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Seminar series
Hans Kelsen Lectures
Graduate Colloquium
The Centre organizes regularly seminars where international scholars are invited to interact with the faculty of the Centre and other members of the scholarly community of the Czech Republic and neighboring countries. The seminars are usually planned around hotly contested questions of law that are treated in a problem-oriented manner and aim at generating foundational scholarship that leads to publications with long-lasting impact. Multidisciplinarity and a special care to integrate domestic with international legal scholarship are a key feature of the seminars.


"Climate Change Justice: A Philosophical Introduction"
Dominic Roser, Research Fellow at the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations and at the Law Faculty
15th December 2016
Právnická fakulta University Karlovy, místnost č. 38
The threat of climate change shapes the 21st century like few other challenges. In response, there is a widespread call for a radical action to prevent future apocalypse. But the question must be asked: how radical does this action need to be? Assuming that living standards continue to grow over time, do we really owe it to our descendants to to sacrifice our current lifestyles? And if radical action does need to be taken, who has the moral responsibility to take the lead: Europe, the US, or China? These questions bring up deep issues of intergenerational and global justice. And our traditional moral theories are not fine-tuned to a challenge of this scale. This session will introduce participants to current approaches to climate justice and their philosophical basis.
Dominic Roser's research focuses on intergenerational justice, global justice, risk, non-ideal theory as well as the relation between economics and ethics. This combination of topics has arisen out of his interest in climate change. Currently, he works on a rights-based theory of decisions under risk and uncertainty and how such a theory must both deviate from and learn from decision-theoretic accounts. He is particularly concerned with applying this theory to risks to human rights of future generations and to the debate about precautionary principles. Dominic Roser is a Research Fellow at the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations and at the Law Faculty. He has a background in philosophy and economics and has previously worked at the Universities of Bern, Zurich, and Graz.

Franz Weyr Seminar: "Neo-Mediaeval Permutations of Personhood in the European Union",
Dimitry Kochenov, University of Groningen - Faculty of Law
29th of November 2016
Právnická fakulta University Karlovy, místnost č. 38 
The legal understanding of personhood is dynamic and evolves through the ages. This paper shows how a contemporary shift, under the influence of, inter alia, the law of the European Union, provides an unexpected excursion into the past, reminiscent as it is of some pre-modern approaches, thus showing deep-rooted conflicts between how the Union operates and the classical ideology of demos, democracy and citizenship. The fact that this is undoubtedly inadvertent does not alter the outcomes of this process. The new individualism, which the EU tacitly promotes with all its accidental cosmopolitanism is presented here as neo-mediaevalism. The core distinction at the heart of such legal paradigm of personhood is between the free and unfree; the core moral value is the precise apportionment of liberty among the persons in accordance with their legally recognisable chance and circumstance. This paradigm of personh ood, which is essentially private, not public in nature, almost became extinct in contemporary world with the advent of democracy, equality, and the status of citizenship based on the citizen/foreigner distinction. This is what the EU now happens to be reviving. As a result, equality is not treated as a value — not even as a starting presumption; — community does not build on the idea of sovereignty and submission; and liberty is detached from the political realm and does not imply collective self-determination.
Prof. Kochenov's research focuses on Comparative and EU Citizenship Law; Principles and Enforcement of EU Law with an emphasis on the Rule of Law; EU External Relations Law, and the Law of the EU's Overseas. The current work focuses on two monorraphs: 'EU Citizenship: Ius Tractum of Many Faces' (on contract, Hart Publshing) and 'Citizenship' (on contract, MIT Press), both in preparation. Dimitry's most recent edited symposium issue is 'The Great Rule of Law Debate in the EU' (with L.Pech and A. Magen, JCMS 2016). Prof. Kochenov consults governments and international institutions and organizations. He advised the Maltese Republic on citizenship; the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the application of EU law in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom; the European Parliament on the Rule of Law mechanisms; submitted writted evidence to the House of Lords (UK) and FCO's competences review; participated in informal expert discussions on the future of EU citizenship at the European Commission and Ecosoc's working group on the Future of Europe. He reviews manuscripts for Cambridge, Oxford, Hart, Routledge, Rowman & Littlefield and countless journals; assesses grant applications nationally and internationally. Dimitry participates as an expert in national and international litigation, including international commercial arbitration. Prof. Kochenov held numerous fellowships and visiting professorships worldwide, including, most importantly, Crane Fellowship in Law and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University (2015-2016), which he combined with a Visiting Professorship at the Princeton University Center for Human Values, teaching a seminar on citizenship; Emile Noël Fellowship at the Jean Monnet Center, NYU School of Law (2010) Senior Clough Fellowship at Boston College Law School (2013), Visiting Chair in Private Law (Citizenship) at Università degli drudi di Torino; Osaka Graduate School of Law, York University (Toronto), UNAM Mexico, University of Ljubljana (Slovenija) etc. Together with Henley & Partners, the leading global citizenship planning law firm and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Prof. Kochenov releases the Quality of Nationality Index: a simple and reliable methodology of measuring the quality of all the world's nationalities meticulously applied. The index received coverage from the Economist Intelligence Unit and the New Yorker Magazine. Prof. Kochenov is a regular contributor to BBC World and Verfassungsblog. He chairs the Investment Migration Council (IMC): the global association of residence and citizenship by investment professionals.

