On the Job! Assistant Professor of International Law at Graduate Institute Geneva (deadline 15 Feb.)

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, invites applications for a full-time position at the rank of Assistant Professor in International Law (pdf) with a specialization in one of the following areas :

  • International Economic Law – trade law, investment law, intellectual property and/or financial regulation
  • Protection of Human Dignity – human rights, humanitarian law, international criminal law and/or transitional justice
  • International Environmental Law – climate change, energy law, and/or natural resources management
  • Transnational Law – transnational business transactions, commercial arbitration, alternative dispute settlement, transnational litigation

starting on 1 September 2015 or on a mutually agreed-upon date.

Candidates are expected to have an excellent background in international law and be prone to interdisciplinary dialogue.

Applicants should have a doctoral degree prior to the start of their contract.

All candidates must be able to supervise master’s and doctoral theses and to teach graduate students in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs, including general courses in International Law and in their own area of specialization.

The teaching language is either English or French. Prior knowledge of French is not required, but the successful candidate is expected to acquire at least a passive knowledge of it within two years of being hired.

Applications, including a motivation letter, a detailed curriculum vitae and a list of publications –  but excluding letters of recommendation and publication samples – must reach the Director, preferably by email (director@graduateinstitute.ch, ref. LAW) or by post (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, P.O. Box 136, 1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland), by  15 February 2015.

Information on employment conditions can be obtained using the same contact details.

The Institute reserves the right to fill the post by invitation at any time.

For more information, candidates are encouraged to consult the Institute’s website: http://graduateinstitute.ch/open_positions

On the Job! Attorney Advisor position at U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission

The United States Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, an independent quasi-judicial agency in the U.S. government that determines the validity and monetary value of claims of U.S. nationals for losses caused by foreign governments, is searching for an attorney advisor. For more information on the position, visit  http://www.justice.gov/legal-careers/job/attorney-advisor-international.

Write On! Trade, Law and Development Call for Papers – Special Issue on Government Procurement (due Feb. 15)

The journal Trade, Law and Development, ranked as the best law journal in India (2012, 2011) and the tenth best law journal in the field of international trade worldwide (2012), has issued a Call for Submissions for its upcoming Special Issue on Government Procurement. Submissions are due by Feb. 15, 2015.

 The Plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement (‘GPA’) aims to promote transparency, integrity and competition in the purchase of goods and services by government agencies. Preferential treatment for domestic goods and services are envisaged as trade barriers. Participating governments are also required to put in place domestic procedures by which aggrieved private bidders can challenge procurement decisions and obtain redress in the event of inconsistency with the GPA. However, States have political and economic interests in promoting their own small and medium scale industries. Therefore, the attempt to harmonize these objectives raises issues with reference to market access and the benefits of “good governance” under the GPA. These subjects have not received sufficient analysis from mainstream academia yet. Consequently, existing literature is inadequate to effectively equip policymakers to deal with such issues.

The revised GPA entered into force on April 6, 2014 and enabled parties to realise gains in market access to the tune of billions of dollars annually. This Special Issue, currently scheduled for publication in July, 2015, will provide an ideal platform to deliberate on Government Procurement initiatives at the WTO. Accordingly, the Board of Editors is pleased to invite original and unpublished submissions for the Special Issue on Government Procurement for publication as ‘Articles’, ‘Notes’, ‘Comments’ and ‘Book Reviews’.

Manuscripts may be submitted via e-mail, ExpressO, or the TL&D website. For further information and submission guidelines, please visit the Journal’s website: www.tradelawdevelopment.com. If you have any questions, please contact the editors at editors[at]tradelawdevelopment[dot]com.

Thawing of US-Cuba Relations: What to Expect Next?

On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced significant changes to U.S. foreign relations with Cuba. As noted in another ILG post by

Margaret Spicer, these changes reflect a new policy at the level of the U.S. Executive (the President). The sanctions imposed by U.S. Congress remain fully in place. In Washington DC’s politically-charged environment, US-Cubans and Republicans in Congress have been vocal about their opposition to any change in US-Cuban policy. Republicans assume control of both the House and the Senate in January, 2015.

