Friday 18th November – (Foreign) Law as Self-Fashioning, by Pierre Legrand

FRIDAY 18th November 2016, Professor Pierre Legrand (Sciences Po Ecole de Droit)

The argument is that no account of (foreign) law — no matter how purportedly descriptive — can prove immune from autobiographical input on the part of the interpreter. It follows that no account of (foreign) law is in a position to claim neutrality, impartiality, objectivity, or truth. Any account of (foreign) law must therefore stand or fall by virtue of its persuasive strength, which depends in important ways on ascription of value to one’s interpretation/speculation on the part of one’s readership or audience.

  • Discussant: Professor Mathias Siems (Professor at Durham University)

Full article by Prof. Pierre Legrand can be available at request to participants of the seminar who register in advance.


Obs.: The seminar and the discussion will be held in English. However, it will be possible to address questions in other languages, such as French, Spanish, Italian and German.

When? Friday 18 November, 16:30 – 19:00

Where? at Sciences Po Law School, 13 rue de l’université, 75007, Paris, salle de réunion (4th floor)



October 19th – Coercion and Autonomy in Transnational Private Law, by Robert Wai

WEDNESDAY 19th October 2016, Prof. Robert Wai (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University)

The turn to transnational law admirably directs analysis of contemporary society towards a realistic sense of the plural, complex normative terrains of transnational relations. This presentation will focus on what the turn to the transnational suggests with respect to equally real questions of power and coercion in transnational private relations. This question will be explored by connecting the transnational law turn of Philip Jessup to the earlier legal realist insights of Robert Hale through a focus on coercion and distribution in transnational private law. The goal is to relate the contemporary emphasis in transnational private law on party autonomy, notably in areas such as arbitration, to older and continuing concerns about “legal and non-legal coercion” in private relations.   Can a turn to transnational private ordering be framed in terms other than party autonomy? In particular, how can transnational private law recognize the role of Hale’s “supposedlly noncoercive state” in constituting various forms of transnational coercive power.

  • Discussant: Horatia Muir Watt

When? Wednesday 19 October, 17:30 – 19:30

Where? at Sciences Po, 27 rue Saint Guillaume, 75007, Paris, room A24 (2nd floor)

October 14th – The Turn Toward Unilateralism in American Choice of Law, by Hannah Buxbaum

FRIDAY 14th October 2016, Prof. Hannah Buxbaum (Maurer School of Law, Indiana University)

In 2000, the European Community filed a lawsuit against RJR Nabisco (RJR) in U.S. federal court, alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). After more than fifteen years and a number of intermediate judicial decisions, the litigation came to its likely close in 2016 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community. The Court concluded that certain provisions of RICO did apply to foreign conduct. However, it went on to hold that RICO’s private cause of action does not extend to claims based on injuries suffered outside the United States, denying the European Community any recovery.

This talk will use the RJR case as a springboard to consider a broader trend in the Supreme Court’s recent jurisprudence, which is to rely exclusively on the “presumption against extraterritoriality,” a tool of statutory interpretation, to resolve international jurisdictional conflicts. This jurisprudence turns away from a broader “reasonableness” analysis, and thus away from a multilateral approach, in considering questions of legislative jurisdiction. It finds an interesting echo in the current draft of the Restatement (Third) of Conflicts, which introduces a form of analysis focused on determining the scope of potentially applicable laws. These trends invite the question whether American conflicts law is taking a turn toward a more unilateral methodology.

  • Discussant: Jeremy Heymann (Professeur à l’Université de Lyon)

When? Friday 14 October, 14:30 – 17:30

Where? at Sciences Po Law School, 13 rue de l’université, 75007, Paris, salle de réunion (4th floor)

October 7th – Rethinking Comparative Law: Mapping Law’s Transformations, by Leone Niglia

FRIDAY 7th October 2016, Prof. Leone Niglia (University CIII of Madrid)

This seminar contributes to comparative scholarly analyses of ‘legal transplants’ and ‘legal change’. Drawing on a combination of legal history, comparative law and legal theory, the seminar introduces a method that is needed towards understanding the current globalisation of law and legal thought including comparing it with past globalisations. On the basis of this new method, the seminar essay sheds light on three unaccounted transformations in transnational law and legal thought in Europe over the last one hundred years that legal comparative thought has contributed to. These transformations need to be taken seriously towards gaining a deeper understanding of the relationships between law, state and post-national governance.


  • Discussant: Veronica Corcodel

When? Friday 7 October, at 16:30

Where? at Sciences Po Law School, 13 rue de l’université, 75007, Paris, salle de réunion (4th floor)