"The Economic Approach to Law as the Dominant Legal Methodology and its Challenges in the Age of the Digital Revolution"
Eli Salzberger, University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
22. November 2016
Villa Stiassni (https://www.vila-stiassni.cz/).
The talk will describe the historical and philosophical background for the emergence of Law & Economics as a dominant legal theory and as a legal methodology. It will touch upon the advantages and weaknesses of this approach in analyzing and evaluating the law. It will subsequently focus on the technological revolution of the recent decades which challenge some of the traditional tenets of the Law & Economics and demonstrate some of the arguments in the fields of intellectual property and constitutional law.
Eli Mordechai Salzberger is a Law Professor at the University of Haifa Faculty of Law and former Dean of the faculty. From 2008–2011, he served as President of the European Association for Law and Economics. Salzberger has taught at the University of Haifa Faculty of Law since 1993 (tenured senior lecturer in 1999, associate professor in 2004 and full professor in 2011). He was elected vice Dean (2002–2005) and Dean of the Faculty of Law (2005–2008).Salzberger was the founder and a co-director of the Center for the Study of Crime, Law, and Society. He also served as co-editor of the Haifa Law Facult y’s journal "Mishpat Umimshal" (Law and Government) for four years. Recently (2012), a team led by him won a competition for a new Minerva research center on the rule of law under extreme conditions. Salzberger’s research and teaching areas are legal theory and philosophy, economic analysis of law, legal ethics, intellectual property and cyberspace, and the Israeli Supreme Court. He was a visiting professor at Princeton University, the University of Connecticut School of Law, UCLA Law School and a number of European law schools including Humboldt University in Berlin, Hamburg, Utrecht, Torino, Aix-Marseilles and St. Gallen. Salzberger received numerous fellowships and prizes, notably the Rothschild, Fulbright, and British Council Fellowships, and research grants from the Minerva Foundation, the Israel Science Foundation, EU 7th research program, and the German-Israeli Foundation. (http://weblaw.haifa.ac.il/en/Faculty/Salzberger/Pages/home.aspx#)

CeLAPA Doctoral Full Speed workshop
May 11, 2016
Venue: Czech Academy of Science, Institute of Law and State, Narodni 18

Chair: Axel Gosseries, Franz Weyr Fellow

9h30-9h50 - Radek Píša, PhD. Candidate, Charles University, Constitutional Law
Do courts really vary from public opinion?
Courts are usually imagined as institutions providing additional, structural perspective; this is one of the very basic assumptions behind the most theories of judicial legitimacy (most notably Alexy’s argumentative representation). My presentation is going to explore reasons why this is possibly an incorrect assessment. I intend to use Czech and Israeli cases during this reasoning.
Discusssant: Tom Parr

9h50-10h10 - Darina Jandova, PhD. Candidate, Charles University, Labour Law
Obesity and discrimination. Did the CJEU go too far?
In the recent case Kaltoft vs. Denmark the CJEU has ruled that obesity can be in specific cases considered discriminative on the ground of disability. I will briefly summarize the case and then present arguments to encourage discussion whether this decision is right and desirable or whether the CJEU went beyond the provisions of the European anti-discrimination directives.
Discussant: Greg Bognar

10h30-10h50 - Tomas Strelecek, PhD. Candidate, Charles University, Civil Law
How to render Czech evidence-seeking in civil litigation law even more democratic? I will present the main differences between material and formal truth in civil litigation in democratic and totalitarian regimes. I will then present how in the Czech republic we abolished the principle of material truth in contentious civil litigation as in order to render it more democratic and more in line with the idea of a rule of law. The current Czech law regulating contentious civil procedure is rather free of residuals from totalitarianism. However, I will identify points which can be changed to to make it even more democratic.
Discussant: Petr Agha

