08.30 – 09.00


09.00 – 09.05


09.05 – 10.15


Democracy in Peril?

Susanne Baer, Federal Constitutional Court, Germany

Reading Arendt's The Human Condition in our times, raises the crucial question of how to conceptualise justice and political praxis. When Hannah Arendt conceptualised ‘action’ as a key ingredient of human relationships, she focused on the ‘polis’. Today´s polis is not only, but always already, shaped and limited and protected by law. Therefore, and because of the power of law as such, we need to understand law in action. Legal action takes place in the polis, but also at the site of ‘the court’. Engaging the law in court also poses difficult questions for critical lawyering, in that amicae curiae need to affirmatively engage, yet critically reenvision, how justice is done, or whether courts contribute to justice at all. At a time at which varieties of populism pose severe threats to constitutionalism, and to the rule of law as such, there is an urgent need to clearly understand doing justice in judging, if action in court shall contribute to justice in our shared future.

10.15 – 10.35


10.35 – 11.50


Transnational Constitutional Transformations: Courts as Political Agents

Moderated by Heinz Klug, University of Wisconsin

Constitutional life operates on the principle that political life is relatively predictable. However, when the state experiences political disruption of a kind that threatens to overturn deeply established constitutional rules, constitutional courts can become significant political actors, or 'interventionist courts' (Nathan J. Brown; Julian G. Waller). This panel explores the potential and limits of political intervention by the courts, and charts the most significant lessons we can learn from individual cases across the world.


  • Carlos Bernal-Pulido, Constitutional Court of Colombia
  • Penelope Andrews, University of Cape Town
  • András Sajó, Central European University
  • Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes, Center for the Study of Law, Justice & Society
  • Shalini Randeria, Institute for Human Sciences

11.50 – 13.30


13.30 – 14.45


Agents for Democracy: Journalists & Activism

Moderated by Omar Al-Ghazzi, London School of Economics

In democratic civil society, what kind of public intellectual is the journalist advocate? What ethical dilemmas are generated by their commitments (which may be sometimes in conflict)? Is the ethical mandate of the activist-journalist a straightforward promotion of human rights, or the taking of a critical stance in order to better assess any political and social agendas set in the name of such rights?


  • Burcu Karakaş, Journalist
  • Shepherd Mpofu, University of Limpopo
  • Anjan Sundaram, Independent Journalist
  • Basharat Peer, The New York Times
  • Francis L.F. Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong

14.45 – 15.00


15.00 – 16.15



Moderated by Dikipa Jain, O. P. Jindal Global Law School

In this panel 3 trends are examined:

  1. Increasing transnationalisation of legal institutions since the early 1990s;
  2. A movement towards ‘global judicialisation’ and transnational litigation;
  3. Renewed debate over whether global judicialisation is capable of enforcing the rule of law and promoting local and global democracy.

The panel explores what is meant by globalisation as a hegemonic neoliberal project, and whether this phenomenon, if it exists, weakens or strengthens the capacity of nation-States to enforce human rights. Finally, it asks what role NGOs play in relation to the role of the State in transnational legal battles over human rights concerns?


  • Sheila Sundar, The Southern History Project, New Orleans
  • Rukmini Sen, Ambedkar University Delhi
  • Jayshree Satpute, Nazdeek
  • Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes, Center for the Study of Law, Justice & Society

Moderated by Gillian Douglas, The Dickson Poon School of Law

This panel discussion will focus on how far law is to be taught as an 'academic' discipline, whether law is a distinct humanity or social science discipline, and how far inherently it is an interdisciplinary form of training? It will ask what knowledge bases are needed for the critical study of law and explore the impact of Artificial Intelligence on legal education. Finally, it will look at student expectations "I'm studying law to become a lawyer" and how they are to be matched with academic aspirations "I'm teaching and researching law as an intellectual endeavour".


  • Penelope Andrews, University of Cape Town
  • Sylvia Kang’ara, Riara University
  • Bertil Emrah Oder, Koç University Law School
  • Toni Williams, Kent Law School

Moderated by Malte Zumbansen

Film and documentary has played a unique and historic role in chronicling the emergence of every manifest type of activism and social protest movement, as well as generating and shaping public debate. This panel explores the intersection of political strategy and artistic expression within the filmmaking process, including (but not confined to) relations between researchers and subjects, collective and individual aspirations and identities on film, and the varying roles that filmmaking can take in different democratic societies - as well as in moments of social upheaval, repression, and change.


  • Christiana Ochoa, Indiana University
  • Joel Bakan, University of British Columbia
  • Jill Freidberg, Corrugated Films
  • Mark Gibney, University of North Carolina Asheville

Moderated by Penelope Kyritsis, Open Democracy

It is well understood in our times that social media has the power to generate huge waves of political unrest, resulting in the toppling of governments. Less well documented is the quiet background role that social media, blogging, and online journalism writing and publishing play in supporting the ordinary functions of civil society. This panel looks at the impact today of writing, publishing, commentary and social media on both national and global platforms – with radical implications for our political and sociological understanding of ‘the public’ and ‘the public sphere’.


  • Tamás Bodoky,
  • Taberez Ahmed Neyazi, National University of Singapore
  • Engin Onder, 140Journos
  • Meike Ziervogel, Peirene Press
  • Andreas Rötzer, Verlag Matthes & Seitz Berlin
  • Müge Gürsoy Sökmen, Metis Publishers

Moderated by Günter Frankenberg, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

What is meant by 'judicial activism'? Admittedly pejorative, the term signals the intrusion of personal views into the domains of law and public policy, thereby undermining deep-seated democratic and constitutional principles (such as the separation of powers). But is this fair? The panel discusses a more positive role that courts and jurisprudence may have in guiding public discussion about key collective concerns, contributing to the development of new legal frameworks, and strengthening the role of judicial decision making as a bulwark against overly dominant forms of executive power.


  • Sabine Bernot, German Institute for Human Rights
  • András Sajó, Central European University

16.30 – 17.30


London Declaration of Transnational Justice

Funmi Olonisakin, King's College London

17.30 – 19.00


Music by Amadou Diagne & Cory Seznec

This concert marks the reunion of two musicians who first met busking in Bath over a decade ago. As a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Amadou draws heavily on the traditional music and rhythms of West Africa. He writes and performs most of his songs in Wolof the most widely spoken language in Senegal, with some French and English in the mix. Expect eclecticism.

Somewhere between musical wanderer and uncertified ethnomusicologist dwells Cory Seznec, a French-American musician based in Paris. Cory discovered fingerstyle guitar and clawhammer banjo during his adolescence in the US. This led to numerous travels and encounters that helped develop his sound - more and more syncopated, polyrhythmic, and cross-pollinated.

Together, Amadou and Cory perform a mix of west African and American music with the idea of ushering in a hybrid new roots sound based on the merging of their traditions. The result is an entrancing, groovy reverie of lilting voices, guitars, kora, banjo, bass and percussion.

Accompanied by French musicians Benjamin Body on upright bass and Renaud Ollivier on calabash/percussion.


*Please note, all sessions and times are subject to change

Type of session:
  • Keynotes will set the underlying tone and core messages for each day.
  • Plenary roundtables will encourage open debate by sharing different perspectives.
  • Parallel workshops will connect representatives from the Sites of Engagement & Agency – NGOs, Courts, International organisations, Academic institutions – to engage with sector specific issues.