Call for Papers: Reimagining Contract in a World Of Global Value Chains



Reimagining Contract in a World Of Global Value Chains

9-10 May 2019, Sciences Po, Paris, France

Global value chains (GVCs) have emerged as a dominant form of capitalism, producing conflicts that stand emblematically for struggles of distribution, participation and equality under globalization. As a mode of production, GVCs rely heavily on a legal infrastructure and the interests and ideals represented in it. As production shifts from integrated firms to outsourcing in dispersed networks, the institution of contract becomes key in the legal construction of GVCs, if not their very animating logic. Legal departments of lead firms and business practice draw on the openness of contract as a framework for multiple forms of social cooperation to establish complex cascading webs of contracts. Ensuring control throughout the value chain implies a new mode of usage for contract, beyond safeguarding and towards organizing cooperation.

Yet the exact role of contract remains obscure for practical and conceptual reasons: practically because contracting techniques are a closely guarded business secret and are barely litigated upon in public, and conceptually because paradigms of contract, as they are taught in law schools around the world, largely stem from the 19th century with few incremental developments since. In particular, from the perspective of privity the idea that contracts are foundational building blocks in multitiered, globally fragmented, and centrally governed networks of production can hardly be grasped.

What are the aggregate dynamics arising out of the interplay between numerous contracts and the underlying mechanisms of coordination and disruption? Despite inroads towards new understandings of contract under rubrics such as relational contracting and contract governance, the barrier of neo-classical privity remains so firmly ingrained in legal dogma that even these new approaches are reluctant to go beyond. And while the concept of privity was easily transnationalized, the various instruments serving to locally re-embed contract are lagging far behind.

In short, GVCs seem to command a novel direction of research on contracts, not taking individual doctrines or contract law as a broader field as a starting point, but rather the social institution of the value chain itself. Besides the immediate exchange relation between contracting parties that dominates liberal contract theories, third-party effects and the political economy of contracting become preeminent not only within the value chain itself but also on a broader, global societal and environmental level. Contracts have become a contested and fragmented arena of strategic corporate and civic engagement and activism.

What does this mean for contract law? No single contractual approach or theory is fully equipped to provide an analysis of the major implications. Rather, it seems about time to initiate a dialogue between competing or complementary contractual theories to explore their respective understanding of and contribution to GVCs. Through this, we hope to see more clearly along which lines contract law could recalibrate—by revisiting the first half of the 20th century when the general paradigms of contract and tort were being expanded to respond to the liability deficit of contractual distribution chains before these developments were restricted into their own little niche of product liability law, or by imagining something completely new?

And what will be the procedural parameters of new global litigation related to contract—do earlier focuses on tort and lex loci damni have a place in centrally-coordinated GVCs? How does the contract/tort interface structure recent cases of supply chain liability litigation? What implications does the move from corporate governance to governance through contract have not only for private international law but for local and transnational regulation? How do the hard law approaches of recent value chain due diligence regulation—from the US Dodd Frank Section 1502 to the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, from the Californian Transparency in Supply Chains Act to the French loi sur le devoir de vigilance—translate into contractual practice? And, crucially, what does contract’s role as the building block of global value chains imply for public debate and pedagogy?

The table is open for a reimagining of the very foundations of the basic private law paradigm of contract, whether related to contract per se or the more general regulation of contractually structured entities of production. These re-imaginings could draw from recent theoretical or empirical approaches to value chain governance, private international law, or the political economy of contract dogma, to say nothing of revisiting the precursors of value chain litigation in earlier generations, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and product liability law. Once again, it seems that we are about to break the bounds of privity—just this time around the effect on our understanding of contract may be even more radical than last.

Submission of proposals

Abstracts of c. 1 page is should be submitted by 28 February 2019. Accepted presenters will be notified by 4 March and are expected to provide draft papers (4–6000 words) for circulation by 1 May. For proposal submissions, contact the organizers at

The call is coupled to a planned special edition of a European peer-reviewed law journal focusing on contract law and global value chains which selected papers may be invited to join.