10h50-11h10 - Elmira Lyapina, PhD student, Charles University, Public International Law
What are the key challenges for creation the adequate legal basis for EU-RUSSIA gas relations?
In order to improve the current EU-RUSSIA gas relations, there is a need to establish the dispute resolution body. Moreover, to avoid unpredictable decisions, occurs a need to design substantive legal basis. In my presentation, I will identify which key requirements the dispute resolution body and the substantive legal framework should meet.
Discussant: Radek Píša

11h10-11h30 - Tomas Friedel, PhD. Candidate, Charles University, Dept. of Political Sc. and Sociology
Judicial Disqualification and Social Media Friendships
The presentation considers the impact of social media connections of judges on judicial impartiality. At first, the notion of judicial impartiality is introduced (distinction between actual impartiality and appearance of impartiality is mentioned). In the following part, the nature of social media connections is discussed and compared to the real-life connections with regard to threats they could mean to judicial impartiality.
Discussant: Axel Gosseries

Prague Spring Law and Public Policy workshops (CeLAPA)
May 10-11, 2016
Convenor: Axel Gosseries
“What’s wrong with discrimination?”
CeLAPA Research workshop - May 10, 2016
Venue: Charles University, Faculty of Law, nám. Curieových 901/7
Morning chair:
Jana Ondrejko (Charles University, Faculty of Law)
10h – 11h15 - Tom Parr (Essex)
The Wrongness of Discrimination: A Defence of Pluralism
Abstract: Some philosophers defend a harm-based account of the wrongness of discrimination, according to which we can explain the wrongness of discrimination with reference to the harmfulness of discriminatory acts. Against this view, I offer two objections. The conditions objection states that the harm-based account implausibly fails to recognize that harmless discrimination can be wrong. The explanation objection states that the harm-based account fails adequately to identify all of the wrong-making properties of discriminatory acts. On this basis, I argue that the structure of a satisfactory view cannot be exclusively outcome-focused. A more promising view must also incorporate a concern for the deliberation of the discriminator and, in particular, the reasons that motivate or fail to motivate her action. This result is not only philosophically interesting, it also has implications for the social and political institutions that we ought to support.
Discussant: Oscar Horta 11h30-12h45 – Miklós Könczöl (Pázmány Catholic Univ./Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

Proxy votes for under-age citizens: Positive or negative discrimination?
Abstract: The idea that families with children could cast additional votes at elections has been raised, once again, during the debates surrounding the drafting of the new Fundamental Law of Hungary. While such solutions were never enacted, a good deal of legal and philosophical arguments have been formulated, both pro and con. My presentation first discusses rights-based arguments focusing on the discriminative character of voting age limits. Second, I turn to the broader issue of discrimination as it appeared in the Hungarian context. While age limits are arguably discriminative against under-age citizens, in the Hungarian debate the concern was raised that proxy votes cast by parents may be discriminative against non-parents on the one hand, and may lead to the over-representation of certain social groups (such as Christian or Gypsy families) on the other.
Discussant: Petr Agha
Afternoon chair:
Ondrej Preuss (Charles University)(TBC)
14h15-15h30 Oscar Horta (Santiago de Compostela)
Discrimination against vegans
Abstract : Discrimination against vegans has some features in common with others such as ageism and lookism, especially in that it remains mostly invisible, even if it affects a non-negligible number of people. However, discrimination against vegans has some distinctive characteristics. It is a form of discrimination whose victims are particularly well aware of. However, vegans typically choose not to fight it. This happens as it is in fact a second order discrimination resulting from discrimination against nonhuman animals, on which vegans focus. If the first order discrimination (the one against nonhuman animals) is wrong, then all instances of discrimination against vegans are wrong too. If discrimination against nonhuman animals is correct, or it is not really a form of discrimination at all, then many (though not all) forms of private discrimination against vegans can be right, but a number of instances of public discrimination against them will still be very hard t o defend.
Discussant : Axel Gosseries
15h45-17h Greg Bognar (Stockholm)
Disability Discrimination in Health Care
Many philosophers, health service researchers, and disability advocates worry that people with chronic or permanent disabilities may be unfairly discriminated against in health care, even when health care resources are allocated on the basis of standard prioritization methods (like cost-effectiveness analysis). In the first part of this talk, I present and clarify the disability discrimination objection. I explain and illustrate the ways in which people with disabilities may be disadvantaged in health care resource allocation, and discuss whether the disadvantages are unfair. In the second part, I ask whether the philosophical problem applies in real life; that is, whether real-life priority setting exercises would in fact result in unfair discrimination against people with disabilities.
Discussant: Tom Parr 

