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European Union Centre of Excellence

Conference: Adversarial legalism à l’Européen, April 28-29, 2011

On April 28 and 29, 2011, EUCE York, in cooperation with York’s Centre for Public Policy & Law (YCPPL), Office of the Principal, Glendon College, the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, the Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost and the Law and Society Program in the Department of Social Science, are pleased to present “Adversarial legalism à l’Européen”, a two-day conference which will bring together younger and more established scholars from the EU, the United States and Canada who are working on law and politics in a comparative context.

The panels will explore the recent interest in the growth of the “American way of doing law” in different policy areas and countries in Europe and beyond. European governance, argue some scholars, is being transformed by a dramatic rise in litigation that has brought with it an expansion of EU rights, empowerment of national and EU level courts and better access to justice for private litigants. The consequences of an American-style adversarial legalism to Europe and beyond are far from clear. Not only that, other scholars dispute the assessment, arguing that entrenched European legal culture and the political organization impede a movement towards an American-style of law and litigation there.

The opening address and plenary session will take place in the afternoon of Thursday, April 28, 2011, followed by a welcoming reception and dinner. Prof. Dan Kelemen (Jean Monnet Chair and Director, Centre for European Studies at Rutgers University) has agreed to give the opening address. This will be based on his new book, Eurolegalism: The Transformation of Law and Regulation in the European Union, a recent publication of Harvard University Press. Friday, April 29, 2011 will see panels run all day.

For program details, see the bottom of this post.

The workshop will be held at Glendon College, York University’s bilingual (and picturesque) downtown campus.

The workshop is open to the York community and the public. Please register at

Organizer: Prof. Dagmar Soennecken,

Event Program

Thursday, April 28th

Glendon Senate Chamber, York Hall, C Wing
(building #9 on the map found here)

3:00-4:00 pm – Registration
4:15-4:30 pm – Words of Welcome: Dagmar Soennecken, York University (Workshop Convenor)
Introduction of Keynote Speaker: Lesley Jacobs, York Centre for Public Policy and Law

4:30-5:30 pm – Keynote Speech: Dan Kelemen, Rutgers University

5:30-6:30 pm – Plenary Roundtable Discussion (click here to access roundtable participants’ bios)

Chair: Miriam Smith, York University with

  • Carl Baar, York University
  • Lesley Jacobs, York Centre for Public Policy and Law
  • Ron Levi, University of Toronto
  • Ran Hirschl, University of Toronto

6:30 pm – Words of Welcome: Ken McRoberts, Principal, Glendon College

6:30-8:00 pm – Reception (Lobby, Senate Chamber)

8:00 pm – Dinner (off campus)

Friday, April 29th

BMO Conference Centre (Ballroom), Glendon Hall
(building #13 on the map found here)

8:30-9:00 am – Breakfast
9:00-9:15 am – Welcome

9:15-10:30 am – Panel 1 – Adversarial Legalism: Exporting a U.S.-style Model? (click here to access panel description and panelist bios)

Chair: Matthew Hennigar, Brock University with the following panelists:

  • Sean Farhang, University of California Berkeley – “Institutional Fragmentation, Adversarial Legalism, and Policy Content: Lessons from the U.S.”
  • Jacqueline Krikorian, York University – “ American Trade Remedy Measures and the WTO Agreement”
  • Holly Jarman, State University of New York Albany – “Responding to the Shrinking State: Public Services in US and EU trade policy”


  • Robert Wai, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (Discussant)

10:30-10:45 am – Coffee Break

10:45 am -12:30 pm – Panel 2 – Eurolegalism at the EU Level? (click here to access panel description and panelist bios)

Chair: Holly Jarman, State University of New York Albany with the following panelists:

  • Frans van Waarden, Utrecht University, Netherlands – “European Rights and Rule of Law and National Democratic Political Space”
  • Mary Volcansek, Texas Christian University – “Adversarial Legalism: An Alternative Hypothesis”
  • Rhonda Evans Case, East Carolina University – “Eurolegalism and the Case of the Missing Agents:  Should We Call Off the Search?”
  • Jacqueline Gehring, Allegheny College – “Premature Litigation:  Support Structure and the Roma Rights Movement”


  • Nikolai Kovalev, Wilfrid Laurier University (Discussant)

12:30-1:30 pm – Lunch

1:30-2:45 pm – Panel 3 – The Rise of Eurolegalism: Western European Perspectives (click here to access panel description and panelist bios)

Chair: Ian Greene, York University with the following panelists:

  • Christoph Strünck, University of Siegen, Germany – “Are courts trumping comprehensive legislation? Recent trends in consumer policy and labor market policy in Germany”
  • Christine Rothmayr Allison, Université de Montréal – “Variations of Judicialization: litigation patterns and judicial policy-making in comparative perspective”
  • Lisa Vanhala, Oxford University, United Kingdom – “Access to Justice and the Paradox of Legal Mobilization by the Environmental Movement in the UK”


  • Rick Russo, University of Toronto (Discussant)

2:45-3:00 pm – Coffee Break

3:00-5:00 pm – Panel 4 – Adversarial Legalism: Portable Beyond Western Europe? (click here to access panel description and panelist bios)

Chair: Soren Frederiksen, York University with the following panelists:

  • Alexei Trochev, University of Wisconsin – “Suing Putin: Patterns of Anti-Government Litigation in Russia, 2000-2008”
  • Maria Popova, McGill University, Montreal – “Politicized Justice in Emerging Democracies”
  • Peter Solomon, University of Toronto – “The Limits of Adversarialism in Neo-inquisitorial Criminal Justice: The Russian Case”


  • Mihaela Serban, Ramapo College of New Jersey (Discussant)

5:00-5:30 pm – Closing Remarks and Discussion of Next Steps