Call for Papers: Language Wall and International Law



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Brazilian Journal of International Law, the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, the Maastricht University, the Universitarian Center of Brasilia, and the Brazilian Branch of the International Law Association


Language Walls in International Law 

Call for Papers 

1. Object 

The practice and, to some extent, the very fabric of international law is  circumscribed to a few languages amongst which English and French are  undoubtedly the predominant ones.  

They bestride all the fields of international law. Those who do not have a reasonable  command of English and/or French can be de facto excluded from the microcosm  of international law studies and practice.  

For instance, the judgements of the International Court of Justice are published in  English and French. This makes an important corpus of the international case law  inaccessible to many scholars and students worldwide.  

Depending upon one’s standpoint, the access to international law as a field of study  and as a professional market is blocked by linguistic walls. These longstanding  walls are sometimes considered as insurmountable and it is this conundrum which  the workshop intends to discuss, namely in the following areas: 

(i) Linguistic walls in the practice of international law; (ii) linguistic walls in the  teaching of international law; (iii) linguistic walls in international law as a research  field; (iv) linguistic walls in international law journals. 

For this purpose, we look for paper suggestions on topics such as: ● Problems arising from monolingualism and bilingualism in international  adjudication. 

● Problems related to research and access to information in international law. ● Problems related to teaching international law to non-English/French speaking  students. 

● Advantages and disadvantages of using a certain language in international law practice.  

● Access to market: linguistic problems in relation to publishing in international  law books and journals.  

● Access to market: linguistic problems in relation to working in the international  law field. 

● Issues regarding some non-dominant languages and the fabric of international  law.  

2. Submission Rules and Deadlines 

2.1. Eligibility 

We invite submissions from scholars, practitioners and advanced PhD students. 

2.2. Procedure 

Interested participants must submit an abstract (450 words) before the 2nd  February 2021. Selected speakers will be notified before the 30th March 2021 and  are expected to submit a draft paper (4000 words - inclusive of footnotes) by the  15th August 2021. The workshop's working language will be English, but the  abstracts and papers can be written in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. 

Abstracts and draft papers must be sent to: The workshop will be held online on the 29th October 2021. Following the  workshop, Authors are invited to submit, by 31st March 2022, a final version  (7000 words, including footnotes) of their papers to be part of a special  publication.

2.3. Publication 

Authors will be invited to submit the final version of the selected papers to a Special  Issue of the Brazilian Journal of International law, subject to a double-blind peer  review procedure. The Brazilian Journal of International Law publishes in  Portuguese, Spanish, English and French and has a pool of reviewers for  submissions in these languages.  

3. Organizers 

Nitish Monebhurrun (University Centre of Brasilia, Brazil) 

Lucas Carlos Lima (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil) 

André Nunes Chaib (Maastricht University) 

Paula Baldini Miranda da Cruz (Leiden University)