February update

Welcome to this February update of the Law and Courts standing group.

There are two main things you should be aware of this month.

1) Hamburg (General Conference): call for papers, deadline 15th February
2) Mons (Joint Sessions): workshop proposal submitted

Hamburg General Conference

The ECPR general conference will be held in Hamburg between the 22nd and 25th August of this year.

The call for papers ends on 15th February, so now’s the time to think what papers you’ll be ready to present in September.

When we (as standing group convenors) made our section proposal, we created seven panels:

1) Courts and inter-branch relations
2) The policy-making role of courts
3) Compliance and effectiveness of courts
4) Judicialization of politics and politicization of courts
5) Courts in non-democratic and transitional systems
6) The courts, public opinion and the media
7) Politics and Courts in Central Europe

(See https://ecpr.eu/Events/SectionDetails.aspx?SectionID=782&EventID=115 for full description).

We hope that these panels are broad enough to capture any paper you might reasonably wish to present. When you submit your paper proposals, it would help us (as convenors) if you were to strongly hint(!) in your abstract which panel your paper would best fit.

Once the deadline closes, we’ll know whether we’ve been able to maintain our full allocation of panels, and will be able to confirm acceptance shortly after that.

Mons Joint Sessions

In our email of December, we told you that two steering group members (Daniel Naurin and David Kosar) had been working on a proposal for the Joint Sessions in Mons in 2019.

Their proposal — on judicial independence under pressure: International and domestic judicial politics in the age of populism — has now been submitted. We’ve taken the liberty of attaching it to this email.

We hope very much that the proposal will be accepted. In the past, the Standing Group has not had the best luck in getting such proposals accepted — but I am sure that this excellent proposal should stand a very good chance indeed.

As ever, if you have new papers which you wish to promote, please do let your co-convenors (Chris: chris.hanretty@rhul.ac.uk and Juan: juan.mayoral@jur.ku.dk) know.


December update

[originally sent 11th December 2017]

There are three items to report:

1. ECPR General Conference, Hamburg (Aug. 2018)
2. ECPR Joint Sessions (Mons, April 2019)
3. New papers

Our very best seasonal wishes to you!

Hamburg General Conference

The steering group proposed eight panels for the ECPR General Conference, to be held in Hamburg between the 22nd and 25th August 2018.

We are glad to say that we were allocated seven panels, which is a good success rate given the constant pressure on space.

You can find the description of the section at https://ecpr.eu/Events/SectionDetails.aspx?SectionID=782&EventID=115

You now have the possibility of submitting papers to the section.

The deadline for paper submission is 15th February 2018. You can submit papers at https://ecpr.eu/MyEcpr/Forms/PaperProposalForm.aspx?EventID=115


ECPR Joint Sessions

After some discussion, and after having invited informal proposals in previous emails, two members of the steering group (Daniel Naurin and David Kosar) have proposed the following for the Joint Sessions in Mons in 2019.

Title: Judicial independence under pressure: International and domestic judicial politics in the age of populism.

Motivated by: the increasing pressure on courts, international and domestic, taking as flashpoints Brexit and the Daily Mail, Hungary, Poland, reactions to the ICC, and so on.

Mindful of: the need to avoid drawing a hard distinction between international and domestic courts.

We welcome papers that study the:
– shifting attitudes towards courts, domestic and international, in public opinion and key elite constituencies
– shifting policies towards courts, domestic and international, in terms of appointments, override, non-compliance, exit, termination or more unconventional court curbing tactics (including measures implemented by actors such as judicial councils, chief justices, judicial associations, etc)
– the responses of courts to shifts in attitudes and attempts at politicization.

If you are interested and would like to present a paper as part of this proposal, please email either Daniel (daniel.naurin@jus.uio.no) or David (kosmen@yahoo.com) as soon as possible.

Proposals for the Joint Sessions are generally submitted with full lists of attendees and a fairly detailed discussion of the relationship between the papers, and so some coordination is very much necessary!