Panelová diskuse
Centre for Law and Public Affairs (CeLAPA) vás ve spolupráci se Salónem Práva a Common Law Society zve na panelovou diskusi:
Lidská práva (ne)smysl české politiky
Datum: úterý 12. 4. 2016 v 18.00 hod
Místo: Právnická fakulta UK v Praze, místnost č. 100.
- prof. PhDr. Václav Bělohradský, Ph.D.
- doc. PhDr. Ing. Ondřej Císař, Ph.D.
- prof. Ing. Petr Drulák, Ph.D.
- PhDr. Michal Kopeček, Ph.D.
- prof. JUDr. Jiří Přibáň, DrSc.
- Mgr. Anna Šabatová, Ph.D.


"Lidská práva, mezikulturní perspektivy a postnárodní kostelace"

Datum: 12. dubna od 13:30hod
Místo: Právnická fakulta UK v Praze, místnost 38.


13:30 - 14:00 Úvodní slovo: Jiří Přibáň "Lidská práva z nelidskosti”


14:00 - 14:50 Lidská práva: mezi právem a politikou


- Jan Kysela “Lidská práva: triumf nad propastí?”

- Jiří Baroš “Kritika rights-talku a hledání alternativní tradice lidských práv”

- Ondřej Preuss “Lidská práva univerzální v čase i v prostoru?”

- Lenka Bezoušková “Možnosti a meze konceptu lidských práv v islámském právu”

15:00 - 15:50 Lidská práva a stát

- Harald Scheu “Demokracie, lidská práva a řízení podle čl. 7 Smlouvy o EU”

- Veronika Bílková “Role lidských práv v zahraniční politice ČR”

- Michal Šejvl “Proč začala Evropa mluvit o právech?”

15:50 - 16:20 Václav Bělohradský “Globální vesnice uniklých sdělení”

16:20 - 17:20 Ideje a ideologie lidských práv

- Ondřej Lánský “Lidská práva – legitimizační nástroj nebo emancipační projekt?”

- Pavel Dufek “Lidská práva a politická teorie: je možno myslet LP “neideologicky”?"

- Petr Agha “Hyper-realita lidských práv”

Workshop: Kai Moller (LSE) Proportionality and the Global Model of Constitutional Rights

26th of February

Room No. 38, 10:00am

Charles University



10:00 - 11:30

Keynote Kai Moller (LSE) (discussant George Pavlakos (ÚSP AV ČR, University of Glasgow, School of Law) ) 

11:30 - 12:00

coffee break

12:00 - 12:40

Pavel Ondřejek: Balancing: Key Argument of Constitutional Review in the Age of Proportionality+ diskuze

12:40 - 13:00

Zdeněk Červínek: TBA

13:00 - 13:30

Pannel discussion 


Proportionality and the Global Model of Constitutional Rights

Proportionality is widely considered to be the most important doctrine of constitutional law around the globe. But what is the point of the principle of proportionality? In my presentation I will argue that proportionality has to be considered in conjunction with the other features of what I have called ‘the global model of constitutional rights’: rights inflation, vertical as well as horizontal effect of rights, and negative and positive obligations, including social rights. The global model of constitutional rights is best explained as being concerned with the protection of every person’s autonomy: the point of rights is not to disable the state in certain ways, but rather to enable every person to live his or her life autonomously. Every person’s autonomy is limited by every other person’s equal claim to autonomy; hence, the point of state policies is to resolve conflicts of autonomy interests and to specify the spheres ofautonomy of equal citizens. Proportionality offers a useful structure that guides judges in their inquiry as to whether a given policy resolves a conflict of autonomy interests in a reasonable way.

Kai Möller is an Associate Professor of Law at the LSE. Before joining the Law Department in 2009, he was a Junior Research Fellow and previously a Lecturer in Jurisprudence at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. He holds M.Jur., M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees from Oxford and a PhD in law from Freiburg University. He is also qualified for the German bar.



