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International Workshop by Prof. Nicole Roughan


On April 27th, 2017, the Leading Program has hosted an international workshop inviting Professor Nicole Roughan from National University of Singapore. This international workshop was planned and organized by our program student, Naoyuki Okano, a Ph.D. Candidate of Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University. Following is the report of the workshop by Naoyuki Okano.

The topic of the workshop was “Approaches to Bridge the Empirical and Normative: A Question of Transnational Law.“ In an era of globalization, we are more and more observing different forms and operations of norms and regulations in different sectors, outside of the state legal system. The field of transnational law has emerged as a methodology to explore such norms and regulations. One of the urgent questions is how we should deal with such norms and regulations when they, in most cases, have substantive influence through, without or in relation with state legal system. In other words, the question is how we should bridge the knowledge from the empirical observation of newly emerging norms and regulations to normative discourses of (traditional state) law.

Prof. Roughan, with her expertise in jurisprudence and transnational legal theory, explored this question of the empirical and normative through her analytical lens of authorities. Prof. Roughan’s idea on “authorities as power and role”, as well as the idea that the line between the empirical and normative is blurring, provided food for thought on the current question for more than 20 participants, and sparked vibrant discussions. Prof. Roughan’s presentation not only covered the evolution of her theory on authorities and pluralist jurisprudence, but also touched upon her upcoming work on “officials” in the context of transnational law.

Following the presentation by Prof. Roughan, Yoh Matsuo, Professor of Jurisprudence in Nagoya University, has made critical comments on her theory through concrete cases. Prof. Matsuo has raised cases of Wemen-only passenger cars in Japanese railway or subway, as well as a complex relationship between Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Japanese government, to explore practical implications of Prof. Roughan’s theory. Also, Prof. Matsuo has provided a particular Japanese context with regard to legal pluralism to enrich the debate.

These presentation and comment were followed by active discussions from the floor. Discussions extended both to the clarification and elaboration of parts of the theory of Prof. Roughan, as well as practical implications and core cases of her theory. Especially, how to treat and retain a function of law as a focal point of responsibility was one key element of the debates.

As a whole, the workshop has become one of the most successful international workshop with more than 20 participants from inside and outside of Nagoya University, and also it was a remarkable event as a first of this kind workshop dealing with the theory of transnational law. Dai Yokomizo, Professor of Conflict of Laws in Nagoya University, mentioned how rare and precious this kind of international workshop was in his closing remarks.

On the next day of the workshop, Prof. Roughan met some Ph.D. students at Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University. In the meeting, two of Ph.D. candidates (Jean-Isamu Taguchi, and Naoyuki Okano, myself) had a privilege to make a presentation of the part of their Ph.D. projects and to receive critical comments from Prof. Roughan.

I, personally, would like to express my gratitude to the generous support of the leading program, without which it was impossible for me to organize this workshop. I appreciate all the participants to the workshop who made it truly lively and critical one. I would also like to express my deep gratitude to Prof. Yoh Matsuo, for generously accepting to comment on the presentation, and, of course, I would like to truly appreciate Prof. Roughan to come all the way to our university, and to engage with active and fruitful academic exchanges.


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