So, what are the announced changes and what can we expect to happen next?

US-Cuba diplomatic relations re-established: High-level talks will begin in January, 2015 with the goal of re-establishing full diplomatic relations. President Obama announced plans to re-open a U.S. Embassy in Havana within a few months. Led by US-Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio, opponents have threatened to block the required Senate confirmation of anyone nominated by President Obama as U.S. Ambassador to Cuba. US Congress also holds the purse strings and will need to fund the new Embassy. We will need to observe how much support these opponents will receive from other leading Republicans in the US Congress. Senator Bob Corker, incoming Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said only that he will be “examining the implications” of the policy change in the new Congress. Senator Orrin Hatch, presumptive new Chair of the Senate Finance Committee has issued a pro forma statement of opposition to the announcement. Representative Paul Ryan, incoming Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee (in charge of budgetary and trade issues in the House of Representatives) had, until 2007, voted to lift the embargo against Cuba. Senator Rand Paul (Rep.-KY) has been openly critical of Senator Rubio’s position. And Republican Senator Jeff Flake who flew to Havana to cement the prisoner exchange accompanying the deal, has been a vocal supporter of lifting the embargo. Flake and Paul both sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They, and others, will be heavily lobbied by US commercial interests lining up to take advantage of the announced policy and begin trade with Cuba.

In the event of a prolonged battle over funds and the nomination process, it is speculated that President Obama can take the interim step of scaling up the existing US Interests Section in Havana. Similarly, the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C. will presumably be scaled up into an Embassy, headed by an Ambassador.

Increased travel and remittances to and small imports from Cuba: Travel to Cuba will still be restricted under the embargo. However, twelve categories of travelers currently authorized to travel to Cuba will no longer need to apply for permission (specific license) to do so: Continue reading

PluriCourts Fellowships for 3-12 months in 2015-2016

Temporary positions as visiting scholars at postdoctoral level are available at PluriCourts – Centre for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, a Centre of Excellence at the Faculty of Law, University of Oslo for 2015 and 2016. The duration of the contracts is from 3 12 months. The candidates must hold a doctoral degree in law, political science or philosophy. The visiting scholars shall focus on international courts and tribunals in one of PluriCourtsthematic research areas, Human Rights, Trade, Criminal Law, Investment, and Environment. Applicants must submit the following documents: A short project proposal (maximum 3 pages) which shows how the project will contribute to PluriCourts’ research plan and a time schedule for the planned work. CV including relevant published and unpublished academic works; names and contact details for reference persons. A letter of application with earliest possible starting date and duration of the fellowship (3-12 months). It is a requirement that the applicant will be able to complete the project in the course of the period of appointment. The researchers will also be involved in other projects at PluriCourts and are expected to participate in the academic and social activities at the research Centre. Salary: pay grade 60 ( NOK 509.100 per year) Contact: Director, Prof. Andreas Føllesdal or Adm. Manager, Aina Nessøe Deadline for application: 18. December 2014

Applications should be sent to pluricourts@jus.uio.no

2014 Mid-Term Election Results & Impact on US Trade Agenda

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Courtesy of Wikipedia

One bright spot exists for President Obama in the Republican take-over of the U.S. Congress as a result of the 2014 mid-term elections. That is a shared agenda on trade. Republicans tend to be supportive of trade negotiations and tout their potential for economic growth and job creation. The Democrats, on the other hand, typically reflect the concerns of their constituents — trade unions and environmentalists concerned about potential negative impact of such agreements on jobs, labor standards and the environment.

The U.S. Constitution gives shared responsibility to the President and the Congress for the US trade agenda. While it is the President, through his US Trade Representative, who conducts trade negotiations, concluded agreements must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate in order to become law.

The United States is currently negotiating two large trade agreements. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being negotiated among twelve countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The TransAtlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the United States and the European Union will create the world’s largest trade bloc.