New papers

  • Kálmán Pócza has recently published (together with Gábor Dobos and Attila Gyulai) an article in the German Law Journal, “How to Measure the Strength of Judicial Decisions: A Methodological Framework”. You can find it at http://www.germanlawjournal.com/s/08_Vol_18_No_06A_Pocza_.pdf
  • Daniel Naurin has recently published (together with Julian Dederke) an article in the European Journal of Political Research, “Friends of the Court? Why EU governments file observations before the Court of Justice”. You can find it at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-6765.12255

David Kosař has published a variety of articles:

  • “Nudging Domestic Judicial Reforms from Strasbourg: How the European Court of Human Rights shapes domestic judicial design”, in the Utrecht Law Review (https://www.utrechtlawreview.org/articles/abstract/10.18352/ulr.368/)
  • “Politics of Judicial Independence and Judicial Accountability in Czechia: Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law between Court Presidents and the Ministry of Justice”,  in the European Constitutional Law Review. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1574019616000419
  • (together with Jan Petrov) “The Architecture of the Strasbourg System of Human Rights: The Crucial Role of the Domestic Level and the Constitutional Courts in Particular”, in the Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht. See http://www.zaoerv.de/77_2017/vol77.cfm

As ever, if you have new papers which you wish to promote, please do let your co-convenors (Chris: chris.hanretty@rhul.ac.uk and Juan: juan.mayoral@jur.ku.dk) know.


Post-Oslo update

[originally sent 11th September 2017]

1. Thanks to Oslo attendees
2. Publicity for your papers
3. Deadlines for the next few months
4. CELSE 2018

Thank you to ECPR General Conference Attendees

Thanks to all of you who attended the Law and Courts panels at the ECPR General Conference in Oslo. A particular thanks to those of you who also attended the business meeting, with the lunch generously provided by PluriCourts. The Standing Group (SG) organised eight panels, all of which seemed to me to be were very well attended.

We attach the slides shown at the SG Business meeting, which introduce the people involved in the standing group, and say what we’re thinking about for the next couple of years and months.

Publicise your papers and events

As mentioned at the business meeting: if you have (new) papers coming out, we can publicise them via our Twitter account, and eventually include them in these emails. E-mail juan.mayoral@jur.ku.dk or tweet @ecpr_law_courts

Advance warning for the months ahead

Over the next couple of months, the SG will have to propose a number of events at different ECPR-organised sessions.

On the 15th September, the call for sections for the next (Oct. 2018) General Conference in Hamburg will open. The SG will put forward a section proposal before the deadline (15th November). However, we have to do so substantially in advance of the deadline for paper and panel proposals. If you have an idea for a panel — even a tentative idea which you would like to share with others — please let me and Juan know, so that we can try and incorporate it in to the section proposal. If we do not receive specific ideas, we’ll try and keep the generic panels that work reasonably well (domestic, international, methods, preliminary references). However, given the success of a number of the more tailored panels at this year’s conference (media; executive-legislative relations) we’re keen to include specific panel proposals.

On the 1st October, the call for proposals for the next (April 2019) Joint Sesssions in Mons will open. The SG has not had a great record in getting Joint Sessions proposals accepted. Joint Sessions proposals (for “closed gatherings of 15─20 participants”) are much more targeted. We would welcome any suggestions you have, particularly those which involve collaboration with another standing group in order to maximise our chances of success.

Bottom line: if you want fun things to happen at ECPR events, let us know your ideas!

CELSE 2018

Arthur Dyevre forwards the following notice:

Second Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies – Europe (CELSE) May 31 – June 1, 2018, Leuven, Belgium.

