From Sunday September 30th to Wednesday October 3rd, 2018, the annual conference of the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) took place in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law (MPI LUX). The city of Luxembourg is home to many EU institutions. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is the best-known EU institution and iconic for the development of European legislation. Luxembourg was a forerunner and a strong supporter of European political and economic integration. Robert Schuman, the famous Luxembourg citizen, stood at the cradle of European unity.
The theme of this year's IALL Conference was "the law in Luxembourg where local traditions meet European and international innovation". On Sunday 30 September the program started with a pre-conference workshop on robots in libraries. Juja Chakarova, MPI LUX Librarian, explained how the Library works with a German-made TORY robot to get the time-consuming inventory job done. With the help of the RFID system the robot checks whether the books are in place.
After the pre-conference the first part of the IALL Conference Program started. Participants could choose between a guided tour in the 'Cité Judiciare', a guided casemates du Bock tour, or choose for a presentation about rare books on the history of Luxemburg or a presentation about art and artist books from the Bibliothèque Nationale de Luxembourg. Subsequently the participants walked towards the beautiful Abbey of Neumünster, where the official opening took place in the courtyard of the abbey. The reception was hosted by Jeroen Vervliet, chairman of the IALL and Hélène Ruiz-Fabri, director of MPI LUX.
In the conference room of the Chambre des Métiers on Monday, October 1, 2018, several lectures were given on Luxembourg law and legal practice in Luxembourg which gave the Annual Course participants a better understanding of the legal system of Luxembourg.
Professor Jörg Genkrath started the annual course of this year with an interesting and informative introduction to the history of the Luxembourg legal system. Professor Gilles Cuniberti spoke about the special characteristics of private law in Luxembourg, a civil law jurisdiction, the Luxembourg legal system, the operation of the sources of the law and legal education and several other related topics. The influence of the legal system of neighboring countries such as France and Belgium on the development of Luxemburg law has been large. This could give the impression that Luxemburg law is more like a kind of private international law. Noteworthy is that before the university of Luxemburg was founded in 2003, Luxemburg lawyers were usually trained in France or Belgium. Since the university was established, there is a law faculty in Luxemburg where more scholarship on Luxemburg law is produced. Nowadays law can be studied in Luxemburg but general master's degree programmes are currently not offered.
Professor André Prum gave a lecture on the Luxembourg Banking legislation, legal developments regarding the financial sector in Luxemburg and the relationship with the European Union and community law. Second only to Great Britain, Luxemburg is one of the leading banking sectors in Europe since the last decades. The second speaker, Professor Katherina Pantazatou, gave a lecture on important aspects of Luxembourg tax legislation. The day ended with a lecture by lawyer Paul Mousel, who spontaneously introduced a chapter on Space Law & Luxembourg international law requirements. During the breaks, there was ample time to speak extensively and network with colleagues and publishers.
On Tuesday, October 2, directors Prof. Hélène Ruiz-Fabri, Professor dr. Burkhard Hess and (senior) research fellows from the MPI Lux gave law lectures about diverse subjects within the field of EU law, international public law, and international procedural law. Prof. Dr. Burkhard Hess held a lecture about the development, the milestones, several research activities and perspectives of the Max Planck Institute in Luxembourg. MPI LUX and its library were founded in 2012. MPI LUX currently consists of 2 departments: the department of international law and dispute resolution and the department of European and comparative procedural law.
Two speakers focused mainly on EU law in their lectures. Dr. Stephanie Law spoke about procedural harmonization by the European Court of Justice in the field of consumer protection and dr. Cristina Mariottini held a lecture about privacy in European cross-border settings.
The other lectures were focused on various themes related to public international law. For example, dr. Martyna Fałkowska-Clarys lectured about the history and development of the concept of international criminal justice and the hybrid, mixed, or internationalized criminal tribunal. Mr. Henok Asmelash spoke about the WTO dispute settlement system, its key features, the dispute settlement process, the nature and number of disputes, the disputants and the ongoing crisis within the WTO dispute settlement system. Unfortunately the number of Members has reduced from seven to three. Another problem is the heavy case load that needs to be dealt with in a short time. Besides this there is a deadlock in the appointment and reappointment process. And there are complaints against the Appellate Body concerned with judicial activism, Advisory Opinions (Obiter Dicta) and Appellate Body Members serving after the expiry of their term.
