UCILS reading club

The UCILS reading club is the venue for Utrecht scholars to gather around seminal and new writing in international law, global governance, and legal theory. The purpose of the UCILS reading club is to invite legal scholars to step out of their natural comfort zone and engage with alternative perceptions of the world and the discipline. The sessions provide an informal setting to brainstorm on theoretical and practical questions related to the global polity which international law is supposed to regulate. 

Format of the one-hour sessions:

  • The reader of the session presents a book, a book chapter, or an article of his/her choice. He/she discusses the core issues that this work raises for international law and legal scholarship. 
  • The role of the commentator of the session is to provoke the reader on the issues raised. He/she will have read the same book/article and will start the discussion by sharing some critical reflections on it. 
  • Comments are followed by an optional rejoinder from the reader, and a round-table discussion with all participants. 

UCILS Reading Club sessions are open to all interested colleagues, registration is not required. 

Suggested reading and ideas for future sessions are very welcome. Please contact:


12th session, 8 May 2019: Chapter 23 ‘Global Governance: Problem Shifting in the Anthropocene and the Limits of International Law’ by Rakhyun Kim and Harro van Asselt, in Morgera and Kulovesy (eds) Research Handbook on International Law and Natural Resources (Elgar 2016). 

Previous sessions:

11th session, 27 November 2018: Jaap Spier’s report (‘pre-advies’) ‘Private Law as a Crowbar for Coming to Grips with Climate Change’ (KNVIR 2018) 

10th session, April 2018: Chapter 14 ‘Law and Literature’ from Andrea Bianchi’s International Law Theories (OUP 2016). 

9th session, 25 October 2017: Peter Williams’s ‘Law and lawyers in the multilateral trading system: Back to the future’ (Chapter 4) in Marceau (ed), A History of Law and Lawyers in the GATT/WTO: The Development of the Rule of Law in the Multilateral Trading System (CUP 2015) 

8th session, 3 July 2017: Yota Negishi’s ‘The Pro Homine Principle’s Role in Regulating the Relationship Between Conventionality Control and Constitutionality Control’, European Journal of International Law, Vol. 28, No. 2, 2017.

7th session, 23 January 2017: Chapter 3 'China's Approaches to International Law since the Opium War’ from Phil C.W. Chan, China, State Sovereignty and International Legal Order (Brill, 2015)

6th session, 14 December 2016: Chapter 3 ‘The idea of effective implementation of treaties’ from Surabhi Ranganathan’s Strategically Created Treaty Conflicts and the Politics of International Law (CUP, 2014)

5th session, 22 June 2016: Chapter 8 ‘Human Rights for Whom? Territoriality, Extraterritoriality, and Universal Jurisdiction’ from Steven Ratner’s The Thin Justice of International Law (OUP, 2015) 

4th session, 7 March 2016: Chapter 5 from Dirk Pulkowski’s The Law and Politics of International Regime Conflict (OUP, 2014)

3rd session, 28 January 2016: Sundhya Pahuja’s Decolonising International Law (CUP, 2011)

2nd session, 24 November 2015: Ruti Teitel’s Humanity’s Law (OUP, 2011)

1st session, 14 October 2015: Anne Orford’s International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect (CUP, 2011)