Law and Public Policy PhD Worshop

26. January 2016

15h15-15h35 - Radek Píša, PhD. Candidate, Charles University Respondent: Armando Rocha

Why is constitutional review crucial in post-communist countries? Courts are usually perceived (and criticized) as counter-majoritarian institutions, concept coined by (Bickel 1986). Contrary to this, Gerald Rosenberg claimed that US Supreme Court is incapable to bring about social change, since it possesses no power to enforce it (Rosenberg 1993). Rosenberg’s work is one of the inspirational sources to Ran Hirschl, who considers modern politicians to be agenda setters for powerful judicial bodies. In his view, courts enforce largely unpopular economic policies on behalf of the politicians (Hirschl 2006). Hirschl connects this political arrangement with the rise of neoliberal economic policies, most prominently in Israel – where the introduction of constitutional review in early 1990s coincided with radical shift from left and Keynesian doctrines (Hirschl 1998). I would like to argue that he misses the fact that Israel’s society wasn’t actually liberal before this transition (I use liberal in this context simply as caring for rights). In my opinion, this arrangement parallels post-communist world: constitutional review emerging from the lack of genuine right-based discourse (and playing along with the politicians in their agenda as a secondary outcome). I would like to argue that this arrangement has proven itself to be dysfunctional. As a product designed to maintain certain privileges, yet lacking legitimacy gained from past mistakes (US model) or history (German model), the central European model of constitutional review was left without substantial independent function. This situation can lead to direct conflict (Hungarian and, currently, Poland), or the court can be filled with second-rank personalities (Slovakia).

15h35-16h55 - Tito Rendas, PhD. Candidate, Universidade Católica Portuguesa Respondent: Lucie Straková

“To infinity and beyond”? The duration of copyright protection Copyright-wise, the turn of the year has a special flavor. Since copyright protection expires at the end of the calendar year of the work’s last year of protection, every January 1st a number of literary and artistic works enter the public domain. 2016 greeted copyright-reliant industries with the expiry of copyright in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Anne Frank’s Diary in the European Union. Term expiry is, in fact, the most common form of loss of copyright protection. The existing term to the authors’ exclusive rights over their works is thus the intergenerational issue in copyright law.

My presentation will start with a brief tour through the history of the copyright term in the European Union and the United States. In this tour, I will make the trend of copyright term extension palpable. I will then try to show that such an extension lacks a plausible justification by countering the arguments that have been put forward in favor of longer copyright terms. I will argue, moreover, that the current duration of copyright protection is counterproductive: it harms creative production, instead of stimulating it, by limiting the number of works available in the public domain – works that the subsequent creative activity relies on. The public domain is a vital part of the copyright equation and should not be plundered without a robust justification. Absent such a justification, any future attempts to increase the term of protection should be rejected.

16h10-16h30 Lucie Straková, PhD. Candidate, Mazaryk University, Brno Respondent : Tito Rendas

Should non-commercial use on the Internet be excluded from the scope of copyright collective management societies? The presentation aims to provide some thoughts about relation of collective rights management and the possibility of granting a licence for non-commercial use. As new European directive on collective management of rights states, all the member states have to bring into their law specific provisions giving the right holders the possibility to licence their work for non-commercial use at the same time while they are represented by collective management society. The obligation to allow the author to grant a license for non-commercial purposes, even if the author is represented by a collective management society means that they have to overdo their current system and rethink their usual reluctance in case of author’s willingness of granting a non-commercial license. Nowadays in this case the author is facing a risk of penalisation by his collecting society. This provision is mostly targeted to online works so the question is whether managing this area by collecting society is appropriate and necessary.

This contribution will present examples of non-commercial licensing and then will try to respond the question, whether we actually need collective management societies for the non-commercial use on the Internet. I would like to defend the position that we don't need collective management societies for non-commercial licensing. It's economically ineffective, there might be a need for creation a huge evidence system, and also it would administratively demanding, although new directive wants the process to be as simple as possible for the author."

16h30-16h50, Armando Rocha, PhD. Candidate, Universidade Católica Portuguesa Respondent: Radek Píša

Private Actors, Climate Change and the Law of the Sea Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and certainly the most significant challenge for current marine environmental law. At the international level, several instruments and policies have been adopted but have failed to provide for a proper protection of the marine environment. The reason for this failure regards the “marine environmental tragedy” that States are living in: no one has an incentive to change its policies and behaviours unless others change theirs as well. One option (yet not sufficient per se) is to equip private actors with subjective environmental rights and specific mechanisms of enforcement of these rights. The virtue of bringing private actors into the fight for the preservation of the marine environment lies in the fact that they can more clearly articulate concerns with marine environment, since they are less concerned with short-term goals (as elections, or the state of diplomatic relations) and, as such, might be the most appropriate representatives of future generations.


