COI Conference 2023: Towards just institutional approaches to conflict prevention and resolution
The 2023 Institutions for Conflict Resolution (COI) Conference ‘Towards just institutional approaches to conflict prevention and resolution’ aims to identify just institutional approaches that seek (real) conflict prevention and conflict resolution in the legal context.
The Conference will be held at Aristo meeting centre Utrecht Lunetten on the 28th and 29th of September 2023. Registrations for the Conference are now open! More information can be found under the tab ‘Costs and registration’.
Read the conference blogs here:
The theme of the Conference
It is essential that substantive and procedural legal rules and public actors endeavour – in practice – to prevent or resolve conflicts in society. This is important at local, national, European, and international levels. In addition to preventing or resolving conflicts in the legal context, these three formal institutions (substantive law, procedural law, and public actors) must also maintain rule of law values and legitimacy. Such institutional approaches to conflict prevention and resolution are often found in regulation, law enforcement and compensation mechanisms or other remedies, and in formal decision-making by courts and other public institutional actors. However, the premise that these substantive and procedural legal rules, and public actors should contribute to preventing and resolving conflicts in society is highly complex and not always self-evident. In practice, three issues play an important role.
Firstly, the needs and expectations of individuals who use legal rules and procedures do not (always) match with the aims, content, or outcomes of the substantive legal rules and legal procedures, resulting in obstacles for addressing conflicts. Also, the social justice experience of these individuals might be negatively influenced by the formal structure of legal proceedings and processes, potentially even resulting in increasing conflicts. Secondly, other actors have a role in conflict prevention and resolution, including (religious) communities, mediators, arbiters, unions, alternative compensation institutions etc. These actors can replace, interact with, or co-exist next to public actors, resulting in a complex dynamic both for (lay) individuals who are affected by the conflict and for legal professionals in supporting their clients. Thirdly, contemporary society is significantly challenged by global and future developments, such as climate change, digitalisation, disinformation and fake news and polarisation. Also, the legal domain as such is challenged by, for instance, fragmentation, decentralisation, globalisation and by the public’s diminishing trust in formal institutions. How can and should formal institutions adequately fulfil their role of conflict prevention and resolution in these circumstances?
The aim of the Conference
The 2023 COI-conference aims to identify just institutional approaches that seek (real) conflict prevention and conflict resolution in the legal context. We depart from the notion that institutional approaches to conflict prevention and resolution should be ‘just’ from a legal-doctrinal, legal-empirical, and/or legal-normative or -theoretical perspective. Specifically, we want to address the three issues described above: individuals’ perspectives; the dynamic between non-public actors and public actors (also in the context of rule of law values); and/or the exceptional or modern challenges facing today’s society.