Call for Papers – Submission Deadline: 15 February 2018, 6:00 pm (CET) CELSE will consider empirical papers across all areas of law, although priority will be given to papers with a European focus. Empirical analysis is understood to encompass any systematic approach to quantitative or qualitative data analysis, including statistical analysis, machine learning, experiments, text-mining and network analysis techniques. Only submissions in English are considered. While authors are strongly encouraged to submit works in-progress, submissions should be completed drafts that present main findings. Submitted papers must be unpublished (and expected to be unpublished at the time of the conference).
University of Leuven, founded in 1485, is less than 15 minutes by train from Brussels International Airport and 30 minutes by train from Brussels-Midi train station.
Paper submissions
Instructions on how to submit your paper will soon be posted on the conference websitehttps://www.law.kuleuven.be/pub/en/cltej/CELSE


July update

[originally sent 1st August 2017]

Here is your summer update for the Standing Group on Law and Courts…

1) Election results
2) Lunch, and other Oslo reminders
3) Preparation for next General Conference

Election results

After a long, long time preparing the election, we know have a full steering committee.

Five group members stood for four positions on the steering committee.

The new members of the steering committee are (in alphabetical order):

– Josephine de Jaegere (Antwerp)
– David Kosař (Masaryk University)
– Daniel Naurin (Oslo)
– Theresa Squatrito (Oslo)

The full election results are in an attachment if you like that kind of thing…

Your convenors (Chris Hanretty and Juan Mayoral) are working with the steering group to develop ideas for the group’s future activities. If you have suggestions, please email us individually or collectively.

Lunch, and other Oslo reminders

The full programme for the Oslo conference is now pretty much final. You can find the details of the Law and Courts section at https://ecpr.eu/Events/SectionDetails.aspx?SectionID=657&EventID=96

Aside from the academic events, we’d like to draw your attention to the Standing Group business meeting

Meeting for the Standing Group on Law and Courts
Friday 13:00 – 14:00 (08/09/2017)
Building: BL11 Harriet Holters hus Room: HH 101

We’d like to invite you along so you can determine the future direction of the group, and get to know people. There will be free food (TBC!)

On the topic of food, you will have received regular reminders from the ECPR to book lunch from the canteen if you have not already. This is strongly, strongly recommended as a convenient and cheap(er) option than going to the nearest cafe.

Preparation for the next General Conference

Unfortunately, we were not successful in our proposal for the Joint Sessions in Nicosia, and so after Oslo our energies will go to planning for the General Conference in Hamburg in 2018. We’d appreciate any thoughts you might have on how to organise the panels — but perhaps best to voice them at the business meeting if you’re in Oslo.


June update

[originally sent 12th June 2017]

Here is the June update from the ECPR Standing Group on Law and Courts. There are three items.

– Standing group elections
– Oslo general conference
– Nicosia joint sessions

Standing group elections

As you will know, elections were originally promised at the last general conference held in Prague last September. Unfortunately due to debates over the standing group constitution it has taken until now to arrange the elections.

Because there were only two candidates for the role of convenor, these two candidates (Chris Hanretty and Juan Mayoral) have been deemed elected.

There are five candidates for four vacancies on the steering group. On Friday you should have received an email which describes how you can vote in these elections. You’ll have to log on to myECPR, and select “My groups”. You’ll then be able to see a link to the elections, and the candidates’ statements.

Voting will close at midnight 19th June, so please — vote now!

Oslo (September 2017)

The academic programme for the Oslo conference has now been finalised, and you should have been notified if your paper was selected.

We received an unusually large number of excellent paper and panel proposals. The standing group was able to get a large number of panels together, and you can see these and the rest of the academic programme at https://ecpr.eu/Events/SectionDetails.aspx?SectionID=657&EventID=96 . For information, the panels accepted were:

P074    Courts and Separation of Powers
P078    Cross National Networks of Courts
P190    Judicial Behaviour, Judicial Activism
P200    Legislative-Judicial Relations in Central Europe
P222    Media Representation and Salience of Courts
P224    Methods in Law and Courts Research
P345    Selection and Promotion of Judges – New Challenges
P373    The Challenging and Challenged Authority of International Courts

The standing group will also hold a business meeting during the General Conference (date/time TBC).

