Interpretation of CIL: Methods, Interpretative Choices and the Role of Coherence (Online Conference)

We are happy to announce that the 2-3 December 2021 conference, co-organised with the PluriCourts Centre and the University of Groningen’s Department of Transboundary Legal Studies, will take place in an online format via Zoom.

Free registration for the Conference Zoom: DAY 1 HERE / DAY 2 HERE

***Given the newly announced COVID-19 regulations, the conference will now be completely online***

Substance of the Conference

This conference addresses the methods international judges from all branches of international law use to interpret rules of customary international law (CIL).

The methods applied to interpret CIL are varied and contested. International courts and tribunals (ICs) have often engaged in interpretation of CIL, using such means as teleological or systemic interpretation. Too little has been done to systematically explore these and other methods.

The conference has three main themes: i) methods of interpretation of customary international law; ii) variation of interpretative choices across international courts and tribunals; and iii) coherence as an approach or goal in the context of interpretation of customary international law. Participants are invited from several legal professions – scholars, judges and lawyers – including senior and junior researchers.

More information about the conference can be found here.

Schedule *Amsterdam Time Zone (CET) (UTC+01:00)

DAY 1: THURSDAY DECEMBER 2nd
09:00-09:30Opening of the Conference
09:30-10:15Keynote Speech: Judge Liu Daqun (IRMCT)
10:15-10:30Coffee Break & Networking
10:30-12:00Panel 1: Reflections on the Interpretation of CIL
Chair: Panos Merkouris (University of Groningen)

Pauline Westerman (University of Groningen): The Illusion of Gold-Digging: Interpretation of State Practice
Eleni Micha (University of Athens): Custom Dynamics and the Interpretation Exercise
Craig Eggett (Maastricht University): ‘General Principles of Law’ and the Interpretation of Custom
12:00-12:30Break
12:30-14:00Panel 2: Patterns in CIL Interpretation Across International Courts and Tribunals
Chair: Serena Forlati (University of Ferrara)

William Worster (The Hague University of Applied Sciences): The Application of Logic and Reason in CIL Interpretation
Steven Wheatley (Lancaster University): The Function of Time in CIL Interpretation
Silviana Cocan (University of Montreal): Judicial Dialogue between International Courts as a Method of Interpretation of Customary International Human Rights Law
14:00-14:15Coffee Break & Networking
14:15-15:45Panel 3: CIL Interpretation in the Case Law of International Courts and Tribunals
Chair: Noora Arajärvi (Hertie School of Governance and Université Paris Nanterre)

Neha Jain (European University Institute): Managerial Custom: Assertion, Avoidance, and Backstop in the Jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunals
Paula Baldini Miranda da Cruz (Leiden University): The Interpretation of ‘direction and control’ in ARSIWA Art. 8 in the Investor State Arbitration: The Case of State Owned Enterprises
Tamás Molnár (EU Fundamental Rights Agency): The Court of Justice of the EU and CIL Interpretation: Close Encounters of a Third Kind?
DAY 2: FRIDAY DECEMBER 3rd
09:00-10:30Panel 4: Controversies and Issues in CIL Interpretation by International Courts
Chair: Geir Ulfstein (University of Oslo)

Raphael Oidtmann (University of Mannheim): Reconciling Conflicting Norms of CIL – Towards a Mode of Practical Concordance at the ICJ
Ezgi Yildiz & Umut Yüksel (The Graduate Institute of International & Development Studies, Geneva): How Inconsistent Takes on Custom Shape State Practice
Leoni Ayoub (Maastricht University Alumnus): Judicial Effectiveness or Judicial Ambiguity: Is CIL an Instrument for Judicial Activism in Excess?
10:30-10:45Coffee Break & Networking
10:45-12:15Panel 5: CIL Interpretation and Coherence
Chair: Freya Baetens (University of Oslo)

Charalampos Giannakopoulos (Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore): Coherence and (Practical) Legal Reasoning: Goal, Method, or Both?
Henrique Marcos (Maastricht University): Abandoning Foundationalist Dreams: Coherence in Customary International Law
Harlan Grant Cohen (University of Georgia): The Court-Custom Paradox
12:15-13:30Discussion & Closing of the Conference

The conference is sponsored by the TRICI-law project and by the PluriCourts Centre.

The Conference is co-organised by the ERC project on ‘The Rules of Interpretation of Customary International Law’ (TRICI-Law project, University of Groningen), the PluriCourts Centre on the legitimacy of the global judiciary, at the University of Oslo and the Department of Transboundary Legal Studies of the University of Groningen. This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (Grant Agreement No. 759728).  PluriCourts is funded by the Research Council of Norway, project number 223274.

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