To facilitate such negotiations, U.S. Presidents over the past thirty (30) years have relied on the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation passed by the US Congress. TPA defines US trade negotiating objectives to which the President must adhere in concluding trade agreements. In return, the US Congress accepts, or rejects, the negotiated agreement in its entirety. This process provides some assurance to US trade partners that the agreements they sign with the United States will not be subjected to further requirements in order to win Congressional approval.

The last grant of Trade Promotion Authority to the President expired in 2007. President Obama first sought renewal of TPA in 2012. Under the Democratic-led Senate, the response to this request has been a resounding and consistent “no”.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party’s platform on trade includes the demand to “restore Presidential Trade Promotion Authority”. The document goes on to say that international trade is crucial for the US economy because it means more jobs, higher wages and better standard of living.

As a result of the November 4, 2014 elections the Republicans now hold a majority in the Senate, as well as the House. The incoming Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already signaled his desire to work with President Obama on trade:

“I’ve got a lot of members who believe that international trade agreements are a winner for America.”

This is why, on this front at least, President Obama may be able to find a silver lining in this changed political environment. The Republicans may keep trying to repeal Obamacare, but are more likely to approve his trade deals.

Write On! Call for Papers: ‘A Nordic Approach to International Law?’ Abstracts due 15 March

From 27-29 August 2015, the Centre for International Law and Justice (CILJ) at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Law will convene a conference in Oslo, Norway, on “A Nordic Approach to International Law?” (One of our own editors, IntLawGrrl Cecilia M. Bailliet, will be a keynote speaker!) From the conference call for papers (pdf):

The Nordic countries have a long-standing tradition of collaboration on a wide range of legal issues. The Nordic Council of Ministers endeavours ‘to promote basic common principles in Nordic legislation’, and extensive inter-Nordic harmonization is now in place in areas as diverse as education, energy, taxation, culture, and gender equality.

But do these ‘shared Nordic values’ extend to embrace a common perspective on international law and policy beyond the Nordic region? And do international legal scholars in the Nordic countries share a professional outlook enabling us to speak of a distinct ‘Nordic approach to international law’?


You are invited to a two-day conference in Oslo, Norway, where international legal scholars will join expert practitioners to discuss contemporary issues of international law from a Nordic perspective. Renowned scholars and practitioners will present their views in keynote lectures and roundtable discussions and will comment on papers submitted. Junior scholars are particularly encouraged to submit and present papers.

In addition to research papers addressing the question of a distinct Nordic tradition within international legal scholarship, we welcome papers that treat topics in international law from a Nordic viewpoint. Examples include:

• the relationship between international and domestic law

• the relationship between international law and other disciplines

• responsibility for violations of international law

• international norm conflicts

• sovereignty and statehood

• the Arctic

• the proliferation of international courts

We also welcome papers lending a Nordic perspective to specific fields of regulation, including but not limited to:

• international human rights law

• international environmental law

• international humanitarian law

• international migration law

• international investment law

• international trade law

• international criminal law


• Cecilia M. Bailliet, University of Oslo

• David Thór Björgvinsson, University of Copenhagen

• Terje Einarsen, University of Bergen

• Martti Koskenniemi, Helsinki University

• Gregor Noll, Lund University

• Gro Nystuen, International Law & Policy Institute, Oslo

• Ole Spiermann, Bruun & Hjejle, Copenhagen

• Geir Ulfstein, University of Oslo

• Jens Vedsted-Hansen, Aarhus University

• Pål Wrange, Stockholm University

• Inger Österdahl, Uppsala University


Senior and junior scholars (including PhD students) are invited to submit paper proposals. Papers will be selected on the basis of abstracts submitted. Selection criteria are: Originality of the work, links to the conference theme, and geographical representation of the speakers. Abstracts (not exceeding 800 words) should be submitted to astrid.kjeldgaard-pedersen@jur.ku.dk. Accepted papers should not exceed 8,500 words (incl. footnotes).