Nicosia (2018)

The standing group supported one application for the Joint Sessions in Nicosia, on the theme of Judicial Dialogues. The proposal — which was put together by Katarína Šipulová and David Kosař — seemed excellent to me, but unfortunately the organising panel disagreed. Thanks to Katarina and David for putting together the application. We’ll have an opportunity to discuss next steps at the business meeting in Oslo.


Oslo update / Berlin summer school

[originally sent 17th February 2017]

(1) Oslo General Conference
(2) Berlin Summer School in Social Sciences

Oslo General Conference

The deadline for the submission of panels and papers to the ECPR General Conference (to be held in September in Oslo) has now passed.

We’re pleased to report that we’ve received 73 paper proposals, which is a substantial increase on the number submitted to the Prague General Conference last year (42).

Given the large number of papers submitted, we hope that the Academic Convenors will be generous to us. In December, they provisionally allocated us just four panel slots. On Monday we’ll know whether they have been able to increase that number.

Following confirmation of the number of panels, we’ll be able to start the process of selecting papers. We ask for your patience during this process.

Berlin Summer School

We’ve been asked to circulate the following announcement about the 7th Berlin Summer School in Social Sciences. Colleagues may be particularly interested in the thematic areas on inter-regionalism and citizenship.

Linking Theory and Empirical Research

Berlin, July 16 – 27, 2017

We are delighted to announce the 7th Berlin Summer School in Social Sciences. The summer school aims at supporting young researchers by strengthening their ability in linking theory and empirical research. The two-week program creates an excellent basis for the development of their current research designs.

In the first week, we address the key methodological challenges of concept-building, causation/explanation, and micro-macro linkage that occur in almost all research efforts. We strive for a clarification of the epistemological foundations underlying methodological paradigms. In the second week, these methodological considerations are applied to central empirical fields of research in political science, sociology, and other related disciplines. In this second part of the program, participants are assigned to four thematic groups according to their own research topics. The thematic areas covered are: “External Governance, Interregionalism, and Domestic Change”, “Citizenship, Migration, and Identities”, “Social Struggle and Globalization”, and “Democracy at the Crossroads”.

The program is characterized by a varied format comprising lectures, workshops, seminars, and one-to-one consultations. During the summer school, participants will also have the opportunity to present and discuss their own work extensively. Participants will be provided with hands-on advice for their research designs.

The school brings together a faculty of renowned international and Berlin-based scholars. Among the confirmed international lecturers are Dorothee Bohle (Central European University), Donatella della Porta (Scuola Normale Superiore), Gary Goertz (University of Notre Dame), Macartan Humphreys (Columbia University), Sanjay Reddy (New School for Social Research), Saskia Sassen (Columbia University), and Hendrik Wagenaar (University of Sheffield).

The Berlin Summer School was co-funded by the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. Moreover, we receive generous funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Details on travel grants and tuition fees can be found on our webpage.

The international summer school is open to 50 PhD candidates, advanced master students, and young postdocs. The call for applications is currently open. Applications can be submitted online via the application form on the summer school webpage until March 31, 2017.

The decisions of the selection committee will be announced to the applicants in April. For more information, please visit our webpage at http://www.berlinsummerschool.de.

If you have any further questions, please contact the organizing team at summerschool.bgss@hu-berlin.de


Nicosia last call; Oslo call for papers

[originally sent 27th January 2017]

Welcome to this January update of the Law and Courts standing group.

It’s probably too late to say happy New Year — but happy New Year.

There are just two things to remind you about.

1) Nicosia (Joint Sessions): last check for workshop proposals, deadline 1st February
2) Oslo (General Conference): call for papers, deadline 15th February


The Joint Sessions of the ECPR for 2018 will be held in Nicosia.