Participation is free of charge for presenters and, in exceptional cases, there may be a small amount of funds available for reimbursing travel costs.


The workshop is convened by Klaas Hendrik Eller and Jaakko Salminen and hosted by the Global Value Chain group @ Sciences Po Law School (SAB Global Value Chains). For more information, contact the organizers at






Call for Papers Law and sustainability in global value chains: Due diligence and contracts in focus


International symposium

Law and sustainability in global value chains: 

Due diligence and contracts in focus

25-26 April 2018, Aarhus, Denmark

Today, production takes place in globally fragmented chains and networks of suppliers and corporate groups. In theory, global value chains should allow value and risk to be equally distributed across the points of production. However, in practice gains are not shared but instead amassed by centralized corporate entities. Those entities are often far removed from where production physically takes place and therefore far removed from the negative impacts of the production processes on people and planet. Those risks are borne by jurisdictions, such as developing countries, which may be less well-equipped to mitigate or remedy compounded and multiple social and environmental problems.

Law plays a central role both in enabling these modes of production and in providing solutions to the problem. On the one hand, the dominant conceptualizations of corporate purpose, contract, and tort allow the complexity of global production organized via contractual relationships to remain largely unseen to law. This invisibility of global production is reinforced by regulatory approaches which focus primarily on national markets (such as taxation, labour and environmental regulation) or global approaches that remove problems arising from production from their local social or ecological context (e.g. institutional investment arbitration or the proposed treaty on business and human rights).

On the other hand, the contradiction between extensive control over some aspects of value chains and utter lack of liability for other value chain related aspects has led to a budding law of value chain liability. Recent regulatory approaches ranging from hard to soft law attempt to deal with the ills of global production by focusing specifically on global value chains. At the same time, there is an increasing caselaw on liability for the negative impacts of fragmented production both locally and in global value chains. These approaches are complemented by growing awareness by way of civil society action of how global value chains shape our global and local living conditions. There also seems to be a growing awareness amongst lawyers that basic understandings of corporation, contract, and tort can be reshaped to make them sensitive to the challenges of global production. Any such approach requires action focusing not only on production itself but also on the drivers of production: consumers, businesses, communities, and public procurers.

All this provides context for a critically important analysis to find out how we can achieve global sustainability, contributing to securing a sound social foundation for people everywhere now and in the future while staying within planetary boundaries. Towards this, the present symposium discusses recent reactions of law to sustainability problems in global value chains.

We welcome proposals from all scholars with research interests in this area. The authors of accepted papers will be invited to present in one of the three sessions:

  • Understanding the interaction of law and global value chains

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • The concept of value chain from law’s perspective;
  • Mapping of regulatory environments;
  • Mechanisms of control in value chains;
  • How global value chains can be made understandable to law;
  • Theoretical investigations into the regulatory environment in the area and regulation types, including discussions on meta-regulation and EU’s agenda of better regulation.
  • Due diligence regulation

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Comparative investigations of due diligence regulations and laws;
  • The interplay between hard and soft laws;
  • Theoretical and/or empirical investigations of selected due diligence law(s) and voluntary initiatives;
  • Liability issues arising out of current due diligence regulatory schemes.
  • Contracts and contract law

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • The use of contract law to operationalize sustainability requirements in global value chains – including efficiency and ethical perspectives;
  • The use of contract to operationalize sustainability requirements in global value chains – both theoretical and empirical insights;
  • The interplay of contract with other regulatory instruments, including meta-regulation, code of conducts and other private law tools;
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of contract in promoting sustainability in global value chains;
  • Enforcement of sustainability requirements in commercial contracts, including third party enforcement efforts.

Submission of proposals

Abstracts of max. 500 words should be submitted via the following link: by 28 February 2018.

Authors will be informed about the final decision on their proposals by 15 March 2018.


The symposium is organized by:

Transnational and International Tendencies in Law Research Center (INTRAlaw), Department of Law, Aarhus University and

Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade (SMART) project, University of Oslo. SMART has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 693642.