PhD Videoworkshop in Law, Philosophy and Public Policy
Chaire Hoover d’éthique économique et sociale, Louvain University (Belgium)
Institute of Law and Technology, Faculty of Law, Masaryk University (Brno)
Institute of State and Law, Centre for Law and Public Affairs (CeLAPA), Czech Academy of Science (Prague)
October 22, 2015 


Franz Weyr Fellow Seminar: What is left of the European Economic Constitution?
Christian Joerges
April 2nd
A spectre is haunting Europeanists. The spectre is German ordo-liberalism, allegedly inspiring the crisis management which the Union’s most powerful Member State orchestrates through the imposition of budgetary discipline and austerity politics. The spectre is accompanied by another story of German descent, albeit a more comforting one: the “social market economy”, the social model of the young Federal Republic, a successful synthesis between an efficient (now: “highly competitive”) market economy and social justice in the formative phase of the Federal Republic which was allegedly incorporated first into the Draft Constitutional Treaty of the European Convention and then the Treaty of Lisbon (Art. 3(3) TFEU) European commitment pace Article, allegedly inspired by Germany’s post-war social model but now betrayed by its turn to austerity politics. Both narratives are flawed. Precisely the flaws a re nevertheless instructive. Contrary to prevailing perceptions, the European monetary union was no “economic constitution” in the ordo-liberal sense. What the Maastricht Treaty has institutionalised was instead a “diagonal conflict” which is resistant legal rule. The turn to an authoritarian managerialism in the European crisis can be deciphered on that background. The new modes of economic governance with their focus on financial stability and competiveness have also deconstructed what was held to be the “European social model”. Europe seems to be exposed to a state of emergency. If that is an adequate characterisation, we have to find out how it may be possible to regain a constitutionals condition. 


Call for abstracts - The Law and Ethics of Age Limits - Czech perspectives 
Convenors: Adam Dolezal (Institute of State and Law, Research Unit for Medical Law and Bioethics ) and Axel Gosseries (Louvain and Franz Weyr Fellow, CeLAPA)
Workshop co-organized with Louvain University
Jan 15th
This workshop will aim at discussing specific uses of age limits in law and practice, in employment, pensions, insurance, health care, etc. Papers involving a a detailed analysis and a critical discussion of specific practices, will be especially encouraged, as well as comparisons between age limits against the young and against the elderly, between labour practices and health practices, etc. Priority will be given to paper focusing at least in part on the Czech and Slovak contexts, although sumissions that don’t have this dimension will also be considered.
6 papers will be selected by the convenors through a blind-review system.
Potential contributors from Law, Philosophy, Sociology, Demography, Politics, etc  should send a title and provisional abstract by NOVEMBER 10 to Petr Agha (petr.agha@centrum.cz).
The workshop is open to both junior and senior researchers.

The Post-political Constellation and European Identity
Workshop co-organized with the Centre for Law and Cosmopolitan Values (Faculty of Law, UA) the Government & Law Research Group (Faculty of Law, UA)
September 25th, room M.103 (De Meerminne Building, Sint-Jacobstraat 2, Antwerp)
What is European identity: a political philosophy or a governmental practice? How can we best understand the concept, and what set of theoretical analyses best sheds light on its contemporary operations? European identity is often conceptualized on universal principles and framed in apparent tension with particularistic nature of national identities based on territory, ethnic and cultural heritage or the nation state. As such, could it act as a form of collective affiliation for different identities and political communities in and across Europe? What about human rights? Could they perhaps form the backbone of a common (European) identity? Would a global commitment to international human rights norms provide enough of a sense of community to sustain a legitimate and sufficiently democratic order? 
Our workshop addresses the complex role of and mutual relation between the concepts of democracy, (constitutional) identity, and political and human rights culture. It seeks to explore the potential locations of national constitutional values, their relationship with the text of the European Convention on Human Rights, its function with regard to the judicial reasoning of Member States on issues beyond the confines of national legal systems. In other words it will look into the role of human rights in designing the European project.

Human Dignity and Proportionality Analysis
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Robert Alexy
(Distinguished Fellow in Law and Public Affairs)
18th of June 2014
The relation between proportionality analysis and human dignity is one of the most contested questions in the debate about the normative structure of human dignity. Two conceptions stand in opposition: an absolute and a relative conception. According to the absolute conception, the guarantee of human dignity counts as a norm that takes precedence over all other norms in all cases. Taking precedence over all other norms in all cases implies that balancing is precluded. This, in turn, means that each and every interference with human dignity is a violation of human dignity. Thus, justified interference with human dignity becomes impossible. By contrast, proportionality analysis is intrinsically connected to the distinction between justified and unjustified interferences. A proportional interference is justified and is, therefore, constitutional. The opposite applies in the case of disproportional interference. The absolute conception is incompatible with this conceptual framework. For this reason, it is incompatible with proportionality analysis. According to the relative conception, precisely the opposite is true. The relative conception says that the question of whether human dignity is violated is a question of proportionality. With this, the relative conception is not only compatible with proportionality analysis, it presupposes it.

