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28th Annual SLS/BIICL Workshop on Theory in International Law

Spaces beyond Sovereignty: International Law Outside of Territorial Jurisdiction

15th May 2019

Time: 14.00-19.00 (Registration from 13:30)

Followed by a reception

Venue: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B5JP

Opening Keynote Address

Professor Malgosia Fitzmaurice Queen Mary University of London

Closing Keynote Address

Professor Alex Mills, University College London

On 4th December 2017, the UN General Assembly decided to convene an intergovernmental conference to negotiate a treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). The states negotiating what is more colloquially referred to as the "High Seas Treaty" are facing both conceptual and practical questions in attempting to agree this instrument: on the one side, how to understand the high seas itself as a global commons - oscillating between concerns for state freedom and collective resource management - and, on the other, how best to agree workable solutions to both protect the marine environment (MPAs, EIAs, and so on) and ensure an equitable stake in and distribution of the resources derived from this 'global commons' (including issues such as capacity building and transfer of marine technology).

Nevertheless, this is only one illustrative example among a range of regulatory challenges faced by international law when we move beyond a state's territorial jurisdiction. In particular, questions continue to abound over, inter alia, the capacity of states to exercise universal and other heads of jurisdiction to apprehend perpetrators of atrocity crimes; the scope and limits to states' extraterritorial jurisdiction in relation to human rights law; the 'dislocation' of human rights obligations away from territory altogether, in relation to e.g. obligations of corporations, development banks and international organisations; vessel interdiction in maritime spaces beyond national jurisdiction in relation to piracy, counter-terrorism or migrant smuggling; the challenges of regulating cyberspace; or the balance between spatial, temporal and functional aspects of "common heritage of mankind" regimes, such as the deep seabed.

The 2019 Workshop on Theory and International Law aims to investigate these kinds of questions and more. We invite paper proposals which aim to engage with jurisdictional questions - broadly defined - as soon as we move outside of or beyond state territory. This might include papers aimed at addressing specific regulatory challenges in doing so, or more conceptual work on key themes and ideas (e.g. global commons, the contemporary 'anthropocene'; common heritage of mankind; cyberspace, and so on). We also welcome papers that draw insights from other disciplines, including but not limited to climate science, geography, philosophy, politics, economics, as well as those that employ innovative methods and/or are self-reflexive about methodology.

Submission of abstracts is open to academics, including graduate students, and to legal practitioners.

Please submit an abstract in Word or PDF of no more than one page to Dr Aisling O'Sullivan and Dr Richard Collins The following information should also be provided with each abstract:

  • The author's name and affiliation
  • The author's CV, including a list of relevant publications
  • The author's contact details, including email address

The deadline for submission of abstracts is Friday 5th April 2019.

Applicants will be informed by Wednesday 10th April 2019.

Regrettably, we are unable to provide funding for travel to and attendance at the conference,