Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles’ Law Faculty is pleased to invite you to the tenth edition of the “Assistentenconferentie/Conférence des assistant.e.s”, ACCA2021. The theme of this year’s conference is “Distance and Law: Coming Closer, Bringing Us Together” The aim of this day will be to highlight the relationship between law and distance, understood in its different meanings. If in the context of the health crisis this notion refers primarily to physical distance and in particular to its impact on legal professions, other distances – democratic and economic, for example – have long been carefully studied by lawyers. This conference is also conceived as a meeting – on site, hopefully – between researchers, assistants, and PhD students from all Belgian universities at the start of an academic year during which exchanges between young academics should in theory resume their regular pace and scope. In this context, this call for papers aims to generate submissions of presentations on, inter alia, the following topics:
1. Physical distance: what impacts does distance have on the exercise of our rights?
The lockdown measures adopted in the context of the health crisis have introduced, modified or intensified habits of remote work, consumption, education, communication, and so on. This context therefore provides an ideal opportunity to examine the rules governing remote working, distance contracts, online consumer protection, telemedicine, information and communication technologies, and so on. The health necessity to perform certain tasks remotely also raises different kinds of questions: what is the framework for the use of drones for law enforcement purposes, for example? What is the responsibility of professionals providing remote services? What are the guarantees for remote legal proceedings?
2. Democratic distance: what legal framework to bring citizens and institutions closer?
While contemporary democracy is often criticised for maintaining citizens away from the public affairs, what are the legal mechanisms and procedures likely to bring citizens closer to the political institutions? At both European and different Belgian levels, the question of reducing the democratic distance through law calls for many areas of research to be addressed, whether they are well-known by the specialists in public law, such as the election of the people’s representatives, the appointment of members of the executive branch, or the administration’s transparency, or fields less explored by lawyers, such as the place of civil society, development of citizen participation, or the implementation of good governance. Accordingly, abstracts submitted may for example assess European and Belgian instruments – well established, recent or upcoming – that are part of these reflections or examine, more broadly, the democratic representation (or lack thereof) in the different (supra-)State structures.
3. Outsourcing, relocation, globalisation: the economic distance questioned.
Among the multiple planetary interdependences, the economic relations occupy a prominent place. Their regulation operates at different levels (international, regional, national, local), reflecting the scales of economic activity: local practices of production/consumption of food, national provision of a public service, regional distribution of goods, global movement of capital, to cite just a few examples. At all these levels, it seems that the economic field is increasingly experiencing incursions from the social and ecological fields that are simultaneously permeated by the areas they infiltrate. In this context, the abstracts submitted may look into the following questions: what are the economic, social or ecological rights that revolve around the citizen practice of relocating the productive activity? Conversely, what are the rights applying to the multinational firms outsourcing industry service to the five continents? What are the concrete situations where tensions between these rights arise? How are they articulated when antagonisms or competitions appear? Finally, how do these rights deal with physical or immaterial distances, specific to the economic field, that link globally dispersed and locally anchored players together?
Abstracts relating directly or indirectly to the sub-themes proposed are welcome according to the modalities outlined below. Furthermore, and in line with the tradition of Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles, abstracts bringing an interdisciplinary perspective, other than purely legal, on the themes presented in this call for papers are strongly encouraged.
When and where?