The International Society of Public Law
10th Annual Conference
Madrid, Spain


Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World

We look forward to welcoming you in New Zealand, on 3–5 July 2023 for our ICON•S Annual Conference on “Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World.”

The conference will take place in Wellington, hosted by the Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington and its New Zealand Centre for Public Law, with a fully in-person program of panels and activities.

We are pleased to partner with our hosts in Wellington to continue our tradition of holding a truly global academic event, involving scholars, practitioners, judges and others from all over the world joining together across multiple time zones to discuss a range of ideas in multiple languages in all fields of public law.

ICON•S | The International Society of Public Law welcomes you to the Society’s 9th Annual Conference, scheduled to be held on July 3 – 5, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand.

Conference Theme


Who Can Participate

Fully Formed Panels

Book Roundtables

Individual Papers

Forum, Interest Groups


Organizing Committee

Conference Theme

The plenary program at the 2023 ICON•S Annual Conference will focus on “Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World”.

The Pacific Ocean covers one‑third of the Earth’s surface. By various estimates, the island nations of the Pacific are home to somewhere between one‑quarter and one‑third of the world’s languages and cultures. Although relatively small in number, the peoples of this region are therefore enormously diverse. Yet they are bound together, as much as they are separated, by the vast Pacific Ocean. For over a thousand years, seafarers have undertaken epic voyages of the Pacific Ocean for discovery, trade, and social exchange.

The Pacific region must therefore be seen as both islands and ocean—neither possible without the other, and both essential as mediums of interaction. These material conditions have in turn given rise to particular forms of public law ordering, both constitutional and international.

We take advantage of this unique setting to draw attention to a broad range of interrelated issues, under the expansive theme of “Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World”.

Invoking the Tongan anthropologist Epeli Hau’ofa’s conceptualization of the Pacific as a “sea of islands”, this theme helps to focus attention on concerns which are distinctive, though certainly not exclusive, to the Pacific region. These include the preservation of the natural environment, the effects of climate change—most dramatically manifested in rising sea levels—and the roles and rights of Indigenous peoples and cultures. In this connection, the theme resonates with a view of public law “from below”—from the global South, subaltern and Indigenous groups.

The idea of “Island and Ocean” also work as a metaphor of the legal framework of transnational public law, where common waters, made of principles and shared values, are the host of a multitude of islands, where diverse identities flourish. The imagery of “Islands and Ocean” also carries more abstract and symbolic potential, connoting a series of complementary relationships intrinsic to public law: the material and the ideal, rules and discretion, the particular and the universal, unity in diversity. Drawing on this imagery, we would welcome submissions reflecting a plurality of public law approaches, with the aim of identifying the archipelagos, currents, and constellations that will help to navigate the troubled waters of contemporary domestic and international ordering.

The conference theme also invites (re‑)consideration of a variety of other topics and approaches that are of ongoing and widespread interest in public law, including but not limited to questions of legal pluralism, constitutional conventions and custom, alternative approaches to rights protection, comparative constitutional law and institutional design, and political versus legal constitutionalism, among others.

Reflecting these issues and approaches, our plenary panels will be organised around three main topics: plural responses to the climate crisis, Indigenous rights and self-governance, and pluralism and change in unwritten constitutions.

Keynote speaker:

  • Brian Tamanaha, Washington University

Plenary speakers will include:

  • Maria Bargh, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Claire Charters, University of Auckland
  • Lee Godden, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Carwyn Jones, Te Wānanga o Raukawa
  • Aileen Kavanagh, Trinity College Dublin
  • Heron Loban, Griffith University
  • Janet McLean, University of Auckland
  • Salvador Millaleo, Universidad de Chile
  • César Rodríguez Garavito, New York University
  • Tamasailau Suaalii, University of Auckland
  • Justice Joe Williams, Supreme Court of New Zealand


As always, the Annual Conference will feature concurrent panel sessions, which will take place during the three days of the Conference and will be comprised of submissions selected through this Call.

Submissions may, but need not necessarily, relate to the overarching Conference theme. We will have five types of submissions: individual submissions, fully formed panels, book roundtables, forums, and interest groups. You do not need to submit written papers. Submissions will generally include a title and an abstract of up to 250 words. We encourage the submission of fully-formed panels and book roundtables.

Please note that each participant may present no more than 2 papers (whether sole-authored or co-authored) and may participate – as a presenter, chair, or discussant – in no more than 4 panels, providing that it is possible to schedule the panels in a way that accommodates all 4 panels to which a participant plans to contribute. The participation as a convenor in interest groups or as a speaker in a forum counts toward the general limit.

Who Can Participate in this Annual Conference?

ICON•S is not restricted to public lawyers nor to established scholars. We welcome proposals that offer multi-disciplinary perspectives from various areas of law (including civil, criminal, tax, and labor law), as well as from scholars in the humanities and the social sciences (e.g. history, economics, political science, sociology) with an interest in the Conference’s themes. We also welcome submissions from both senior and junior scholars (including doctoral students) as well as interested practitioners.

The 2023 Annual ICON•S Conference will be in-person, with the following limited exception. We will not have online panels, nor will we stream on-site panels. Everyone submitting individual abstracts and panels should aim to present their papers in Wellington in-person. We will allow fully-formed panels and book roundtables submitted in advance to have a limited number of speakers joining remotely, according to the following rules: the chair of each panel must attend in-person. If required, the chair will also be asked to become the panel’s online host. Panels will not be streamed online. For panels of 4 and 5 members, one speaker can attend remotely. For panels of 6 members, two speakers can attend remotely.

