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The Eighth International Four Societies Conference

Call for Abstracts

Convened by:

The American Society of International Law (ASIL)

In Cooperation with:

The Australia and New Zealand Society of International Law (ANZSIL)

The Canadian Council on International Law (CCIL)

The Japanese Society of International Law (JSIL)

Tuesday – Wednesday, June 16-17, 2020

Hosted by:

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Berkeley, California

Beginning in 2006, the international law societies of Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the United States (the “Four Societies”) have collaborated on a biennial conference that brings together early career scholars who submit papers with senior scholars as moderators and discussants around a common theme, generally resulting in an edited conference volume. The goal is to foster scholarly cooperation and interchange among the four participating societies. The Steering Committee for the Eighth Four Societies Conference is pleased to invite paper proposals from members of the Four Societies.

Theme: Beyond National Jurisdiction

The oceans, polar regions, cyberspace and outer space are no longer empty places; they are places where activities abound, such that international law is evolving and innovating to regulate in these areas beyond national jurisdiction. Evolving technological capabilities and the needs of burgeoning human populations are increasingly pushing the reach of human activities beyond land and near-coastal areas to areas, both real and virtual, that have little to no national regulation and often inadequate international regulation. The impact is felt even beyond the farthest reaches of our planet and requires innovations in many legal fields, including environmental, national security, communications, maritime, economic, intellectual property, criminal and trade law.

Areas “beyond national jurisdiction” present unique challenges and opportunities for international law. National law and institutions are necessary but not sufficient to govern these common spaces. International law and organizations have a vital role to play in developing approaches and solutions to the unique legal issues raised by activities in these spaces, including exploring the need to reform existing multilateral treaties on such issues, issues of unilateral regulation through extra-territorial jurisdiction, and other related topics.

The theme is designed to encourage submission of a wide variety of paper proposals that raise legal questions and propose answers to the challenges facing the global community. We encourage proposals from both theoretical and practical perspectives, and from all areas of international law relating to these spaces. We equally welcome proposals that seek to integrate public and private international law, international relations, the social sciences, and other relevant disciplines.

Application Details:

Applications to take part in the conference should include an abstract of the proposed paper not exceeding 500 words and the applicant’s curriculum vitae. The Four Societies intend to publish papers presented at the conference in an edited collection with a leading international publisher, as has been past practice. Therefore, abstracts should be for unpublished work that is not under agreement to be published elsewhere.

Applications should be sent by e-mail to the Society of which the applicant is a member. Applicants who are members of more than one participating Society should make an application to only one Society. The deadline for submission of applications to the CCIL is January 31, 2020.

Applications should be made to the relevant Society’s e-mail address, and the subject line of the email should read as follows: “2020 Four Societies Conference Paper Proposal: [Your Name]”






Each sponsoring society will select four abstracts, subject to the review and approval of the Steering Committee, which is composed of representatives of each of the Four Societies. Preference will be given to abstracts by writers who are in the early stages of their careers. The selected participants will be notified in February 2020.


Each participant will be expected to submit a completed paper based on the abstract to the organizers by May 11, 2020 for distribution to the other participants and panel moderators. The working language of the Conference will be English. Submissions should not exceed 10,000 words in length, including footnotes.

Travel and Accommodation:

Meals and lodging for conference participants will be arranged by the American Society of International Law. Each participating society will be responsible for travel arrangements for its conference participants.

Conference Schedule and Format:

The conference will open with a welcome reception and dinner hosted by University of California Berkeley School of Law on Monday, June 15. Presentation of the papers will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 16-17. Authors will be assigned to panels based on the thematic elements of their submissions. Senior scholars from each of the Four Societies will serve as moderators and discussants for the sessions. The conference will be open to Berkeley Law students and faculty and to members of the public.

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