The Joint Sessions are a fantastic opportunity for a group of scholars to engage in intense constructive criticism of each other’s papers.

I had previously (October) invited proposals for submissions, and so far I’ve only received one (attached). Unless there are any other submissions, that proposal will be getting the group’s endorsement.


The general conference will be held in September of this year.

The call for papers ends on 15th February, so now’s the time to think what papers you’ll be ready to present in September.

The call for panels also closes at this time, but as a group we’re not inviting additional panels. We had previously asked for six panels (domestic courts and inter-branch relations; the policy-making role of courts; international courts in Europe;  international courts in the rest of the world; courts in non-democratic and transitional systems; data and methods in law and courts research), but we were only assigned four. However, if there’s a panel which you think cross boundaries or stands a good chance of adding to our tally, please let us know.


Oslo / elections / gender on the bench

[Originally sent 17th November 2016]

There are 3 items in this month’s update

1. Oslo general conference
2. Elections
3. Gender on the International Bench

Oslo general conference

The standing group has now submitted a section proposal for the Oslo General Conference, to be held on the 6th – 9th September 2017.

The list of panels was as follows:

  • Domestic courts and inter-branch relations:
  • The policy-making role of courts:
  • International Courts: Europe
  • International Courts: Rest of World
  • Courts in non-democratic and transitional systems:
  • Data and methods in law and courts research:

This follows the pattern used by the group in previous ECPR meetings.

If the section is accepted, the call for papers and panels will go out on the 2nd December, finishing on the 15th February.


In the previous (October) update I invited candidates for election to the steering committee of the standing group.

Thank you to the individuals who put themselves forward. Unfortunately, due to some constitutional issues, we have not been able to proceed to elections *just yet*. There was some confusion about the status of the group’s constitution, but the ECPR Executive Committee is now looking at a constitution for the group which will formalize what we thought was already the case. The elections will go ahead, just a little bit later than planned.

Gender on the International Bench

(this note by Daniel Naurin at PluriCourts)

PluriCourts and ICourts, the two Scandinavian research centers studying international courts and tribunals, invites papers in political science and philosophy to a joint workshop on Gender on the International Bench. The aims of the workshop are to better understand the patterns and effects of (the lack of) gender diversity on international courts, to critically assess reasons to be concerned with the gender disparity, and to identify challenges and ways to alleviate disparities that should be changed.

The workshop takes place in Oslo on March 23-24, 2017. You find the call for papers here: http://www.jus.uio.no/pluricourts/english/news-and-events/news/2016/2016-11-01-cfp-gender.html


Nicosia, Oslo and elections

[originally sent 22nd October 2016]

There are three things we wanted to draw your attention to as members of the ECPR Standing Group on Law and Courts:

1) ECPR Joint Sessions Nicosia
2) ECPR General Conference Oslo
3) Standing Group elections

ECPR Joint Sessions Nicosia

So far I’ve received one proposal for the Joint Sessions in Nicosia, to be held in 2018.

The Joint Sessions bring together twelve to eighteen scholars for a week of intensive discussions on focused papers.

The proposal is on “Judicial Dialogues”, and comes from David Kosar. Here is the abstract:

“The workshop “Judicial Dialogues” aims to fill the gap existing in contemporary research and to provide a comprehensive picture about the effects of European and international and domestic constitutional law. More precisely, the workshop thereby poses several questions:

 – What form does the judicial interaction between international and domestic courts take?
– How do international and national courts communicate? Does this communication happen on vertical (relationship of authority and hierarchy) or horizontal level (a dialogue)?
– What is the relationship of domestic courts and other political actors taking part on judicial review proceedings? Is there any dialogic interplay between the courts and legislators?
– What is the form of a domestic implementation of international HR law?
– How do international and national courts communicate in human rights protection? Does this communication happen on vertical (relationship of authority and hierarchy) or horizontal level (a dialogue)?
– How is this interaction reflected and how does it influence relationship of domestic courts and other national actors, especially legislators?
Are there any differences in different areas of HR protection (asylum law, environmental law, EU HR Law, etc.)?”

