Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Call for Papers–2020 ICON•S Conference–July 9-11, 2020–Wrocław, Poland

ICON·S | The International Society of Public Law looks forward to welcoming you to the Annual Conference at the University of Wrocław in Poland on July 9-11, 2020. This will be the seventh Annual Conference of ICON·S, following the six Annual Conferences (Florence 2014, New York 2015, Berlin 2016, Copenhagen 2017, Hong Kong 2018, Santiago 2019) which have been overwhelmingly successful, thanks to the support of our Members.

We express our thanks and gratitude to our colleague and friend, Wojciech Sadurski, a member of the ICON·S Council, for his assistance in bringing our Annual Conference to Wrocław.

2020 Conference Theme

ICON·S invites submissions for the 2020 Annual Conference on “Public Law, (Dis)trust and DissentAPPLY NOW AND SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL

Trust is fundamental to the operation of public law and public institutions, and to public law values. For public law to function, citizens must have faith in courts and other government institutions. Trust is also closely connected to public law values such as openness and transparency: without transparency, there can be little trust in government. But without trust, governments will often hesitate to operate in an open and transparent way. Trust likewise underpins norms of debate and deliberation, essential to both public law and political democracy.

But trust – both among citizens and between citizens and public law institutions – is at an all-time low in many constitutional democracies worldwide. Long-respected international institutions, such as the EU and UN, no longer enjoy the same levels of trust as in earlier periods among many citizens and governments. Technological change is fundamentally challenging citizens’ trust in the administrative state. And citizens’ trust in democratic institutions, and in the democratic process, has eroded in many countries, in part due to a fall in trust among citizens themselves.

How, then, can we hope to trust in public law and institutions, while simultaneously reaffirming our commitment to public law values such as democracy and the rule of law? How can we reshape international organizations, regulate or channel new technologies, or overcome citizen distrust in ways that rebuild public law, institutions and values? Moreover, which public law institutions and values are needed most in today’s contexts?

These questions have global relevance and significance, yet also special significance for many divided societies, and societies facing new forms of populist challenge and politics.

Questioning the past is also essential to understand how to move forward. Hence the 2020 Annual Conference invites participants to engage as much with historical perspectives on these questions, as with contemporary ones.

Another important set of questions concerns the relationship between trust, distrust and norms of political and legal debate, dialogue and dissent. Does dissent, for example, undermine trust or promote it? Are there differences in this context between legal or judicial dissent and political dissent? And are there limits to when trust is warranted, or where trust should in fact give way to distrust and dissent?

The 2020 Annual Conference will offer a forum to discuss and debate these and related issues, bringing together leading scholars, political leaders and jurists from around the world.

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 Opening Keynote Lecture will be delivered by Koen Lenaerts, President of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Additional plenary speakers will include:

  1. Adam Bodnar, Assistant Professor, University of Warsaw, Polish Ombudsman
  2. Daniela Caruso, Jean Monnet European Union Professor, Boston University
  3. Siri Gloppen, Director of the Centre on Law and Social Transformation and Professor, University of Bergen
  4. Fleur Johns, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales
  5. Gerald Knaus, Chairman of the European Stability Initiative, Berlin
  6. Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair and Professor of Government, The University of Texas at Austin
  7. Bilyana Petkova, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Maastricht University
  8. Shalini Randeria, Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna
  9. Maciej Szpunar, First Advocate General, Court of Justice of the European Union

Papers and Panels

At the heart of the Conference are concurrent sessions which take place over the Annual Conference’s three days. These concurrent sessions consist of the papers and panels selected through this Call.

ICON·S particularly welcomes proposals for fully-formed panels, but also accepts individual papers dealing with any aspect of the Annual Conference’s themes.

Paper and panel proposals may focus on any theoretical, historical, comparative, empirical, jurisprudential, ethical, behavioral, ethnographic, philosophical or practical, policy-oriented perspective related to public law, including administrative law, constitutional law, international law, criminal law, immigration and citizenship law and human rights and may address domestic, subnational, national, regional, transnational, supranational, international and global aspects of public law. Paper and panel proposals may be related to or distinct from the overarching themes of the conference.