The Euro-crisis and the post-communist “Return to Europe”: 
Will Europe finally unite?
Seminar co-organized with the London School of Economics
1 May 2014 
In 1990 Václav Havel ushered the hopes shared by many in Central Europe: that the region ‘could approach a rich Western Europe not as a poor dissident or a helpless, amnestied prisoner, but as someone who also brings something with him: namely spiritual and moral incentives, bold peace initiatives, untapped creative potential, the ethos of freshly gained freedom, and the inspiration for brave and swift solutions’. 
Contrary to what Václav Havel hoped, a belief that there was nothing to learn from post-communist countries prevailed in the West, which took 1989 as ‘a restatement of the value of what [it] already [had], of old truths and tested models’. The people in post-communist Europe swiftly accepted it. The only way to freedom and prosperity seemed to be by way of liberal democracy and market economy. 1989 marked the ‘end of history’.  
Today Europe finds itself in a deep crisis: economic, political, but most of all, spiritual. The pressure of ‘a new global race of nations’, as the British Prime Minister put it in his recent EU Speech, determines how Europeans should live today. China, not America, seems to be the relevant “Other”, against which Europe is going to define itself. As a result, its citizens are ‘sidelined and numbed by the repetitive talk of austerity and economic stability, financial leverage and institutional reforms’. Imaginative political language is rare; instead, economists and economism occupy public discourse. To add to these problems, many post-communist countries seem to be ‘sliding back to authoritarianism’ and the Union is uncertain about how to react. Thinking that these developments reflect ‘a deep-seated nationalism’ or ‘a feeling of resentment and victimization’ is however only partly true. After all, the state of democratic politics in some ‘old’ EU Member States is equally worrying and the EU’s approach to its crisis is far from democratic. 
The conference aims at putting these different ways of understanding the crisis in Europe together; in particular we would like to discuss possible connections between the crisis of the EU as whole and the problems that the post-communist Europe faces today.
For registration please contact: agha@ilaw.cas.cz

Post-modernity of Transnational Law and Legal Pluralism
Matej Avbelj
11th of April
This paper advocates a unique understanding of legal pluralism conceived of as a principled legal framework. It explains why this conception of legal pluralism best fits in descriptive, explanatory and normative terms the contemporary post-modern legal condition. The latter has come about and is characterized by the outgrowth of law beyond the state and the consequent emergence of a plurality of legal orders, regimes and orderings, which make up the phenomenon of transnational law. Transnational law and its practices have been theoretically approached through different frames, most notably through the lens of constitutionalism. This paper strives to avoid the epistemic turf war of prestige between constitutionalists and pluralists. Rather than dismissing constitutionalism, it does recognize the plausibility of the constitutional accounts in responding to the post-modern legal condition, but shows how and why exactly legal pluralism, conceived of as a principled legal framework, should be preferred over constitutionalism in framing the transnational realm of law. 
For registration please contact: agha@ilaw.cas.cz 
The Functional Correlation Thesis: Some Fundamental Challenges of Citizenship – in the EU and Beyond
Seminar co-organized with University of Upsala
15th of April 2014
Citizenship is a key mechanism of inclusion and exclusion that has attracted growing attention and is destined to become increasingly decisive as international migration is driven up by economic, political, demographic and climate factors. Today some 2,9% of the world population live outside their country of origin; in 2011, 6.6% of the EU27 population was foreign-born, making the EU a fascinating case to study. Yet we know little about the impact of migration on political systems in the long run and the dynamics of citizenship in a cross-national and interdisciplinary perspective. Cutting edge today means developing a framework going beyond the complex legal and technical specificities of single countries to see the big picture. I am interested in designing theory development so as to gain a framework that grasps citizenship by accounting for the different models present in today’s debate.  Indeed, there are different models of citizenship operating in different SSH-fields. These models, merging in today’s debate, can be accounted for by looking at the opposite of citizenry: a citizen is the opposite of the politically powerless subject (political model); the one who does not belong to a given legal order, i.e. both the foreigner and the stateless (legal model); the marginalized or excluded person who does not fully belong to the community (social model). None of these models can singlehandedly work as yardstick for the only ‘true’ citizenship. The core idea is to test the functional correlation between criteria determining access to the status and type of entitlements it consists in. This insight works for all three models: there is a functional correlation at the heart of ‘citizenship’ no matter if legal, political or generally social. I would like to discuss the risks and gains of this approach as well as the plausibility of the theoretical assumptions it builds on.
For registration please contact: agha@ilaw.cas.cz 