Contact persons:

Katerina Mitkidis,, Aarhus University, Denmark

Beate Sjåfjell,, University of Oslo, Norway

Jaakko Salminen,, University of Turku, Finland

Mark Taylor,, Fafo research foundation, Oslo, Norway


There is no registration fee for the conference, and meals, coffee and refreshments will be covered for all participants. Presenters will be invited to join the conference dinner on April 25, 2017.

The conference is funded by INTRAlaw.

NJCL 1/2017 Special Issue: To Pursue or not to Pursue CSR and Sustainability Goals

We are happy to share with all of you the new special issue of the Nordic Journal of Commercial Law on number of CSR and sustainability topics.

In five articles, 148 pages in total, eight authors deal with various legal aspects of CSR and sustainability. This special issue came into being thanks to the three guest editors, professor Vibe Garf Ulfbeck (director of the Centre for Enterprise Liability, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen), assistant professor Kateřina Peterková Mitkidis (PhD, INTRAlaw Center, Department of Law, Aarhus University), and assistant professor Alexandra Horváthová (LL.M., S.J.D., Centre for Enterprise Liability, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen).

This represent one of the outcomes of our conference in October 2016. We are looking forward to other ones coming soon.

Please, visit the website of NJCL to access the articles for free:

Conference on Law of Transition:Call for Papers

Call for papers for the conference ‘Law in transition – Interacting legal orders and changing actors’ arranged by the INTRAlaw (INternational and TRAnsnational tendencies in LAW) Research Centre taking place on 28 and 29 September 2017 in Aarhus.

The underlying idea of the conference is the fact that sovereign states are no longer the only actors in charge of establishing, implementing and enforcing legal norms. To an increasing extent, legal norms are established as a result of activities in international and supranational organizations, transnational corporations and through collaboration between public law and private law entities at national, supranational and international levels. The aim of the conference is to shed light on the impact of these new tendencies on legal regulatory mechanisms, on the role of the traditional legal actors, and on the subsequent challenges for legal research.

The three different conference sessions will focus on

  • Different legal orders and their interaction (key note speaker Kaarlo Tuori)
  • The changing role of legal actors (key note speakers Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen and Rosemary Rayfuse)
  • Emerging approaches in legal research (key note speakers Reza Banakar and Hanne Pedersen)

Proposals should be submitted by 1 June 2017 to: Tinna Meyer ( and include an abstract (500 words, approx.) with a title, three keywords, name(s) and affiliation(s), a biographical note and contact information. Please also indicate which of the three sessions your contribution matches the best.

Authors will be informed of the final decision in the beginning of  June, 2017. The choice of proposals will seek to ensure a balanced representation of the various aspects of the conference sub-themes.

The conference will take place in Aarhus, Denmark on September 28 and 29, 2017.

To learn more about conference, please visit:

Consumers as Sustainable Market Actors: Call for Papers

Consumers as sustainable market actors – SMART

The Sheffield Institute of Corporate and Commercial Law (SICCL) in collaboration with the project Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade (SMART) welcomes proposals for papers to be presented at the international conference on ‘Consumers as sustainable market actors’ on Thursday 6th July 2017.

Conference background and overarching questions

The conference intends to think critically about the role which consumers can play for the promotion of greater sustainable development. It invites papers that discuss how consumers already contribute to the promotion of sustainable development and how consumers could do this better if, for example, amendments to the law were made. The conference is open to both papers that address this topic in what is known as consumer protection law (e.g. product liability or trade descriptions) and papers that creatively look at the role consumers can play in other areas such as corporate governance.

We invite applications to present papers which address the overarching question of how consumers could contribute to greater sustainable development and which analyse and/or critique topics such as (non-exhaustive list):

(1) Theoretical framings of the role of consumer law and the scope and aims of current consumer (protection) law

(2) The role of consumers in corporate governance: From purchasers to participants?

(3) Consumers and global value chains: A force for good or bad?

(4) Sustainability marketing and consumers: Green reputation strategies and the law on misleading and unfair advertising

(5) Enforcement of sustainability codes of conduct

(6) Sale of goods: Are existing consumer rights fit for purpose for the promotion of sustainable development?

