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Working group

Turning Empirical? The Transformation of Scholarship of International Law

Add to calendar 2022-06-13 16:00 2022-06-13 17:30 Europe/Rome Turning Empirical? The Transformation of Scholarship of International Law Sala del Consiglio and Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


13 June 2022

16:00 - 17:30 CEST


Sala del Consiglio and Zoom

Organised by

Department of Law

The EUI Human and Fundamental Rights Working Group in collaboration with the Legal and Political Theory Working Group hosts its next event featuring a presentation by Jakob v. H. Holtermann and Martin Lolle Christensen.


In recent decades, legal academia has witnessed an increasingly fierce Methodenstreit. At heart lies an empirical turn in legal research. Increasingly, legal scholars turn away from traditional doctrinal scholarship of valid law and toward disciplines like sociology or computer science. Much is at stake. First, conflicting truths about law/the legal, but soon also changes in prestige and positions, which again impacts legal education and thereby society at large. Despite the high stakes, this turn is poorly understood with weak conceptualisations and strong bipartisan sentiments pro et con, reducing discussion to a standoff. Furthermore, the actual scope of the empirical turn is contested. To promote debate, TEMPTATION subjects the turn to a critical examination focusing specifically on international law. The study combines philosophical analysis of key concepts & arguments with socio-empirical analysis of the real scope of the alleged empirical turn and of the factors driving it.

Speaker bios

Jakob v. H. Holtermann is an Associate Professor of Philosophy of Law and a senior researcher at iCourts - the Centre of Excellence for International Courts at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. He has a Master’s degree in Philosophy and a PhD in Philosophy of Law. His present research focuses on the philosophy of legal science and on philosophy of punishment, especially in international criminal law. He has investigated i) the philosophical foundations of legal science, especially in relation to legal realism and the so-called empirical turn in legal science; and ii) the foundations of international criminal law, especially the ICTY, the ICTR & the ICC. In coauthored work he combines philosophical approaches to law with doctrinal law, sociology and linguistics. He is Principal Investigator of "TEMPTATION: Turning Empirical? The Transformation of Scholarship of International Law", a research project funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (2021-2024).

Martin Lolle Christensen is a postdoc on the TEMPTATION project where he empirically studies the reach of the empirical turn in legal research. He holds a Master’s degree in Law from Copenhagen University as well as an LLM and PhD from the European University Institute. His thesis was on judicial borrowing among regional human rights courts. Martin has previously worked as a research assistant for the From Dogma to Data research project at iCourts, Centre of Excellence for International Courts, and has published on computational methods, particular citation network analysis, and its utility in legal research.

The event will be held in Sala del Consiglio. All are welcome to attend. Please register via the link by 10 June 2022.



Anna Di Biase


Jakob v. H. Holtermann

Martin Christensen

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