After the conference, a number of papers will be selected for publication in an edited volume to be published by an international publisher. Please indicate, when submitting abstracts, if your paper will be available for publication.


• The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 15 March 2015

• Successful applicants will be informed by 15 April 2015

• The deadline for the submission of full papers is 15 July 2015

For more information, see the conference website at http://www.jura.ku.dk/cilj/calender/nordic-approach-int-law.

Go On! ASIL to host ‘Careers in Customs & International Trade’ panel Tues, 10/21

NextTuesday, October 21, 2014, starting at 5pm at the ASIL Headquarters in Washington, DC (2223 Massachusetts Ave NW), ASIL will host a panel discussion on “Careers in Customs & International Trade”:

As part of its “Getting Started” series, ASIL’s New Professionals Interest Group is pleased to host a special event on how to pursue an international law career in the areas of customs, domestic trade remedies, and international trade more broadly. These fields continue to grow both in the public and private sectors. Finding the appropriate avenue to enter this field of practice, however, can be difficult. Panelists at this event will share their perspectives as experienced professionals with diverse backgrounds. The moderator will pose questions to highlight professional development advice.

An informal reception will follow the panel discussion. Registration is free but required.


  • Emily Fuller, associate, international trade practice, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Scott McBride, senior attorney, Office of the Chief Counsel for Trade Enforcement and Compliance
  • Justin Miller, senior trial counsel, international trade field office, Commercial Litigation Branch, Department of Justice
  • Robert Shervette, attorney-advisor, customs and border protection, Department of Homeland Security

For more information and to register, please go here: http://asil.org/event/careers-customs-and-international-trade

11th Annaual Conference of the European Society of International Law “The Judicialization of International Law- A Mixed Blessing?” Call for Proposals

Call for ProposalsThe 11th Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law will take place in Oslo, Norway. It is hosted by the PluriCourts Centre for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, University of Oslo.

The Organising Committee of the conference invites all scholars (including PhD students) to submit proposals for papers to be presented at the conference, as well as proposals for a full panel of speakers for a single agora.
General guidelines

The purpose of the agorae is to share cutting-edge research in specific areas of international law, to stimulate debate, and to foster discussion between participants. ESIL Interest Groups are particularly welcome to propose agorae. Innovative ideas for conducting a panel (e.g. round table) are also encouraged.

Proposals for papers or agorae can be submitted either in English or French.

Proposal should correspond to the overall conference theme and can relate to (but need not be limited to) the following, partly overlapping, topics:
Problems and perspectives of special regional courts, or problems affecting the development of the international judicial function (e.g. access to international justice, judicial review of political acts, revision of an international judgments by a court of appeal, etc.)

How do courts matter for the substance of the law in particular subject-areas?
The place of international judgments in the doctrine of sources
Do international courts and tribunals have a function in relation to economic, social and cultural rights?
An ‘International Tort Court’ for multinational corporations?
A World Court of Human Rights?
A World Court of International Humanitarian Law?
The future of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)
Professional ethics for judges
International courts and tribunals in new areas, such as international security; a more fair global resource allocation; protecting social rights; improving global health; more responsible multinational corporations; dealing with transnational internet problems?
Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms
The future of the International Criminal Court
Reform of regional human rights courts and global human rights treaty bodies
The future of investment tribunals
The WTO and regional trade tribunals
The role of the ICJ
Arbitration vs courts
Sovereign debt default and international dispute settlement mechanisms
Hybrid courts and their possible use as a form of international justice (piracy, environmental damages, compensations, etc.)
Courts and third world/postcolonial approaches and feminist theory
Historical, economic, sociological, etc. approaches to international courts
Implementation of international judgments in national legal orders

TimelineThe deadline for the submission of abstracts is 31 January 2015
Successful applicants will be informed by 31 March 2015
The deadline for the submission of the full papers is 1 July 2015
The conference begins on Thursday 10 September 2015 in the morning and ends on Saturday 12 September 2014 in the early afternoon
The deadline for the submission of final papers, to be included in a future conference publication or in the ESIL SSRN series, is 1 October 2015

All selected agora speakers will have to register for the conference. They will receive free registration, provided they are ESIL members. The organisation does not cover expenses for travelling and accommodation.