(7) Enforcement of consumer laws: From individual redress to class actions?

(8) Product liability law and sustainable development

(9) Product safety laws and sustainable development

(10) Regulation which affects the behaviour of business and consumers which is a barrier to sustainable development

(11) Environmental law and consumer protection

Proposals should be submitted with a suggested title, author’s name and affiliation and an abstract of approximately 500 words to Dr Andreas Rühmkorf by 6th April 2017.

Authors will be informed of the final decision by 21st April 2017. The choice of proposals will seek to ensure a balanced representation of the various aspects of the conference theme. Contributors will be expected to submit a full draft paper for the workshop by 23rd June 2017.

A peer-reviewed publication (edited book or special issue of a journal) is anticipated as the outcome of the workshop. A willingness to contribute to this is expected from those presenting at the conference.

There is no registration fee for the conference.

Lunch, tea & coffee and light refreshments will be provided for all participants during the conference. Speakers will also be invited to our speakers’ dinner, free of charge. Please be advised that we are not able to cover funds for travel and accommodation.

Call for Papers & opportunity to attend paper development workshop – Research Methods on Business and Human Rights – Special Issue of the NJHR

Dear CSR Legal Research Network members,

This message may be of particular interest for those of who have an interest in Business & Human Rights, as well as junior scholars in your network with such an interest (please do share).

The Nordic Journal on Human Rights (NJHR) has issued a Call for Papers on Research Methods on Business and Human Rights.

An optional paper development workshop (PDW) will be held during the Annual Conference of the European Business Ethics Network (EBEN) 14-17 June in Jyväskylä in Finland. A Special Track on Business & Human Rights (BHR) under this conference has the form of a PDW for the NJHR special issue. Attending the PDW is not a condition for acceptance for publication, but it will allow participants to receive feedback on advanced drafts for improvements prior to the submission of full proposals. Please see further information at:

To be considered for the PDW, please send an abstract (around 500 words) no later than 5 April (please disregard information on earlier deadline at the conference website), following the procedure listed at the website of the EBEN conference (see link above). According to the conference organizers, the process for submitting an abstract for the Special Track is this:

“When you go to the submission system and leave your abstract there is an option for a special track. You just choose the option and we know at once that your choice is human rights (or some other track or general theme(. When then send the abstracts to the special track organizer. The system is really easy to use.”

Please also note that EBEN membership is not a condition for participation in the PDW (but participations is cheaper for members). 

Please note that there are separate deadlines and procedures for submissions for the journal (first link above) and the PDW (second link above).

Sustainable Business Models: Designing the future for business in society [SMART]


Designing the future for business in society

Global economic development has brought immense benefits and opportunities for business and society. For the first time, a world without absolute poverty has become an agreed goal of development policies globally, and in the EU, as reflected in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The prospect of social and economic progress collides with the threat of unprecedented social-ecological consequences resulting from economic activity transgressing the planetary boundaries.

Understanding and addressing these global changes is a pervasive scientific challenge and an intrinsic dimension of an integrated and comprehensive approach to rethinking business for sustainable societies. Our understanding of a sustainable society is based on the definition of sustainable development as ‘development that meets the needs of the present while safeguarding Earth’s life-support system, on which the welfare of current and future generations depends’ (Griggs et al, Nature, 2013). A sustainable society is one where sustainable development is achieved, and Sustainable Business Models (SBMs) are Business Models that fit into such a society.

This Conference concerns the “Sustainable Business Models” aspect of the SMART Project. It aims to identify good, competitive and increasingly resilient practices associated with different business profiles and the latest Developments and theories in different managerial and legal areas.


The conference fee is €125 for PhD students and €200 for other researchers. In order to secure a place at the Conference, please register here.


Scientific Aspects: Professor Maria Jesus Muñoz-Torres

Time & Place

June 26, 2017 June 27, 2017, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, Spain

International Trade and Investment [SMART]

This conference invites scholars to consider the ways in which trade and investment law can promote and block sustainability.



