9th October – Global Legal Pluralism and Private International Law (Prof. Paul Schiff Berman)



Global Legal Pluralism is now recognized as an entrenched reality of the international and transnational legal order. Indeed, wherever one looks, there is conflict among multiple legal regimes. Some of these regimes are state-based, some are built and maintained by non-state actors, some fall within the purview of local authorities and jurisdictional entities, and some involve international courts, tribunals, arbitral bodies, and regulatory organizations. 

It has been approximately 20 years since scholars first began pushing the insights of legal pluralism into the transnational and international arena. During those two decades, a rich body of work has established pluralism as a useful descriptive and normative framework for understanding a world of overlapping jurisdictional assertions, both state and non-state. Indeed, there has been a veritable explosion of scholarly work on legal pluralism, soft law, global constitutionalism, the relationships among relative authorities, and the fragmentation and reinforcement of territorial boundaries. 

Thus, the time has come for a survey and analysis of this literature in order to understand the evolution of global legal pluralism as a scholarly trope.  In this essay, I seek to begin such a task by separating out some of the descriptive and normative strands in the scholarly discourse. In addition, I tackle challenges and criticisms of global legal pluralism and aim to refine the field based on recent research. The result, I hope, will be to re-energize and engage global legal pluralism scholarship and push its trajectory forward into another two decades of innovation.

Prof. Paul SCHIFF BERMAN (George Washington University Law School)

Discussant : Jean-Philippe ROBE (Sciences Po, Ecole de droit)

 When? On Friday 9th October, 2.30 – 5.30 pm

Where? At Sciences Po Law School, 13 rue de l’Université, 75007 Paris, Salle de réunion (4th floor).

First PILAGG meeting of 2015-2016 seasson!!! (UPDATE)

The new seasson of PILAGG is going to be launched. We will discuss on Horatia Muir Watt’s framing paper.HMW-Framing paper PILAGG 2015-2016

Discussant: Loïc Azoulai (SPLS)

What are the specific insights of the discipline of the conflict of laws in respect of some of the most significant issues which challenge contemporary legal theory, in its attempts to integrate the radical changes wrought by globalisation in the normative landscape beyond (framed outside, or reaching over) the nation-state. Indeed, remarkably, these changes have brought complex interactions of conflicting norms and social systems to the center-stage of jurisprudence. This means that the conflict of laws has a plausible vocation to contribute significantly to a “global legal paradigm” (Michaels 2014), that is, a conceptual structure adapted to unfamiliar practices, forms and “modes of legal consciousness” (Kennedy 2006). Conversely, however, private international legal thinking has all to gain from attention to the other legal disciplines that have preceded it in the effort to “go global”. Thus, it needs to undergo a general conceptual overhauling in order to capture law’s novel foundations and features. In this respect, it calls for an adjustment of its epistemological and methodological tools to its transformed environment. It must revisit the terms of the debate about legitimacy of political authority and reconsider the values that constitute its normative horizon. From this perspective, the ambition of this paper is to further the efforts already undertaken by various strands of legal pluralism, as an alternative form of “lateral coordination” in global law (Walker 2015), towards the crafting of a “jurisprudence across borders” (Berman 2012). Societal constitutionalism (Teubner 2011), which has explicitly made the connection between transnational regime-collison and the conflict of laws, provides a particularly promising avenue for unbounding the latter, which might then emerge as a form of de-centered, reflexive coordination of global legal interactions.

 When? On Friday 25 September at 2.30pm

Where? At Sciences Po Law School, 13 rue de l’Université, 75007 Paris, Salle de réunion (4th floor).