Seminar – Language and Translation at International Courts, Copenhagen, Denmark

On Thursday, 21 June 2018, from 1pm to 4.45 pm, the Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen, Demark presents a public seminar entitled From ‘Texts in the Making’ to Authoritative Judgments. This is part of the iCourts initiative, the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence for International Courts.

The Public Seminar ‘From Texts in the Making ‘to Authoritative Judgments’ addresses an aspect of law-making which is often overlooked in both dogmatic and empirical legal research: judgments of international courts are hybrid texts that have come into being in a complex process of written and oral communication between actors who speak different languages, belong to a variety of professional and legal cultures, and pursue divergent agendas. Once issued, judgments of international courts are usually analyzed as authoritative sources of law whose wording is rarely examined in the light of the complex linguistic, cultural and political context in which they have been formulated.

But who are the actual drafters of the legal decisions, who or what decides their wording, how do problems of multilingualism affect the drafting process and the final texts, to what extent is the language of judgments caused by external influences (policy concerns, NGO’s amicus curiae) and what role does it play that the drafters have no first-hand knowledge of the local communities, legal systems, and languages that are treated in the judgments?

The primary focus of the seminar is on the overt and covert translation processes which influence the wording and meaning of judgments both before and after they have been adopted as authoritative legal texts.

Speakers at the seminar are researchers specialized in the study of international courts and practitioners with inside knowledge of the internal operation of international courts. The list of invited speakers include:

  • Karen McAuliffe (Birmingham Law School)
  • James Brannan (translator at The European Court of Human Rights, previously The International Court of Justice)
  • Álvaro Paúl Diaz (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)
  • Kerstin Carlson (iCourts Global Research Fellow; University of Southern Denmark)
  • Ellen Elias-Bursac (The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University)
  • Leigh Swigart (Director of Programs in International Justice and Society at the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life of Brandeis University).

Registration no later than 15 June 2018, 12:00. To register and for the full programme click here.


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