We strongly encourage the submission of fully-formed panels. Panel proposals should include at least three and no more than six papers by scholars who have agreed in advance to participate, and panels must be formed in accordance with the Society’s commitment to gender balance.

This year ICON·S will include two new additions to the program: Fora; and Working Groups.

New Addition: Fora

A Forum is a new format at the Conference, consisting of a scholarly gathering of at least twelve (12) persons who commit to discussing a scholarly subject chosen by the convener of the forum. Fora will last the same duration as a panel and will be scheduled in the same time slot as ordinary panels.

Fora will differ from ordinary panels in two respects: (1) there will be no presentation of papers; and (2) the convener of the forum will assign materials to be read in advance. The assigned materials may be a book, a set of papers, or something otherwise thought useful to the conversation on the subject of the forum. The convener will be responsible for circulating assigned materials prior to the conference.

To submit a proposal for a Forum, a convener must submit the following information:

  1. The full name, email address and institutional affiliation of the convener
  2. The title of the Forum
  3. An abstract of the Forum topic no longer than 250 words
  4. A reading list for the Forum. Please note that the reading list should conform to OSCOLA citation rules or another common citation system, to allow for easy accessibility
  5. The full name, email address, and institutional affiliation for each participant
  6. Confirmation that the Forum contains at least twelve (12) persons who have committed to participating in the program and who reflect the values of equality, diversity, and inclusion that are embedded within the history, tradition, and Mission of ICON·S

For the purpose of receiving inquiries and sharing reading materials and/or an outline of the agenda with any member interested in attending or joining the Forum, the convener must approve publicizing their email address.

New Addition: Working Groups

Similarly, a Working Group consists of a group of scholars hoping to build deeper connections with a view to future collaboration on research and engagement connected to the mission of ICON·S. Working Group meetings will last the same duration as a panel and will be scheduled in the same time slot as ordinary panels.

Working group meetings will differ from ordinary panels in the following respects: (1) there will be no presentation of papers; and (2) the convenor will create an agenda to discuss possible future collaboration among members. The key aim of a working group is to enhance the capacity of ICON·S to serve as a forum for supporting cross-national and inter-disciplinary research, following a recommendation to this effect by a sub-committee of the Council led by Tom Ginsburg. Working groups may be big or small, and may focus on any subject in public law.

To submit a proposal for a Working Group, a convener must submit the following information:

  1. The full name, email address and institutional affiliation of the convener
  2. The title of the Working Group
  3. A description of the purpose of the Working Group no longer than 250 words
  4. A proposed agenda for the Working Group discussion

For the purpose of receiving inquiries with any member interested in attending or joining the Working Group, the convener must approve the publication of their email address.

Please Note
Please kindly note that each participant can present no more than 2 papers and participate – as presenter, chair or discussant – in 4 sessions maximum.

We invite potential participants to refer to the ICON·S Mission Statement when choosing a topic or approach for their papers or panels.

ICON·S is by no means restricted to public lawyers! We particularly welcome panel proposals that offer genuinely multi-disciplinary perspectives from various areas of law (including civil, criminal, tax, and labor law), as well as from scholars in the humanities and the social sciences (e.g. history, economics, political science, sociology) with an interest in the Conference’s themes. We welcome submissions from both senior and junior scholars (including doctoral students) as well as interested practitioners.


All submissions of papers, panels, Fora and Working Groups must be made through the ICON·S website by 23h59 GMT on March 1, 2020. To access the submission page, you need to be a member of ICON·S. Please register or log in with your existing ICON·S account and make sure you have paid your membership fee.

Successful applicants will be notified by April 6, 2020.

All participants will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses.

We very much look forward to receiving proposals.

See you at ICON·S Wrocław 2020!

Lorenzo Casini & Rosalind Dixon
Co-Presidents of ICON·S

Dariusz Adamski, Richard Albert, Gráinne de Búrca, Felicia Caponigri, Marta Cartabia, Sabino Cassese, Claudia Golden, Jakub Grudniewski, Ran Hirschl, David Kosar, Nico Krisch, Joana Mendes, Radoslaw Michalski, Anna Śledzińska-Simon, Agnieszka Szymerowska, Renata Uitz, Sergio Verdugo, Joseph Weiler and Fred Felix Zaumseil
Members of the ICON·S 2020 Organizing Committee


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