the nature and position of non-state actors within the international legal system;

(2) their role with respect to the sources of international law, which may include their role in the formation of custom and in the conclusion of treaties;

(3) the source and scope of obligations for particular non-state actors, such as businesses or corporations (e.g. sanctions, human rights, modern slavery), sporting bodies and organised armed groups;

(4) the potential responsibility of these actors and its relationship to state responsibility;

(5) the position of these actors in dispute resolution and enforcement mechanisms, whether judicial institutions, organs of international organisations or treaty regimes.

(6) the special roles of non-state actors in particular areas of international law, such as international environmental law, international economic law (including investment law), the international law of armed conflict, international human rights law and international criminal law, amongst others.

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted to by 31 January 2016.