If you would like more information about this proposal, or if you would like to participate in this workshop, please email David at either kosmen@yahoo.com or david.kosar@law.muni.cz

ECPR General Conference Oslo

The ECPR has recently (20th September) invited calls for proposls for the 2017 General Conference, to be held in Oslo. The call closes on the 16th November.

The current convenors of the standing group (Chris Hanretty and Christoph Hoennige) will be preparing a proposal which builds on the same general format used in Prague, and which includes panels dealing with:

  • domestic courts and their relationship with other national institutions;
  • the policy-making role of courts;
  • international courts;
  • courts in non-democratic and transitional systems
  • data and methods in law and courts research

These headings are purposely general in nature.

If you would like to propose an additional panel, or wish to make suggestions as to how to improve the list given above, please email c.hanretty@uea.ac.uk and c.hoennige@ipw.uni-hannover.de

Standing Group Elections

Under the rules of the ECPR, the standing group is required to hold elections to choose its officers. (You can find these rules at http://ecpr.eu/standinggroups/standinggroupframework.aspx)

We had hoped to organize elections at the recent General Conference in Prague. Unfortunately, this was not possible, as there were too few attendees at the meeting, relative to the total size of the group.

We would therefore like to organize elections online.

Nominations are requested for two roles. There are six positions in total:

– two positions as Convenors;
– four positions as members of the Steering Committee

Convenors are responsible for most of the work of the standing group. They organize group activities, and ensure that the group is well represented at the ECPR General Conference and Joint Sessions.

Steering committee members play an important role in helping the convenors organize group activities, by acting both as a sounding board for proposals for activities, and as a source of ideas for new group activities.

If you would like to stand for election, please email c.hanretty@uea.ac.uk with your name, your institutional affiliation, and a short (less than 100-word) statement of why you should be elected. This statement should make clear whether you would be willing to serve as convenor should you be elected.

The deadline for nominations is Monday 31st October.

Best wishes, your convenors,


Proposals for Nicosia Joint Sessions

[originally sent 4th Oct. 2016]

At its business meeting last month the members of the Law and Courts Standing Group discussed the forthcoming call for proposals for the 2018 Joint Sessions of the ECPR, to be held in Nicosia. The call opens in October, but does not close until December.

The standing group didn’t put forward any proposals for the next (2017) Joint Sessions. That’s fine – with around fifty standing groups, not every group can put forward a proposal each year.

It would, however, be a Very Good Thing for the standing group to put forward a proposal for Nicosia. We discussed a number of essential and desirable criteria for any proposal:

Essentials: any proposal must:

  • Demonstrate a good fit with the aims and objectives of the standing group
  • Demonstrate a focused research agenda shared by all contributors;
  • List all intended participants and their intended research;

Desirables: any proposal should:

  •  display a reasonable balance between genders
  • feature participants from across the range of ECPR institutions (that is, it should not be a solely Western or Eastern European affair)
  • set out proposals for publishing the results of the workshop, either singly or collectively (the ideal outcome from the ECPR’s perspective would be a volume already accepted in principle by ECPR Press)

Desirable and specific to the Law and Courts SG: proposals should

  • bring together both those working primarily on domestic courts and those working on international courts;
  • contribute to systematic data collection for the purposes of eventual comparative analysis;

This might be achieved by focusing on something which all courts do (have judges selected by varying procedures; have lawyers appearing for parties; determine winners; cite decisions), or some process which binds international and domestic courts (preliminary reference procedures, cross-citation).

If you have an idea for a proposal, then let us know by emailing c.hanretty@uea.ac.uk. We may be able to put people in touch with each other. We’ll gather ideas and circulate them to the group.