5-6 Oct 2017 Toulouse (France)


The globalization movement of the last three decades weakened both geographical and sectoral boundaries. The current trend to revitalize the sovereignty of States shows that these boundaries have reached their limits.

National territories are becoming too narrow for an effective enforcement of law. Challenges are global, starting with environment and its protection. Scientific progress is opening up new spaces, such as the digital space or outer space.

Uneasiness is deep. As a matter of fact, not only developing new rules, which are better suited to the current time proves difficult, but there is a need to renew, often in depth, the concepts, the approach and the methodology of law.

International law is not an exception in so far as it does not escape this phenomenon. It regularly reveals the weakness of treaties, which structure international legal life but show, through their inadequacy and the powerlessness of many international organizations, their limits. And thus, it urgently appeals for a profound shift.

The conference organized by the Institute of Law for Space, Territories, Culture and Communications (IDETCOM) of the Faculty of Law of the University Toulouse Capitole, aims at describing the gaps in the international legal framework in force currently. It intends to go beyond a general reflection that would be illustrated with examples and invites to analyze current difficulties within thematic workshops, which will deal with case studies and will lead to general teachings.

In the conduct of their political, socio-economical and military activities, States, as founding and prime actors of international law, have been and still are the instigators of the organization of geographical and physical spaces. And while their sovereignty has been being questioned by the extraterritorial application of domestic legislations, it also faces major challenges that are continuously increasing. These issues are all linked to the use of new spaces, opened up by the digital revolution, some applications of which are intrinsically related to the development of activities in outer space. As for the territory, the traditional space of application and expression of sovereignty, is at the heart of migratory challenges (because of war, economy, climate), which may be considered unprecedented.

The reflection developed during the two days of the conference follows a new approach of national « territory(ies) » in relation to the "space(s)" revealed by technical progress.


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