The Helsinki Summer Seminar 2020 on ‘TRANSNATIONAL LAW: New, Old, or Borrowed?’ has been rescheduled due to the ongoing pandemic and will take place in August 2021. Updates on the exact dates will follow as soon as possible.

Welcome to the Helsinki Summer Seminar on International Law 2020

We are delighted to announce that the Helsinki Summer Seminar on
TRANSNATIONAL LAW:  New, Old, or Borrowed?
organised by the Erik Castrén Institute will take place on 24 – 28 August 2020.


In a much-read work that was published in 1956, the US lawyer Philip Jessup turned his attention to what he labelled “transnational law”, covering “actions or events that transcend national frontiers. Both public and private international law are included, as are other rules which do not wholly fit into such standard categories”.  Today, the expression “transnational law” has become ubiquitous. It is especially being employed to address “global” phenomena, often with a vague connotation of legal pluralism. Recently, the University of Helsinki established a new chair of “transnational European law”.

The objective of the summer seminar of 2020 is to examine the actual or desirable content of the notion of “transnational law” especially from two perspectives. First, what is the analytical content of the notion? Does it add anything to such more firmly established fields as international, European or comparative law, for example? A second question has to do with its normative direction. It undoubtedly is an element in the internationalization or globalization of law and legal thinking. What are the effects of such developments and is it a good thing?  What are the costs and benefits of thinking of law in a “transnational” fashion?

All in all, the expression “transnational law” is both familiar and strange. The purpose of the 2020 ECI summer seminar is to examine the notion in its various permutations. The aim of the event is not to “define” it but to use the expression as a starting-point for debating the many projects and obscurities that attach to law as it leaves its domestic context.

Confirmed speakers include:

Nehal Bhuta (University of Edinburgh)
Mariolina Eliantonio (University of Maastricht)
Jan Klabbers (University of Helsinki)
Martti Koskenniemi (University of Helsinki)
Päivi Leino-Sandberg (University of Helsinki)
Mikael Rask Madsen (Univerity of Copenhagen)

Further information on the registration will be provided soon.