Law and Development Research Conference 2017


The Law and Development Research Conference: A View from the Global South, will serve as a follow-up to the European Law and Development Conference held in 2016 in Ostend. The 2016 conference was organized as a meeting of mainly European scholars in order to gather Western perspectives on the field of Law and Development. In 2017, the Law and Development Research Conference, hosted by the Law and Development Research Group, University of Antwerp, will focus on perspectives from the Global South, and actively promotes the participation of scholars from the Global South. The conference will seek to create synergies with the Law and Development Research Group from the University of Antwerp, the University of Warwick, the Van Vollenhoven Institute of the University of Leiden, the Institute for Human Rights at the Åbo Akademi University, and the Flemish Interuniversity Research Network on Law and Development. This will be the first in a series of three conferences on law and development, organized by the consortium of European universities: in Antwerp (2017), Leiden (2018) and Berlin (2019).


Recent economic and financial crises, the emergence of powerful “developing” economies, as well as massive migration waves, have changed the traditional paradigms of Law and Development. As a result, the traditional focus – which has been geographically circumscribed – should be re-formulated to prioritize the study of the needs of vulnerable groups. This conference is a first attempt to establish a dialogue between the North and the South around three topics: sustainable development, the protection of vulnerable groups such as women and children, and the need to use innovation and technology transfer for the benefit of vulnerable groups.

The conference will pursue three main objectives:

1) to create synergies and assess undetected thematic connections between research done in different disciplines and regions about marginalized communities from a Law and Development perspective;

2) to organize an exchange of expertise between the South and the North, as well as among scholars from the global South, and to identify comparative and useful cases to advance in the formulation of rules that will promote the protection and development of vulnerable groups;

3) in the long term, this conference series seeks to establish a shared research agenda and common objectives amongst the different partner institutions.


We propose to organize the conference around three thematic workshops (gender/vulnerable groups; sustainable development; innovation), in order to promote active participation and advance the establishment of a new common agenda. In each workshop, we will appoint one coordinator/rapporteur, and one chair, who will be in charge of addressing and summarizing the key questions of the sessions.

Invited/accepted participants will be asked to send a short paper (maximum 3500 words) on one of the proposed topics. Each participant will have 5 minutes to present the main points of his/her position. This will be followed by an open discussion, which will serve as a first step to building a common agenda over the coming years.

The maximum number of active participants (paper presenters) per workshop is 12, of which 4 should be from the Global South. Apply to participate.

Human Rights and Development Conference Days

As part of the Human Rights & Development Conference Days, the Law and Development Research Conference will be held back-to-back with the Localizing Human Rights roundtables. The roundtables will take place at the same venue on 19 - 20 September 2017 (ending at 13h00). Drawing on a recently concluded research project within the BELSPO-supported Human Rights Integration network, the Localizing Human Rights component will examine local and global human rights actors' experiences within the global human rights machinery, with particular focus on the Human Rights Council. The results of case studies on localizing human rights in India and Congo will also be presented. Places are limited, and active participation is expected.

If you are interested in participating in the Localizing Human Rights roundtables, please contact


Organizing Institutions

University of Antwerp - Law and Development Research Group

Flemish Interuniversity Research Network on Law and Development

Warwick UniversityHuman Rights Centre at Abo Akademi UniversityFreie Universitaet Berlin


Organizing Committee

Prof. Wouter Vandenhole

Prof. Koen De Feyter

Dr. Liliana Lizarazo-Rodriguez

Dr. Rachel Hammonds

Dr. Arne Vandenbogaerde

Ms. Deborah Casalin

Ms. Devanshi Saxena