After the conference, ESIL provides the opportunity to publish papers in the ESIL SSRN Series and also plans to publish selected high-quality papers in a book series

ESIL Young Scholar Prize
From 2015 onwards, ESIL will award the ESIL Young Scholar Prize at each Annual Conference; this is a prize for the best paper submitted to the conference by scholars at an early stage in their academic career. Early-career scholars are either PhD candidates or those who have had their oral defense no longer than 2 years prior to the submission of the abstract. Candidates for the prize have to be current ESIL members.

The Prize is sponsored by the law firm WilmerHale. Please indicate, when submitting an abstract, if you wish the submission to be considered for the ESIL Young Scholar Prize.

For further information regarding the Submission of Agora or Paper Proposals see here

Papers presented in agorae should present innovative ideas, be unpublished at the moment of presentation, and be in an advanced stage of completion.

Abstracts will be reviewed by a selection committee. Joint submissions are possible, but, if selected, only one person may receive free registration to the conference.

Selection criteria are:
Originality and innovativeness of the work
Links to the conference theme
Geographical and gender balance
Only one abstract per author will be considered

Abstracts must not exceed 800 words.

Foreign Direct Investment & Development

I recently watched a PBS documentary, “The Big Men” which tells the story of the discovery of the first commercial oil field in Ghana’s history.

As events unfold, the Texan-based venture capitalists who bore all the financial risk, butt heads with a newly-elected government whose officials refuse to endorse the initial agreement allocating to the investors the overwhelming majority of the profits. Juxtaposed with these events is the story and images from Nigeria’s Niger Delta. The dire poverty, environmental degradation and the violence in that oil-rich region add poignancy to the Ghanians’ opposition, even as one wonders about the real motives of the Ghanian officials.

For the Texan-based investors (which included the Ghanian who had initially discovered the resource but lacked the capital to fully exploit it) the issue was couched in the language of risk, adequate return on their investment, as well as respect for the initial contract signed with the Ghanian government. For the Ghanians, the issue was discussed in terms of their need to be able to use the resources located on their sovereign land to properly house, feed, and educate the populace.

The Role of FDI

Developing countries seek to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to foster economic growth and development. FDI can be a valuable tool to exploit resources, build production facilities while creating jobs and infrastructure in developing countries. At the same time, because for the most part this investment is introduced and controlled by private companies, there is a tension that can, and often does, arise between the goals of private international capital and the country’s development needs.

The events that unfold in Ghana illustrate this tension. On the one hand, we have the private venture capitalists who invested where no one else would probably have. Ghana was not known for its oil resources. In return, however, they demanded a hefty return on their investment. But, does any government have the right to sell a country’s birthright to these investors? Yet, of what use to the country is the oil, or the diamond, or the gold left unmined? Needed are rules to facilitate and support the honest brokers in these transactions.

A Way Forward?

At the end of the day, what Ghana, and other responsible governments want is access to jobs, decent housing, roads, education and other social services for its citizens. Hotels built with foreign capital using workers who live in shacks across the streets is an untenable outcome. Yet, we see this all across the Caribbean, for example.

Rules-based frameworks for trade and investment focus almost exclusively on creating an open playing field for FDI, or on managing disputes. As essential as these are, we also need trade and investment rules that can provide a pathway toward more development-oriented and sustainable outcomes for FDI. Are there guidelines that can help honest governments and fair-minded investors to determine an equitable distribution of profits derived from exploitation of a country’s resources?

What about best practice tools and suggestions to help developing countries negotiate these deals with international capital? For example, can investor agreements contain provisions for investors to make such in-kind contributions as building houses and roads or providing other services that they do well?

Perhaps such tools already exist. If so, they need to be made more visible. The world does not need any more Nigerian Deltas.