Konferenz : Lai*innen im Recht: Sozial- und geisteswissenschaftliche Perspektiven

08. Mai | 18:00


Social Science Perspectives on Legal Practices of Non-professionals

Lay judges and jury members in criminal trials; activists establishing so-called “people’s” or “citizen’s” tribunals, or proponents of alternative law - most of them are not legal experts with state-sanctioned competences. And yet, they all practice law, contribute to its production and development.

Laypersons can indirectly contribute to law-making and legal practices when they use and refer to legal concepts in their professional or private life, or when they oppose them. For instance, regulation of complex challenges such as climate change and sustainable development involve diverse stakeholders and institutions.

In contrast, socio-legal research on law conceptualizes norms and acts mostly in the context of legal experts and legal institutions, including parliament, courts, tribunals and international organizations. Today, we know very little about the role of laypersons for practices in legal systems.

This international conference addresses this knowledge gap. It looks systematically into the role of non-professionals in law from a socio-legal perspective. The aim of the interdisciplinary conference is to question existing assumptions about the social character of law both theoretically and empirically, and contribute to new thoughts on the issue.




Andrea Kretschmann
kretschmann  ( at )  cmb.hu-berlin.de


8th May 2019

18:00 – 19.30 Pre-conference screening and discussion: The Monsanto Tribunal

Movie screening & discussion panel with Arnaud Apoteker (General Coordinator Monsanto Tribunal), Ulrike Zeigermann (OVGU, CMB) & Guillaume Mouralis (CMB)


9th May 2019

9:30 Welcome Reception

10:00 – 11:15 Conference opening

Andrea Kretschmann, Guillaume Mouralis, Ulrike Zeigermann: Introduction & opening


Stefan Machura (Bangor University): Keynote: Laypersons – attitudes to, experiences with law


11:45 – 12:45 Panel 1: Socio-historical distinctions of specialists in law

Lucida Corso (University of Enna “Kore”): Laypersons in constitutional law

Paulina Gulinska-Jurgiel (MLU Halle/Saale): (Not) Being a lawyer: Politics, expertise and emotions in Polish discourses in western Germany in the 1960s


12:45 – 14:15 Lunch break


14:15 – 15:45 Panel 2: Legal development through new actor constellations – the emergence of legal careers and lay persons

Andrea Kretschmann (Centre Marc Bloch Berlin & IFK Vienna) & Walter Fuchs (IRKS Vienna): Total opposition: right-wing movements in the German speaking world & their pseudo-legal orders.

Samer Ghamroun (Saint-Joseph University, Beyrouth): When laywoman seize religious law : Exploring and defending sharia laws in Lebanon.

Stéphanie Lacour (ISP, CNRS, Cachan) & Daniela Piana (University of Bologna, Paris IAS): How does artificial intelligence reshape “laypeople” to build a “fair trial”?


15:45 – 16:15 Coffee break


16:15 – 17:45 Panel 3: Laypersons in law-making, norm interpretation & judicial formalization

Benoit Eyraud (University of Lyon 2): The involvement of lay people in the development and reception of international standrads : The example of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disablilities.

Ulrike Zeigermann (University of Magdeburg & Centre Marc Bloch Berlin): Laypersons and the definition & interpretation of environmental norms in sustainability governance

Julian Fernandez (Javeriana University, Cali, Colombia): The role of laypersons in the construction of law in Colombia : indigenous leaders face the international ban on the commercialisazion of coca leaves

20:00 Dinner


10th May 2019


09:30 - 11:30 Panel 4: Appropriation of judicial forms through activists: Alternative tribunals

Anna Pollmann (Hebrew University, Jerusalem): Intellectuals as judges. The Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal 1966/67 and the genesis of the genocide concept

Guillaume Mouralis (CNRS & Centre Marc Bloch Berlin): Mobilizing international criminal law, appropriating the "trial" form: The Russell-Sartre Tribunal 1966/67

Caroline Moine (University Paris-Saclay): The Russell Tribunal II on repression in Brazil, Chile, and Latin America (1974-1976). Success and limits of a transnational mobilization.


11:30 – 11:45 Coffee Break


11:45 - 13:15 Panel 5: Individual and collective mobilisation of law by laypersons

Dimitry Dugeny (LabTop and University Paris 8): Healing by the law: Use of law by non-governmental organizations, the case of Médecins du Monde

Thomas Gawron (Hochschule für Technik, Berlin) and Ralf Rogowski (University of Warwick): The relationship of laypersons to the Federal Constitutional Court

Elise Roullaud (Research Center for Atlantic and International History, University of Nantes): Confront the state to produce the law? Legal mobilization against the CAP reforms


13:15 -14:30 Lunch Break


14:30 -16.00 Panel 6: The influence of law on laypersons: social, political, and historical conditions

Hugues Bouthinon-Dumas (ESSEC Business School, Paris & University of Montreal): How landlords and tenants practice law as non-professionals when they conclude contracts

Axel Pohn-Weidinger (University of Gottingen and Centre Georg Simmel, EHESS, Paris) & Julia Dahlvik (University of Applied Sciences: FH Campus Wien): Legal consciousness and legal culture: Some theoretical and methodological observations.

Benedicte Laumond (Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin & CESDIP, Versailles): The judgments of lay persons on fictive cases: Public perceptions of crime in France and Germany


16:00 - 16:30 Synthesis and planning workshop

Andrea Kretschmann, Guillaume Mouralis, Ulrike Zeigermann

The conference is barrier-free & free of costs.


Georg-Simmel Saal
Friedrichstraße 191




© Centre Marc Bloch 2018 - Deutsch-Französisches Forschungszentrum für Sozialwissenschaften, Berlin

© Centre Marc Bloch 2018 - Deutsch-Französisches Forschungszentrum für Sozialwissenschaften, Berlin