The Law and Development Discussion Group brown-bag lunches are established as an interface for researchers and practitioners in the field to interact directly with one another. The intention is for speakers to bring new research contributions to law and development practice and for practitioners to add further insight for on-going research. The Discussion Group is a joint endeavour between the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (MPIL) and the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law. It seeks to draw lessons learned from the Foundation’s practical experiences with law and development in post-conflict and transitioning countries and to further research and theory advanced by researchers and guest researchers at both respective institutions. While MPIL research on law and development covers post-conflict and transitioning countries, it is not limited to it: international institutional law (tackling the governance of international development cooperation), and sustainability governance are equally relevant. Research on law and development is highly aware on the diverse theoretical angles on offer, ranging from neo-liberal economic over comparative law to post-colonial approaches or the high-impact justice discourses of political theory. These theoretical angles frame and explain arguments. Likewise, international policy discourses shape the field of law and development. Here, the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) with its institutional mandate to connect multinational and bilateral donors could be listed – not to mention the numerous discourses on law and development within academic institutions, think tanks, civil society, and donor communities.
The Law and Development Discussion Group thus essentially creates a platform and network between scholars and practitioners in the field of law and development between the Foundation, the MPIL, their guests, and potentially external speakers. While providing an open atmosphere conducive to confidential (academic) discourse and exchange, this thematic discussion group differs from other discussion groups with its strong additional platform and network function. Group discussions are scheduled to take place every three to four months. During every meeting, a speaker will provide structured insight into their theme, followed by a comment, and an extensive discussion. We meet on a regular basis, either at the MPIL or in the premises of the Max Planck Foundation. The group is open for all interested. For more information please e-mail to the organizers.
The updated format of the Law and Development Discussion Group brown-bag lunches include annual thematic foci, while maintaining an open discussion format for the individual meetings. The thematic focus for 2017-2018 is on the rule of law in peace and conflict. The concept of the rule of law in this context has gained significant attention in recent years – both with regard to its application at the national, sometimes regional, and international levels. Yet, rule of law and democracy promotion are also internationally contested concepts, which paves the way for an academically exciting discussion.