Franz Weyr Fellow Seminar: Constitutionalism and Austerity
Emilios Christodoulidis
27th of February
The idea of the Constitution as involving an irreducibly POLITICAL dimension is progressively giving way to a logic of the constitutional as tailored increasingly to the economic priorities of the European Union. This paper is a preliminary attempt to pose the question over what is sacrificed and how to understand the cost of that sacrifice.
For registration please contact agha@ilaw.cas.cz

Transgender Bodies of Law
Seminar co-organized with University of Helsinki
30th of May
The workshop will aim to demonstrate how the impact of transgender bodies on law greatly exceeds the transgender body itself. It will draw attention to the ways in which transgender emerges as both act and identity in medico-legal reasoning.
As gender identity has become increasingly detached from particular behaviours or preferences, bodies have become the main way of determining gender both in the dominant discourse and in popular culture. Bodies are a crucial element in personal identity formation and perception. It is de rigueur for law to draw clear lines, while law both reflects and reifies our cultural categories, superficially simple, but in fact highly complex. While law portrays itself as certain, predictable, coherent and ordered and views the transgender body as the locus of dissonance, ambiguity and contradiction, the main theme of the workshop is to expose the dysphoric nature of the law which the transgender body uncovers. 
Transgender people represent for law a challenge to the notion of sex as naturally immutable. The law, in a number of different contexts, deploys regulatory strategies around bodies. This has served to conceal the ways in which medico-legal discourse has deployed transgender people in furtherance of a much wider regulatory strategies around sexual practice and gender performance. A connected theme relates to the need to consider and emphasise the seedbed of standards where correct instances of the “natural order of things” are produced. In these latter senses the workshop aims to deepen and broaden inquiry into transgender bodies of law.
For registration please contact: agha@ilaw.cas.cz 


Subsidiarity and Its Discontents
Colloquium co - organized with University of Antwerp
December 18, 2013
Subsidiarity is a widely applicable concept. It has been referred to in various ways for several fields of law and it assumes different functions in each area of law. The principle is increasingly referred to by current human rights scholarship, as a tool to address some of the current problems prevailing in the implementation of the European Convention on Human rights. And whereas most scholars agree that the principle should apply in human rights law, there is still much difference as to the exact scope and field of application of this principle.
The Colloquium aims to examine the various forms subsidiarity in different fields of national and international human rights law. We also welcome critical and theoretical analysis of the concepts underlying the principle. The Colloquium will assess whether subsidiarity is really able to provide an adequate answer to the current challenges the European polity faces.

For registration please contact Petr Agha at agha@ilaw.cas.cz

The Foundations of Law in Europe and the Problem of Constitutional Conflict
Mattias Kumm
December 16, 2013
The question of the foundations of law is not one that is merely of academic interest. Even though a great many practical questions in law appear to be resolved without reference to foundational questions, there are problems that can´t be resolved without implicitly or explicitly addressing them. One such problem is the problem of constitutional conflict. How should national constitutional courts address conflicts between national constitutions and requirements of European Union law? The lecture will explore different claims about the foundations of law in Europe by way of analyzing the jurisprudence of some of Europe´s highest courts as they engage issues of constitutional conflict and relate these to classical positions in jurisprudential debates of the 20th century (Hart, Kelsen, Schmitt, Dworkin). It will provide an answer the following questions: To what extent is there space for legitimate legal pluralism in Europe? To what extent must a state, including a national constitutional court, accept the iron cage of European legal discipline? If the foundational values in Europe are human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as Art. 2 TFEU claims, what is the role of national identity, statehood and sovereignty?

The Self-Referential Semantics of Sovereignty: A Systems Theoretical Response to (Post)Sovereignty Studies
Jiří Přibáň
December 2, 2013
The talk focuses on the proliferation of the sovereignty discourse and the normative expectations of some major and typical theories of sovereign and post-sovereign politics and law. It analyses sovereignty’s semantic value for modern politics and law. Drawing on the autopoietic social systems theory, the final part considers sovereignty as part of the self-referential semantics of both the legal and political system. The author argues that the concept of sovereignty cannot be discarded as useless if politicians, lawyers, constitutional judges and the general public continue using it in their social communication. However, it cannot be understood as a fiction signifying the total unity of society ultimately governed and controlled by one power centre and its laws. This fiction needs to be replaced by a theory in which the concept of sovereignty is self-limiting and self-referring to the globalized systems of politics and law.