From Public Monopoly to Collaborative Relations

The Universities of Konstanz and Barcelona are organising a German-Spanish Conference on Self-Governing Processes in the genesis of norms in globalisation

The gray areas of legal standardisation, when the borders between the state's sovereignty and a self-regulating society become unclear, are the topic of the Konstanz Conference on "Self-Regulation as an avoidance strategy of the law with uncertainty in globalisation, on 5 and 6 May 2011. The conference is a collaborative project between the young research group "Normative genesis in globalisation " of the Cluster of Excellence on "Cultural Foundations of Integration," at the University of Konstanz and the research group, "Problemas de decisión jurídica en situaciones de incertidumbre cientifica", at the University of Barcelona, Spain. The conference in Konstanz was preceded by the conference, "Challenges for the Law in the Global Risk Society: The Decision under Uncertainty," which was held in Barcelona in March 2011 in Barcelona. In Konstanz, the researchers now studied the political and legal relationship, when statutory functions are transferred to private organisations and so the principle of public sovereignty makes way for the model of collaborative relations between state and society.

According to traditional opinion, the relationship between the state and society stands out through the statutory monopoly on legitimate force and its monopoly on the definition of public interest. The statutory sovereignty finds its expression in setting and applying legal norms. This sovereign setting of norms comes to its limits when it is about overcoming global risks, which themselves cannot be clearly assessed by science. "In this situation of uncertainty, the legislature and executive are constantly called on to make decisions, " explains Dr. Maria Mercè Darnaculleta, Coordinator of the Konstanz research group: "In this context, the right to self-regulation of industry, the economy and the international scientific communities seems to be a force equipped with the necessary authority, efficiency as well as the temporal and spatial flexibility in order to be able to deal better with uncertainty."This is why there are also massive changes in our understanding of the legal system, stated the Spanish and German conference participants at the launch event in Barcelona.

The first part of the conference in Barcelona focused on the theoretical processing and discussion of decentralised regulation: A phenomenon which Prof. Dr. José Esteve Pardo highlighted as the "scientific drifting of the law." "The law, as far as the application of self-regulating instruments for overcoming  uncertain situations is concerned stands, methodologically before enormous problems whose range and scope has not yet been researched enough," said Darnaculleta: "Perhaps we need to develop a new understanding of the law."

In the second part of the conference in Konstanz, practical analyses from individual reference fields of the law will be compared. Among other aspects, the consequences of the financial market crisis, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April 2010, electromagnetic contamination, the risks of genetic engineering and the safety and security standards of industrial production are taken as reference fields.

Dr. Maria Mercè Darnaculleta and her Spanish colleague, Prof. Dr. José Esteve Pardo, jointly organised the two conferences with Spanish colleagues in Barcelona and Konstanz who are studying the consequences of transformation processes in the field of setting norms and want to a make a subsequent change to the understanding of "statehood" more manageable. Around 20 international speakers took part in each of the two conferences.