Events Contact Information

The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights
Faculty of Law
P.O. BOX 4 (visiting address: Yliopistonkatu 3)
Tel: +358 (0)29 4123140



Seminar for Doctoral Students and Junior Researchers

Seminar directors: Prof. Anne Orford (University of Melbourne) and Prof. Martti Koskenniemi (University of Helsinki)
Helsinki 22-23 May 2017

The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights and Peking University Institute of International Law Collaboration Project (ECI-PUIIL Project) funded by CIMO is pleased to offer a seminar for PhD students and junior researchers to be held at Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki. The purpose of this workshop is to examine the transformations of law at a specific moment in history in which law and lawfulness appear as much part of the problem as the solution.

The seminar is open to PhD students and young researchers, internationally, with a specific interest in the theme “International Law in a Dark Time”.

Theme of the Seminar
The call for papers is on four themes:
1) Human Rights in a Dark Time
2) Environmental Law in a Dark Time
3) The Laws of Security in a Dark Time
4) The Laws of the International Economy in a Dark Time.

The background for this workshop – and the call for papers – is formed by the experience that in the past 25 years optimism about international progress after the end of the Cold War has diminished and law’s role in global governance has come to appear increasingly ambivalent: it has often proven either useless or actually harmful. From an easy acceptance of the ideology of the “rule of law” in the early 1990s, we have come to realise that law comes in many forms and supports very different and often contradictory policies. On the one hand, there has been a massive growth of law in various specialist fields ranging from human rights to the environment, war and security to the economy. At the same time, in many of these fields a sense of a “crisis” has emerged or persists. Sometimes the crisis has been attributed to external phenomena – and law has come to seem inefficient in dealing with them.  At other times crisis may seem have been created or exacerbated by the law itself.  Despite the “growth” of law in the field of human rights and the environment, huge numbers of people experience daily deprivation and no end can be seen to the degradation of the quality of the environment. Laws enacted to protect the security of human groups are used to discipline and oppress, and economic laws seem powerful to forestall the massive growth of global inequality. In a word, the benefits of the traditional recipe to international problems of “more law” may no longer seem sustainable. The purpose of the workshop would be to examine law’s increasingly complex role and its often problematic consequences for international politics.

Format of the seminar
Each participant will deliver a paper and present it during the seminar. The papers shall be submitted before 30 April, and will be made available to all other participants. The seminar will be two days in total, and will not have parallel sessions.

Important Dates
30 April: submission of full papers

Participation Fee
There is no participation fee. The participants are expected to cover their own travel and other expenses.

A limited number of scholarships are available for Chinese participants under the ECI-PUIIL Project. Applicants should be a doctoral candidate or a junior faculty member working at a Chinese university. A formal application (including a CV, an abstract, and a short statement) should be sent to and concurrently to before 30 December. Decisions regarding the funding will be announced by 18 January.

Further Details
Information about transportation and accommodation will be sent to accepted participants in January 2017.

Program of the Seminar