The 16th Annual Ius Commune Conference, Utrecht, The Netherlands

On 24 and 25 November, the annual Ius Commune Conference was held in Utrecht. Different from the earlier meeting of Ius Commune which William Bull blogged about previously, this conference was open to all Ius Commune members and was attended by almost all M-EPLI fellows, myself included.

This was my first Ius Commune conference and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Not only were there inspiring addresses by Prof. Boele-Woelki (UU), Prof. Jan Wouters (KUL) and Prof. Hesselink (UvA), each of whom addressed interesting topics such as the interaction of Private International Law and substantive law; Private law and global governance and the different perspectives (Nationalist, dualist/pluralist, Europeanist) present in the European Union, each in their own way making us wonder about what lies ahead. Next to these plenary addresses there were also several workshops on various topics such as Tax Law, Corporate Law, Environmental Law, Family Law, Intellectual Property Law and Public Law.

At these workshops M-EPLI fellows were not only present but also presenting. William Bull presented his PhD research topic ‘EU optional instruments’ during the contract law workshop chaired by M-EPLI director Jan Smits, whereas Lars van Vliet was panelist at the property law workshop which dealt with the distinction between movables and immovables. The presentations and panels varied from legal history from a contractual perspective, the influence of Johannes Voet on Scots property law, to highly technical presentations regarding themes such as price reduction and digital content in the CESL.

As a fresh new property lawyer it was a first opportunity to meet the men and women who have written the books and articles I have read so many times before, and I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit starstruck by meeting some of them. Talking with them and listening to them in the workshops and panels was a very inspiring exercise. The workshops themselves were interesting content-wise and struck a nice balance between theory and practice, past, present and future and nationalist- and European perspectives. A well-rounded programme was provided that was interesting not only for young researchers but also for the experienced ones.

The reception and dinner were an excellent opportunity to catch up with old colleagues and make new friends and connections, a process which was smoothly supported by food and drinks for all. Drinks were continued after the official part of the evening had ended in the various pubs in Utrecht, doing justice to the reputation the Ius Commune conferences have; namely that they are not only an academic exercise but also an excellent opportunity to strengthen the bonds between the participating universities and the people that work there.

I for one cannot wait for next year when it will be held in Amsterdam!

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