Cambridge International Law Journal 2023 Conference – Call for Papers



(In-person, Faculty of Law of the University of Cambridge, 24–25 April 2023)


Language is essential to international law. International law terms and phrases are
regularly invoked to specific ends, extending their operation beyond legal rules to a
form of discourse: states initiate military operations using the justifications of
‘genocide’ prevention, ‘humanitarian’ aid, and the ‘responsibility to protect’; claim
‘discrimination’ in trade; and operationalise the language of ‘sovereignty’ to avoid
obligations. While the multilingual translation and interpretation of legal texts is
essential to the practice of law, exact semantic transposition of concepts is unattainable,
and undermines both participation in, and the efficacy of, international law. Language
itself is pertinent to the expression of identity and can render groups vulnerable to
discrimination and exclusion from the public sphere. Big data has become a new
language in international law, heavily relied on in international efforts to prevent crime,
and as a basis for regulation. Altogether, language remains the unacknowledged core of
international law, relevant not only to treaty interpretation but to the understanding of
the discipline and its components as a whole.

The Conference Convenors and Editors of the Cambridge International Law Journal
(CILJ) welcome submissions for the 12th Annual Cambridge International Law
Conference, which will be hosted in person at the Faculty of Law of the University
of Cambridge from 24 to 25 April 2023. Submissions may be on any area of public or
private international law, and should raise issues relevant to the theme Language in
International Law. Papers potentially may address, for example, any of the following
indicative themes:

● The cooptation of language to achieve legal ends;
● Interpretative methods in international law;
● Global access to international law;
● International legal discourses and the role of the international lawyer;
● Language, identity, discrimination and the protection of minorities; and
● Big data and global governance.


An abstract of no more than 500 words, together with a CV, should be submitted via the
following link by 11:59pm GMT, 20 January 2022:

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their proposals in February 2023. The
authors of selected papers will be required to submit a 4,000-word extended abstract to by 20 April 2023.

Authors who present at the Conference may also be invited to submit their papers for
consideration for Volume 12(2) of CILJ, the dedicated conference issue of the Journal,
to be published in December 2023.


Registration for the Conference will open in February 2023. Further information will be
posted on the CILJ website in due course. In the interim, please contact with any questions or concerns.