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UCU Strike Action – Open Letter

We the undersigned, Call on the UCU national leadership to reconsider its position reached in ACAS negotiations with UUK on the 12th March 2018. The current agreement kicks a serious solution to the pension dispute in the long grass, committing to a three year process of re-evaluation. It further does so at the very moment…

Crises of Constitutionality

A Marxist problematization of the concept of constitutional crisis. Originally published by Legal Form. Republished by permission. What is a constitutional crisis? Can a diverse array of observed phenomena — such as the slow-motion coup in Brazil, the legal and jurisprudential uncertainty that will attend any possible Brexit, or the attempts to consolidate ethnically and religiously…

Giorgio Agamben: Oath

Key Concept Today, the oath seems to us obscure and obsolete. As an enigmatic relic of earlier times, it invokes the authority of sacred and supernatural powers that go beyond the scope of human capabilities, and by doing so it realizes its aim—namely, truth-telling. Since these powers are no longer as effective as they used…

Demands Against the Long Crisis of the University

Next week the UCU (University and Colleges Union), which represents most people working as lecturers and researchers in universities, is beginning a wave of strikes. The strike is about cuts to pensions. Since there is a large financial hole in the main pension fund, the bodies that administrate that fund are hoping to lessen it…

Safe Spaces for Colonial Apologists

The recent controversies about Oxford Professor Nigel Biggar’s “Ethics and Empire” project and UK Universities Minister Jo Johnson’s attack on “safe space culture” have both been defended on freedom of speech grounds. However, they are better understood as retrenching colonial thinking in universities. Nigel Biggar’s research project proposes to take a cost-benefit analysis of British imperial…

Evgeny Pashukanis: Commodity-Form Theory of Law

Key Concept Whether one believes that law is provided by God (Natural Law), is created by human intellect (Positivism), a gendered institution perpetuating patriarchy (Feminism) or the maintainer of the status quo against marginalised groups (Critical Legal Studies), undergirding those beliefs is the assumption that law is autonomous. In its autonomy, law operates as an…

Martti Koskenniemi: Indeterminacy

Key Concept In From Apology to Utopia (1989), the Finnish jurist and former diplomat Martti Koskenniemi presents his thesis on international law’s fundamental indeterminacy. This would come to epitomize a critical moment in international law. Rather than repeat the classical legal view concerning “relative indeterminacy” (where, in some difficult but marginal cases there might not…

Is Fascism Making a Comeback? (Part II)

Continuing the reposted series from State of Nature, the question is whether Fascism is making a comeback? Laurence Davis Seventy-two years after the end of World War II, the spectre of fascism is again haunting the globe. The important questions we should be asking are why, and what can be done about it. The evidence…

Private Security: Twin Indignities

The privatisation of criminal justice practices is an affront to human dignity. When we are acted upon for profit as well as for justified ends, the proper link between coercion, rights, and authority is lost. Ministry of Justice proposals could mean that all collection of court fines — powers normally exercised by Civilian Enforcement Officers, employees…

Radicalizing Women’s Rights Internationally

The recent “burqa bans” in Austria and Quebec appear to be troubling legal manifestations of the rising tide of Islamaphobia in Europe and North America. The news coverage of the bans coincided for me with a bout of reflexive angst regarding the recent publication of an article on Shari’a based reservations to CEDAW. I wrote…

Fully Funded PhD Studentships at the University of Hong Kong

Applications are now open for fully funded studentships at The Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong (HKU). The Faculty is consistently ranked as one of the top 20 law schools worldwide. Each year 10-12 students are admitted to PhD, SJD and MPhil programmes. Supervision is available in most areas of private, public,…

Sustaining neoliberal capital through socio-economic rights

In a 2013 contribution aimed at influencing the post-2015 development agenda, seventeen UN Special Rapporteurs recommended that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should include a goal on the provision of social protection floors. In April 2015 the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR or the Committee) issued a Statement on ‘Social protection…

CALL FOR PAPERS Comparative perspectives on regulating age of consent and child-marriage in the British Empire, 1880 to 1930

Date: 15 June 2018 Location: SOAS University of London This is a call for proposals for a one-day interdisciplinary conference which aims to explore the debates that led to the reform of age of consent laws around the British Empire during the years 1880 to 1930. The conference is particularly interested in exploring the issues…

Feminist Legal Studies: Call for Editorial Board Members

Feminist Legal Studies celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018.  The Editorial Board invites new members to join us as we look to the future in sustaining and regenerating feminist legal studies.  Since the new editorial board was established in 2013, we have continued to operate as a feminist collective committed to publishing interdisciplinary, theoretically engaged…

The Fallacies of Neoliberal Protest

This post is an amended version of remarks read at a rally organized by Cornell University’s Black Students United (BSU) on September 23, 2016. Students gathered to protest the recent police shootings of Tyree King, Terence Crutcher, and Keith Lamont Scott. It is reposted here with the kind permission of Black Perspectives. Sisters and brothers: I’m…

Constitutional Exposure: A Postulation for Democracy to Come

Ghetti, Pablo. Constitutional Exposure: A Postulation for Democracy to Come.Oxford: Counterpress, 2017. | B & W 229 x 152 mm | Perfect Bound on White w/Matte Laminate | 226 pages | Paperback ISBN 978-1-910761-04-5 | E-book (PDF) ISBN N/A | 28 August 2017 Now Available Here “Democracy to come is still a postulation to come. This is to…

CfP: Contingency: How International Law Could Have Been?

The workshop ‘Contingency in the Course of International Law: How International Law Could Have Been’ will ask a question that is deceptive in its simplicity: How might international law have been otherwise? The overarching aim will be to expose the contingencies of international law’s development by inquiring into international law’s past. Such inquiries may be of systematic…

The Jamestown Massacre: Rigour & International Legal History

Over recent years there have been significant advances in scholarship on the history of international law. Critical histories, including feminist, Marxist and most productively Third World perspectives, shed fresh light on the history of the discipline and its political frame illuminating contemporary international law in important ways. Amongst the small pond of critical international lawyers,…