The Dublin Law and Politics Research Conference

Rule of Law and Populism

Sustainable Finance

Abstract Deadline: 20th January 2020

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The Dublin Law and Politics Review invites submissions for its annual research conference to be held on the 24th and 25th of March 2020. The conference aims to encourage interdisciplinary discussion and development for postgraduate and early career researchers. Therefore, submissions from a diverse range of methodologies and disciplines are highly encouraged.

The first day, March 24th, will be organized around the relationship between the Rule of Law and Populism. Populism is on the rise globally. Populist leaders are at the helm of governments in the Member States of the European Union, in North-America and many other states around the world. The law and politics of populist leaders often undermines the rule of law and threatens the values of liberal democracies. Many scholars have warned about the dangers of populism and have called to uphold the values of liberal democracies. The renaissance of populism is a contemporary phenomenon of the 21st century. This conference aims to explore the roots, currents and consequences of populism in four different thematic panels. Presentation topics are encouraged to include, but are not limited to

  • Populism and the Rule of Law in the European Union

German chancellor Angela Merkel is quoted saying: “We are seeing nationalism, populism and in a lot of countries a polarized atmosphere.” The rise of populism in the European Union is undeniable. Autocratic leaders have called for a new style of leadership called autocratic democracy. This leads to fundamental questions about the direction of the European project. Do we have to adopt our understanding of democracy to this new form of leadership? How can the European Union deal with populism? Is the rise of populist leaders in post-soviet states of the European Union coincidence or a sign of a larger symptom? Can the European Union uphold the rule of law in the Member States with autocratic leadership?

  • The role of Populism in Media and/or Communication

Breitbart News has gained wide attention during the US elections and is considered crucial for the rise of populism in the United States. Personalities such as Steve Bannon in the United States or Dominic Cummings in the United Kingdom are considered as masterminds of media populism. These developments lead to more fundamental questions concerning our understanding of media. What is the role of media in the 21st century? Does social media adhere to the rule of law in a given democracy? Which institutions are best equipped, and what institutional set-up would best contribute to promoting free press in the digital world?

  • Fundamental Rights, Digitalisation and the Rule of Law

In the context of digitalization, new and emerging technologies – such as IoT, blockchain and smart cities, AI, Big Data, etc. – pose challenges and threats in relation to fundamental rights of citizens. On the one hand, these technologies put pressure on the fundamental rights. On the other hand, the application of these new technologies can also help empower citizens and aid in strengthening and reinvigorating fundamental rights in practice. What is the relationship between fundamental rights and digitalisation? How can social networks make sure to protect fundamental rights of its users? What does the automation of jobs entail for the fundamental rights of citizens? How can data protection be safeguarded in the era of social media? Do algorithms uphold fundamental rights?

  • The role of Populism in Elections and Referenda

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is seen as a wakeup experience for the influence of social media on elections. Further, populist stances have proven highly fruitful for politicians during political campaigns. Moreover, countries which have been considered as bulwarks of the Western world are current lead by populist leaders. What does this mean for our self-understanding as liberal democracies? How do populism influences the outcome of elections? What are the advantages and disadvantages of  plebiscites by the people? Is direct democracy rule of law compliant?

The second day, March 25th, will be organised around research involving sustainable finance including the investment climate, social policy and economic policy and governance. Presentation topics are encouraged to include, but are not limited to

  • Finance, Climate, and Human Rights

Most of the general population has some form of investment, whether that is through mortgages, a savings account or on the stockmarket. Some rules have been made regarding investments but how do you prevent your bank from investing in weapons or illegal wood trade? Furthermore what rights do investors have and how do we include social values in the financial sector?

The factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013 killed 1135 people and 35 were charged with murder. What, however, are the responsibilities of clothing brands such as Zara and Benetton who use these factories?

  • Economics and Social Policy

Economics and social policy is a continuous point of discussion. Should social policies be replaced by a universal basic income or direct provision? Who is entitled to social benefits?

The European Internal Market has brought a lot of good to Europe and its Member States but not everyone agrees on its current shape and form. Questions such as should the market be based upon that of capitalist ideas or be flexible? Is further economic integration in the EU a sustainable plan for the future? Should the EU be able to raise its own taxes? How do we ensure both small and large companies pay the taxes which they are due?


  • Accountability and Financial Systems

The financial crash in 2007-2009 showed that financial systems are more complex than ever before. The integration and globalization of institutions makes it difficult to regulate and govern. How do we ensure that financial institutions such as banks, investment funds but also government institutions are held accountable? How can we prevent the next crisis when operating in such a global market with many different forms of government?

With the rising of financial crime how do we hold individuals accountable? What can businesses do and how should the legislator approach such crimes?

  • FinTech and the future

Is bitcoin a coin? Nothing is less predictable than the future. Technology keeps changing everyday – payments no longer run via cash or cards but apps. What new technology do we see rising, what problems will they solve and what challenges will they bring?

How will new technologies impact business and help them along?

Please submit your abstract(s) of no more than 500 words via or click here

before 20 January 2020. Submissions should include the presenter’s contact information and institutional affiliation. Notifications of acceptance will be communicated by 3 February 2020. Presentations should be no more than 15 minutes in length and will be followed by a question and answer period. Presenters will have the opportunity to publish their papers in the Dublin Law and Politics Review journal.

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