To propose a panel, paper, forum or interest group, you must have an active ICON•S membership. However, for panel and interest group submissions, only the person who submits the proposal needs to have an active membership at this stage, but full membership is required to participate as a speaker. We offer different kinds of membership, including discounted membership for new members as well as scholars from non-OECD countries and emerging scholars; all of them allow for the submission of panels, papers, working groups and fora. The ICON•S membership includes not only the Conference fee, but also the right to vote in the Council elections and to participate in the activities that are organized for members only.


If you are already a member, you can log in here.


If you are joining the Society for the first time, please click here.


If you are unable to pay for your membership due to either legal restrictions or financial hardship, please contact us at

Fully Formed Panels, Book Roundtables and Individual Submissions

Fully-formed panel proposals and book roundtables should include between three and five presentations by participants who have agreed in advance to give their presentations. In addition, each panel must have a chair and may have one or more discussant(s). The panel chair can also be a speaker, though it is not necessary. In total, no more than seven persons can be part of the panel (including co-authors, discussants, speakers, and the chair panel). The panel must be formed in accordance with the Society’s commitment to gender balance. In the submission form, you need to enter the panel title, identify the type of panel (book roundtable or normal fully-formed panel), a description of the panel, and information about the panel chair, the speakers, and -if applicable- the discussants. For each speaker, you need to add the title of his or her presentation; individual abstracts are not required. Please add all the panel members’ email addresses separately in the relevant field. The email address associated with each panel participant’s ICON•S membership and/or Conference registration should also be provided. You will also need to provide a panel description and a panel title. Each presentation should have an individual title (if applicable), and individual abstracts are not required.

We generally encourage submissions to be in English. Interest groups, forums, and individual submissions must be in English. However, as part of the vision of a truly global Conference that invites new members to join together in conversation, we invite submissions for fully-formed panels and book roundtables in any language. Submissions in languages other than English must include at least one-panel participant willing and able to translate questions and responses to and from English. Scholars who wish to propose a fully-formed non-English panel or a book roundtable must submit the proposal in English, include an English-language title, and identify the language of the panel (e.g., Korean, Spanish, Chinese, German, etc.) in the title, using parenthesis, e.g., “Judicial Review in Emergency Regimes (Italian).”

We also welcome individual submissions on any subject related to the Conference theme or to public law in general. Individual paper submissions must be in English. After the paper submission is confirmed, it will become part of a panel assembled by ICON•S. No actual paper drafts are required for the Conference.

Forums and Interest Groups

As in previous years, there will also be an opportunity for ICON•S interest groups and forums to meet.

Interest Groups

An ICON•S Interest Group (or Working Group) consists of a group of scholars hoping to build deeper connections with a view to future collaboration on research and engagement on a particular theme. The key aim of an Interest Group is to enhance the capacity of ICON•S to serve as a forum for supporting cross-national and inter-disciplinary research both at our conferences and beyond. There are a range of existing interest groups in the Society which you may be interested to join, a full list can be found on our website.

To submit a proposal for an Interest Group, a convener must submit the following information: full name, email address, and institutional affiliation of the convener, the title of the Interest Group, a description of the purpose of the Interest Group no longer than 250 words, any plans you have for the group (i.e. joint conferences or publications, specific projects to be pursued by group members, etc.).


ICON•S also hosts forums which are scholarly gathering of at least twelve (12) persons who commit to discussing a scholarly subject chosen by the convener of the forum. Forums will differ from ordinary panels in two respects: (1) there will be no presentation of papers; and (2) the convener of the forum may assign materials to be read in advance. The assigned materials may be a book, a set of papers, or something otherwise thought useful to the conversation on the subject of the forum. The convener will be responsible for circulating assigned materials prior to the Conference.

To submit a proposal for a forum, a convener must submit the following information: (1) the full name, email address, and institutional affiliation of the convener, (2) the title of the forum, (3) an abstract of no longer than 250 words, (4) names and Institutional affiliation of potential participants of the forum. It is advisable that pre-confirmations are taken from a critical mass of scholars to participate in the forum before submitting an application.

How and When to Submit?

To facilitate the travel plans for persons needing early confirmation, we will have two submission cycles according to the timeline below:

First Submission Cycle: 13 December 2022 | 31 January 2023 | Notification 5 February 2023

Second Submission Cycle: 14 February 2023 | 20 March 2023 | Notification 27 March 2023

Anti-Harassment Policy

We draw your attention to the ICON•S anti-harassment policy, which including avenues for assistance and redress. This policy applies to all ICON•S programs, including both the in-person and virtual components of this Annual Conference.

Organizing Committee

Richard Albert, Gráinne De Búrca, Gustavo Buss, Marta Cartabia, Lorenzo Casini, Sabino Cassese, Joel Colon-Rios, Rosalind Dixon, Luke Fitzmaurice, Morgan Godfery, Claudia Golden, Michaela Hailbronner, Ran Hirschl, Dean Knight, Marnie Lloyd, Erik Longo, Juan Sebastián López, Alicia Mangana Rios, Kate McCool, Stefano Osella, Irene Parra Prieto, Anna Pirri Valentini, Marianne Poehls Risco, Evan Rosevear, Amal Sethi, Guy Fiti Sinclair, Sergio Verdugo, Etienne Wain, Joseph Weiler, Ruiping Ye, Michelle Zang




We look forward to receiving your submission – and to seeing you in Wellington!

Richard Albert & Marta Cartabia
Co-Presidents of ICON·S

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