Call for abstracts: Workshop 'How to Find the Brakes on A Slippery Slope?'

Exploring Linkages between Rule of Law Backsliding and Human Rights

When a country enters a phase of rule of law backsliding, it often finds itself on a slippery slope that seems to lead inexorably to a full-blown rule of law crisis. The Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice and the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) of Utrecht University organise a workshop to explore different ways of finding the ‘brakes’ on such a slippery slope, by investigating the linkages between rule of law backsliding and international human rights law and mechanisms. Deadline for abstract submissions is 15 May 2023.

We aim for a small-size workshop (about 15-25 participants) to allow for intensive, in-depth discussions. It will consist of panel debates for which we would like to include a mixture of early-career and advanced scholars. We envisage four or five sessions, with a few concise presentations per session, thus allowing for sufficient time for deep discussion. Possible sessions will depend on the submissions received, but potential session topics include the following:

  • Conceptual, theoretical legal aspects of the rule of law backsliding. Conceptualising backsliding (and resilience) of the rule of law and its linkages to human rights.
  • Regional courts and other regional (human rights) institutions. Comparative examination of how regional courts and other regional human rights institutions – including the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights and the European Court of Human Rights - have experience dealing with earlier, similar developments of rule of law backsliding and human rights. 
  • United Nations human rights treaty bodies and other global institutions. The role of human rights treaty bodies, special rapporteurs, and others in defending the rule of law and human rights and responding to backsliding.
  • The effect of rule of law backsliding on substantive human rights protection. How does rule of law backsliding affect different human rights, including the independence of the judiciary and the right to a fair trial.
  • General discussion: Strategies of resilience. Exploring whether and how international and domestic human rights institutions can counter rule of law backsliding. 

What should be in the abstract submitted?

We invite proposals for papers comprising an abstract (of a maximum 350 words). These should be submitted, together with a cover letter by May 15, 2023, in one single PDF document. The cover letter should include a one-paragraph CV (of a maximum of 200 words) and explain in a few sentences the context of the paper: i.e. whether it is part of a PhD project, whether it is based on undertaken empirical research or part of ongoing research etc. Accepted contributors will be asked to provide a draft paper before the workshop. The selection process will be based on both the abstract's quality and its relation with other submitted proposals. Decisions on accepted papers will be made by early June 2023. After the workshop, we will invite a selected number of authors to submit their paper to be part of a special issue of an international, peer-reviewed journal or an edited volume with a renowned publisher (details will follow).

Submission guidelines and deadline

Please submit the pdf with your abstract, CV and context explanation in one unified document by sending an email with the header ‘Exploring Linkages between Rule of Law Backsliding and Human Rights: How to Find the Brakes on A Slippery Slope?’ before 15 May 2023 to:

More information
Call for abstracts