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European Law and Cultural Diversity Conference - 22-24.XI.2023 at the UWr

dr Michał Stępień - 20 Listopad, 2023 - 10:14

The notion that cultural differences have a significant impact on the way the Rule of Law is understood across countries, and that such differences should be taken into due account when evaluating the ways in which it is practiced, has been long acknowledged by key international institutions (cf. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 69/123, on The Rule of Law at the National and International Levels. The calls for further research and the international debate in general, however, have been so far limited to the differences between the “West” and the rest of the World. Thus, for example, the International Law Association in its 2018 Conference reminds that “[w]hilst there is often presumed to be a universal conception of what is just, fair, or good, there is the need to be more cognizant of specific local, cultural and social factors which may contribute to different notions of the rule of law than that accustomed in Western societies.”2 That is, as far as the Rule of Law debate goes, there seems to be at least at the practical level a general assumption that the “West” is a more or less monolithic cultural unit whose internal diversity has little importance and deserves little attention in terms of the way the Rule of Law is understood and practiced.

This one-size-fits-all approach also dominates the European debate, where it is commonly assumed that there is one relatively homogeneous cultural understanding and experience of (legal) notions as fundamental to the Rule of Law and as deeply conditioned by culture as those of “(un)certainty,” “participation” or “to be heard.” Yet, even if such assumptions about the general consensus were correct, the increasing tensions across the EU and its MS about the Rule of Law debate suggest that further research is needed. The question becomes even more pressing if we acknowledge that, while differences across national cultures are important, no nation is culturally homogenous due to the presence of different ethnic groups and cultural minorities, incl. migrant citizens and non-citizen residents.

From the perspective of cultural diversity, the Rule of Law debate is only one manifestation of the broader importance of taking cultural nuance into account when approaching cross-national legal debates. With that in mind, this conference sets out to revisit the meaning and scope of European cultural differences in relation to a variety of cross-national legal debates, and explore whether and to what extent the insights developed in the area of multi-cultural research can help facilitate a more nuanced and deeper mutual understanding in European legal relations.

Zoom link for all three days:
Meeting ID: 691 4062 8854
Meeting passcode: 93323695

Alternative link for XI.23 between 11:30-13:45, parallel panel
Meeting ID: 614 0902 3484
Meeting passcode: 74529088

PDF icon Conference Programme