Mr. Edoardo Stoppioni held a critical introduction about international investment arbitration and dr. Lily Martinet gave a fascinating account of traditional cultural expressions and international intellectual property rights.
Professor Hélène Ruiz-Fabri, Director of the MPI LUX, provided insight into the realization process and the related editorial work concerning the flagship product of MPI LUX; the EiPro-Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law. The work is published by Oxford University Press (OUP). There will be at least 250 entries online. 457 authors have accepted the assignment to write an article for the Encyclopedia. Since the summer of 2017, 174 entries have already been submitted by authors to the EiPro Editorial Team and currently 56 final entries have been submitted by the EiPro Editorial Team to OUP since spring 2018.
Tuesday afternoon we paid a visit to the Max Planck Institute and the Library. The MPI LUX-library develops a specialized collection and offers its services to a growing number of researchers. The 'open shelf' library works with RFID and the collection currently comprises about 60000 volumes and 40 databases. The books are not lent outside the building but employees are allowed to take a large part of the collection to their offices elsewhere in the building in order to carry out further research. The classification system of the MPIL LUX library is based on a combination of the classification systems of the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law (SICL) in Lausanne, the Library of the Court of Justice of the EU, and the classification system of the Library of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg.
On the third and final conference day, Wednesday 3 October, three lectures were given at the Chambre des Métiers. The lectures were all directly or indirectly related to the European Union and EU law. Drs. Jeroen Vervliet interviewed Dr. Jaap Hoeksma about political theoretical insights concerned with the EU and its relation with democracy. Dr. Hoeksma explained in this interview how the theory of democratic integration, which analyzes the EU from the citizens’ perspective of democracy and the rule of law, could serve as a philosophical foundation for European democracy. Several issues were addressed as well, such as migration issues, and challenges of the EU-after-Brexit. In a recent Peace Palace Library Blog Jaap Hoeksma addressed this topic as well.
Dr. Michel Erpelding spoke about the legal-historical importance of the developments in Upper Silesia for EU law and the process of integration in the European Union. Legal historians describe the Upper-Silesian Joint Committee as a model for the institutional arrangements set out in the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950. The speaker encourages libraries to be careful with literature on Upper Silesia.
The last lecture that took place in the Chambre des Métiers was about EU robot law, about how the EU deals with developments concerning the robotics and regulation of robotics. MEP Mady Delvaux-Stehres has written a comprehensive draft report on "Civil Law Rules on Robotics" in the context of the need for the regulation of robotics. In her lecture she gave a plea for the creation of a legal framework for robotisation and also discussed the draft report on robotics, opportunities, problems, fears and doomsday scenarios that are concerned with the issue of increasing robotisation.
After lunch the participants of the Conference went by shuttle bus to the European Court of Justice of the European Union(ECJ). The head of the department and an administrator of the Library of the Court of Justice of the European Union welcomed us in the grand courtroom and gave an introduction about the library. Afterwards, we walked through the corridors of the impressive building and visited the attractive Library of the ECJ. The most frequently consulted works of the collection can be found in the Reading Room. The rest of the collection is in a warehouse in both towers of the building complex. This concerns 240,000 volumes, 140,000 titles, 2,800 journals and electronic databases. The core of the collection is European Union law. In addition, the collection consists of books on international law, comparative law, national law of the member states, candidate countries and several other non-member states. Legal dictionaries and books on the theory of law and non-legal themes are also part of the collection. The annual budget of the Court's library currently amounts to EUR 1 482 000 and EUR 880 000 is spent on collection building. During our visit to the Court of Justice of the European Union, Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston gave a fascinating talk about her work as an Advocate General at the European Court of Justice.
The Annual Dinner took place in the abbey of Neumünster in the old town, an attractive location. It was a pleasant and beautiful conclusion of the IALL. During the Annual Dinner, the planning committee and sponsors were warmly thanked by the chairman of the IALL, Jeroen Vervliet. We are already looking forward to the next annual IALL conference. This will take place in Sydney from 27-30 October 2019.[number of readers: 507]
A selection of relevant publications from the Peace Palace Library collection
- International Journal of Legal Information / International Institute of Legal Information
- International Journal of Legal Information / International Institute of Legal Information (Online Journal)