Exploring legal drivers and barriers to sustainability

The aim of this conference is to consider the interaction between public international law and private law in this field (as well as between hard and soft law) from the perspective of ‘sustainability’. We can understand ‘sustainability’ as ‘Development that meets the needs of the present while safeguarding Earth’s life-support system, on which the welfare of current and future generations depends.’ (Griggs et al, 2013) Yet, the means by which to achieve that objective, including the balance between environmental, economic and social pillars, remains contested. This conference explores the controversies that have arisen regarding the legal drivers for and barriers to achievement of sustainability. We have invited scholars with in depth expertise in public international law, international economic law, international human rights law, international environmental law, development, international labor law, investment law, financial securities law, EU external relations, corporate law and corporate governance.

Participation at the Conference

In order to secure a place at the Conference, please register here by 1 May 2017.

Call for papers

Call for papers (deadline expired)

Tentative programme


Linda Gulli


The event will be accompanied by an internal meeting for SMART partners on 8 May and Workshop on 11 May. More information on this will follow.

Time & Place

May 9, 2017 May 10, 2017, Gamle Festsal, Domus Academica, Oslo

Taxation and Sustainable Development [SMART]

In order to secure the social foundation for people today and in the future, radical changes both to business behavior and to the global distributional landscape are required. Tax systems are a recognized force for both behavioral change and redistribution. Are tax systems responding, however, to these needs?


“Green tax” regimes exist, of course, but do they work and are they enough?  What are their impacts along global value chains?  What barriers to sustainable business exist in the way market actors are taxed outside such regimes, and in the way market actors respond to tax systems generally?  Are the outcomes of the OECD’s “Base Erosion and Profit Shifting” project, and instruments such as the EU’s Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive, enough to stall the flow of untaxed corporate profits from developing countries?  More generally, how can tax policy become a positive driver for sustainable development?  How can sustainable development imperatives be integrated in tax policy-making on the level of individual states, at EU-level, and globally? These are some of the questions the Taxation and Sustainable Development Conference aims to address when convening an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars to Oslo University Faculty of Law on 25 April 2017.

How to register?

Registration for the event is open for scholars of all disciplines and others interested in the topic, including students. We encourage registration through this online registration form to secure a place at the Conference.


Jukka Mähönen

Linda Gulli

Call for paper

View the call for paper here.

Time & Place

Apr. 25, 2017, Kjerka, Domus Media Vest, Oslo

International Conference on Sustainable and Efficient Transport System [SMART]

The InterTran Research Group for Sustainable Business and Law, University of Helsinki and Aalto University School of Business in collaboration with the SMART project, University of Oslo are organizing an international conference on Sustainable and Efficient Transport Systems – The Role of Transport in the Sustainable Circular Economy.



Concept note and overarching questions

The aim of the conference is twofold:

(1) to find solutions to the overarching question of how transport could be more resource efficient and have less negative impact on the environment; and

(2) to answer the question of the role of transport, and in particular carriage of goods, in the transformation to a circular economy.

The current transformation to a circular economy focuses upon the life cycle of products, including aspects like production, design, materials and waste of goods, leaving the negative impact of transport aside.

However, in order to make efficient decisions, politicians, stakeholders and, in particular, the actors in the supply chain should be informed about the role transport plays in the international supply chain and also in the transformation to a circular economy. Research on the role of transport in the transformation to a circular economy is thus needed.

The overarching goal is to develop a resource efficient transport system that respects the environment. For this, we need technical solutions, such as cleaner and quieter means of transport. This is, however, not the only relevant approach, we also need a behavioural change in the transport industry. Tools are therefore required to promote a shift in the decision-making process that will enable the logistics service providers to choose environmentally friendly transport solutions, particularly as regards modes of transport (or a combination of these), routes of transport as well as, for example, the avoidance of half empty or empty loads. The key word for enabling the logistics service providers to make the right choices is information.

How to register?

For information on how to register please visit Intertran’s website (deadline for registration is 12 April 2017).