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Against the background of a dynamic technological development with new emerging issues such as big data, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity various disciplines of public international law such as international environmental law, international health law and international bio-law are becoming increasingly based on scientific data to face these new challenges. Regulating climate change, human health, human genome, circular economy, pandemics, nano-science, sustainable development, food safety and security would not be possible without objective and scientifically sound information. At the same time, achieving harmonized international rules is only possible against the backdrop of common understanding on the scientificrealities. Such common positions have been greatly aided by the work of UN agencies and related committees. In these science-based areas, scientific arguments and proceedings are not only a way to achieve political agreements in practice (norms and standards) but also significantly affect interpretation and application of international law. International law creates an “infrastructure”to global risk governance where regulators, stakeholders and citizens interact.It does not matter whether we are talking about legal regulation (domestic or international), law-backed self-regulation or self-regulation. In all cases,the rule of law departs from the premise that widely accepted scientific data is a solid foundation on which construct principles and rules. However, inrecent times, sound science data has been put in doubt. This is partly caused by the diversity of sources and ideology of scientific information. Since the role of science in policy-making is under fire domestically and internationally and scientific data are relativized in the post-truth era, very foundations of rule of law are undermined.

Areas of interest

The IG event will address legal aspects of the intersections between sound science and rule of law in both international and domestic contexts such as:

  • Climate change relativism in international and domestic law and its impact on the implementation of Paris Agreements.
  • Pandemics declaration and implementation of coordinated measures.
  • Effective communication of sound scientific decisions. Social networks and new technological channels. Neutralization of fake news. Legal instruments and practice of international organizations.
  • Evaluation of scientific evidence by international courts and tribunals. Impact of post-truth in the production, assessment and impact of sound science evidence on the decisions.
  • Politicization of scientific committees and international scientific organizations. Limits of neutrality and impartiality in the selection of experts. Conflict of interests. Is there an “ideological” scientific background that it is worth to be evaluated?
  • Scientific research and ideology: Scientific funding and the impact on the selection of research objectives. Impact on the production of data and expert profiles.
  • Ethics and religion in a post-truth context: Impact of ethics and religion on the evaluation of scientific data. Is it possible to balance or neutralize scientific data with moral and/or religious believing?
  • Rule of law in the post-truth era: Influence from domestic to international and vice-versa (in environmental, health and bio-law contexts).
  • Principles and proceedings of the rule of law and the scientific methods. Similarities and differences.
  • Human Rights protection and the rule of law in the context of sound science decline. Positive/negative impact on different rights.
  • Historical development of sound science arguments as part of the international/domestic rule of law guarantees. Our standard? Whose standard? Exportation and acceptance in non-western countries.  
  • Is sound-science gender neutral? Post-truth and feminism. Rule of law and gender discrimination (in environmental, health and bio-law contexts)
  • Future international legal framework for space resources activities: Interactions between international space law and science.


All Members of the ESIL Interest Group on International Environmental Law and of the ESIL Interest Group on Bio Law, the members of other ESIL IGs and also the non-ESIL members (ESIL membership will be required if the abstract is selected) are invited to submit abstracts.


The following must be submitted to and by December, 30th 2018:

•The author’s name and affiliation;

•A 500-700-word abstract [Word file and PDF];

•The author’s CV, including a list of relevant publications;

•The author’s contact details, including email address and phone number;

•Whether the author is an ESIL member            

Multiple abstracts from the same authors will be considered, but only one can be selected. Co-authored multidisciplinary papers are also welcomed.

Organizing Committee

Paolo Davide Farah (West Virginia University, USA & gLAWcal - Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development,UK) - Convener ESIL Interest Group on International Environmental Law

Justo Corti Varela (UNED International Public Law Department, Madrid, Spain)Convener ESIL Interest Group on International Bio Law

Others ESIL IG Conveners:

Daria S. Boklan, Chamu Kuppuswamy, José Manuel Sánchez Patrón, Martin Švec, Maria Isabel Torres Cazorla, Josephine van Zeben.

Publication opportunities

The organizers have publication plans for the presented papers. The precise format of publication will be discussed during the IGs event. There is already an established agreement to publish the results of this IGs event as an edited book (Justo Corti Varela & Paolo D. Farah eds.) in the Routledge Publishing (New-York/London) multidisciplinary gLAWcal book series on “Transnational Law and Governance”