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Call for Papers: The Seventh International Four Societies Conference (Submission deadline extended t

Hosted by:

Japanese Society of International Law (JSIL)

2-3 June, 2018

Tokyo, Japan


The international law societies of Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the United States of America (the “Four Societies”) have held six conferences bringing together early career scholars around a common theme, generally leading to an edited conference volume. The goal of this initiative is to foster a scholarly network between members of the four sponsoring societies.

The Steering Committee for the Seventh Conference now invites paper proposals from members of the Four Societies.

Theme: Changing Actors in International Law

The 2018 Conference will examine changing roles of actors in international law and their impact on relevant theories. In recent years, we have seen an increasing number of discussions and research on non-State actors, focusing on their legal status, functions and impacts of their activities. We have seen also the change of States, in terms of their status, elements, characters and functions. It is here where we are faced to issues of interaction between non-State actors and States. Noticeable topics will be, among others, responsibility shared between international organizations and member States, armed attack or exercise of self-defense against non-State actors such as terrorists, interplay and separation between public sector and private sector. It is possible to add other issues related to the theme in various areas of public and private international law and international relations. In order to address these practical problems, it would be required and desirable to discuss several theoretical issues.

The following questions categorized under several items will concretely explain the wide coverage and contents of the theme.

Questions to consider include:

Theoretical Impacts by Emergence of Non-State Actors

  • What are the theoretical and practical implications of emergence of non-State actors?

  • How can non-State actors facilitate the formation and implementation of international law in its various fields?

  • What is the impact of non-State actors on international law on the use of force?

  • What is the current state of “humanization of international law?” What is the way forward?

  • What is the relationship between the responsibility of non-State actors and States? e.g. the shared duties and responsibilities of Statesand businesses with regard to the protection of and respect for human rights, in light of the 2011 UN Guiding Principles

  • What is the impact of non-State actors on international law on the armed conflicts, including the issue of rights and obligations that non-State armed groups could possess?

  • Can the extraterritorial use of force against non-State actors have impact on the law of armed conflict?

Statehood and Its Undergoing Changes

  • Should we, or how to, maintain the criteria of Statehood?: Islamic State, terrorist groups, Kosovo, Somalia etc.

  • How can we think about the status of unrecognized Sates (de facto States), and keep peace around such lawless areas?

  • Is there any possibility of new legal theory without/ beyond State consents?

  • How can we delimit between the public and the private? :public-private partnership (PPP), private military companies, State owned enterprise (SOE), the issue of attribution, etc.

  • What is the legal status of federated entities and non-self governing territories?


  • Is it necessary to redefine the legal status of NGOs in the international legal order?

  • How can the international legal order accommodate NGOs and their concerns?

  • Does the participation of NGOs enhance democratic legitimacy in international law creation?

  • Does the participation of NGOs enhance efficiency in international law implementation?

  • What are the legal implications of NGOs playing vital role in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals?

  • In what forum can international disputes between States and NGOs be settled?

Various Non-State Actors

  • What are new frontiers in human rights law? : indigenous peoples, minority, people (holder of the right to self-determination)

  • How are the rights of indigenous peoples realized?

  • What roles do and should scientists play in implementation of international law, for instance, in cases of maritime delimitations?

  • How does the law of the sea relate to rights and interests of non-State actors? :vessels

  • How is Multinational Business regulated?

International Organizations

  • How is the accountability of international organization secured?

  • How to share responsibility?: responsibility of States and international organizations

Dispute Settlement Involving Non-State Actors

  • What legal status should we admit to non-State actors in State-States dispute settlement? :amicus brief, etc.

  • What are the characteristics of dispute settlement procedures involving foreign investors as parties?

  • How should we treat non-State laws/ rules for the settlement of transnational civil or commercial matters?

  • How can a State court make better contributions to dispute resolutions concerning international trade in the present prosperity of international arbitration?

We encourage proposals from both theoretical and practical perspectives, and from all areas of international law. We equally welcome applications from those taking an interdisciplinary approach to the theme among the disciplines, such as public and private international law, and international relations.

Submission Details:

Submission of Proposals and the Process of Selection Applications to take part in the conference should include a paper description not exceeding 300 words and the applicant’s curriculum vitae. Papers should cover work that has not been published. The Four Societies intend to publish the papers in an edited collection with a leading international publisher, as has been past practice (see below).

Canadian Council on International Law members may submit proposals by e-mail at and the subject line of the email should read as follows: “2018 Four Societies Conference Paper Proposal: [Your Name]”. Applicants who are member of more than one participating society should make a submission to only one society. The deadline for submission of proposals is extended to 15 January 2018.

Each sponsoring society will select four papers, subject to the review and approval of the Steering Committee comprised of members from the Four Societies. Preference will be given to papers by those who are in the early stages of their careers. The selected participants will be notified in late January 2018. Each participant will submit a full paper to the organizers by 1 May 2018 for distribution to the other participants. Transportation to the venue will be subject to arrangement between each sponsoring organization and its conference participants (and may include the seeking of internal university support or use of an existing grant). Lodging and meals at the venue during the conference will be provided by the organizers. The working language of the Conference will be English.

Previous Four Societies Conferences and Their Outcomes

The First Cycle

- The first Conference was hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law (ANZSIL) at University of Wellington in 2006. Papers published in (2007) 38:2 Victoria University of Wellington Law Review.

- The second Conference was hosted by the Canadian Council on International Law (CCIL) at University of Alberta, Edmonton in 2008. Papers published in (2009) 46:4 Alberta Law Review

- The third Conference was hosted by the Japanese Society of International Law (JSIL) on Awajishima Island in 2010. Papers published in Andrew Byrnes, et al, eds., International Law in the New Age of Globalization, Brill, 2013.

- The fourth Conference was hosted by the American Society of International Law (ASIL) at Berkeley Law School in 2012.Papers published in David D. Caron et al, eds., The International Law of Disaster Relief, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

The Second Cycle

-The fifth Conference was hosted by ANZSIL at the Australian National University in Canberra in 2014. Papers will be published in Holly Cullen et al eds., Experts, Networks and International Law, Cambridge University Press in April 2017.

- The sixth Conference was hosted by CCIL at the Center for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo in 2016.

Papers currently undergoing peer review and editing to be published as a book

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