BACL Newsletter 2020-21

In this newsletter, we look back at an extraordinary academic year. It is striking that among many uncertainties and difficulties, BACL as an institution grew stronger. It has reached new audiences online and provides an increasingly popular platform for discussion and dissemination of comparative law research. We will strive to make it continue, and let this be the place to extend our warm thanks to those who helped in one way or another with the BACL activities this year. Our thanks also go to Annette Nordhausen Scholes, BACL Chair in 2017-2020, for leaving the house in such good order.

Dr Yseult Marique, Professor Claudina Richards and Dr Sophie Turenne (BACL Committee)


Welcome to Dr Sophie Turenne, elected as Chair on 10th of September 2020. Sophie is a Lecturer in Law at Cambridge University and an Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law. She has research interests in comparative law in Europe (esp. legal reasoning, judicial studies) and she is currently drafting, with others, EU model rules on judicial independence. She hopes to develop academic activities that will make BACL attractive to a wide range of lawyers and will enable BACL reps to develop their research and research network within BACL.

Welcome also to two new BACL reps, Dr Sabrina Germain (City Law School) and Dr Luca Siliquini-Cinelli  (Dundee University). They were quick to contribute to our blog: Dr Germain introduced her newly published monograph on  Justice and Profit in Health Care Law : A Comparative Analysis of the United States and United Kingdom and Dr Siliquini-Cinelli wrote a post reflecting on his experience since he took part in the BACL PhD Workshop in 2011.


BACL nominated one institutional reporter and 22 UK national reporters from all levels of seniority to act as national reporters for the IACL 2022 Congress.

Overall, more than 1,000 national reporters have been selected by the Academy over 36 topics. More information is available here.


  • Annual Seminar 2020 – Comparative law and climate change

The 2020 Annual Seminar was dedicated to climate change, with four excellent presentations, featuring:

  • Dr Benoit Mayer (Chinese University of Hong Kong) Climate Assessment as a Transnational Trend
  • Dr. Catherine Caine (University of Exeter) The Obstacles Facing Habitat Protection in Offshore Renewable Energy
  • Mr. Ivano Alogna (BIICL) Climate Change Litigation: Global Perspectives 
  • Dr. Alice Venn (University of Exeter) Climate Change, Displacement, and Small Island Developing States: Strengthening rights-based responses.

The recordings for each presentation are available here.

  • Online book discussions

BACL organised for the first time two online discussions:

  • The first discussion, on 10th September 2020, was dedicated to Dr Myriam Hunter-Henin’s book Why Religious Freedom Matters for Democracy. Comparative Reflections from Britain and France for a Democratic Vivre Ensemble. Political discussions, particularly in France, continue to make this a timely topic. An account of the discussion is available online, and the recording of the discussions is available here. The event was chaired by Dr Uta Staiger (European Institute, UCL). Professor Stéphanie Hennette-Vauchez (Paris Nanterre), Professor Philippe Marlière (UCL) and Professor Colm O’Cinneide (UCL) acted as discussants.
  • The second online discussion, dedicated to Comparative Torts, was spurred by the publication, in 2019, of the fifth edition of Markesinis’ magisterial German Law of Torts (1986), by Professor John Bell (Cambridge) and Professor André Janssen (Radboud). Professor Jean-Sébastien Borghetti (Panthéon-Assas); Professor Jonas Knetsch (now Panthéon-Sorbonne), Professor Ulrich Magnus (Hamburg), Dr Colm McGrath (King’s College London) and Professor Gerhard Wagner (Berlin) discussed Liability for Emerging Technologies (29th March 2021) and Professor David Howarth (Cambridge), Professor Jonas Knetsch (now Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Professor Simon Taylor (Paris Nanterre) discussed Liability for Ecological Harmthe following day (30th March 2021). Both discussions were very well attended, with nearly 200 colleagues from all over the world registering for them. These fantastic discussions can be watched again by following this link and an account of the discussions is also available online.
  • PhD workshop

We are grateful to Professor Paula Giliker (Bristol) for the smooth organization of our first PhD Workshop online. The first session concerned Comparative Public Law and Methodology (14th April 2021) and the second session Comparative Private Law (21st April 2021). Professor Giliker and Dr Turenne shared thoughts about comparative law methodology before participants introduced and discussed a wide range of research topics.

We are grateful to Ann-Christin Maak-Scherpe (general manager, Intersentia) for sharing insights and tips into publishing. Dr Margo Bernelin (CNRS), who herself attended the Kent PhD Workshop in 2012, enthusiastically shared her experience of comparative research since she took part in that Workshop.

We were also glad that senior colleagues attended the Workshop and provided feedback to the participants, with our thanks in particular to Professor Gerhard Dannemann (Berlin), Dr Sirko Harder (Sussex) and Professor Claudina Richards (UEA).

An account of the PhD workshop is available here.

  • Blog posts

The blog received more than 30 contributions this year on a wide range of topics. Blog posts discussed Covid-19 legal issues from a comparative perspective as well as freedom of speech in a time of online communication and climate change. Blog post contributors also reported on research projects involving comparative law research on Asia, Egypt, Europe, South Africa and the USA, among others. Events of interest to comparative lawyers have also be reported on, giving insights on the lively debates about, e.g. comparisons within the common law world (here) and the benefit of an historical perspective to comparative law (here).


  • Annual Seminar 2021

The 2021 Annual Seminar is dedicated to The Regulation of Hate Speech Online and its Enforcement in a Comparative Perspective. It will be held online on 31 August 2021 at 9:30 am BST. 

Chairs: Dr Oliver Butler (Oxford University) and Dr Sophie Turenne (Cambridge University)

• Dr Ge Chen (Durham University)
• Dr Peter Coe (University of Reading)
• Professor Thomas Hochmann (Paris Nanterre)
• Professor Mathias Hong (Hochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung Kehl)
• Professor Andrew Kenyon and Dr Anjalee de Silva (University of Melbourne)
• Professor Uta Kohl (Southampton University)
• Dr Jacob Rowbottom (Oxford University)

Registration to this Seminar can be done by clicking on this link.

  • 2022 PhD workshop in Kent

The 2022 PhD Workshop will take place at the University of Kent, exactly ten years after the workshop was hosted by Kent Law School! More information will follow in early 2022.

  • 2022 Online discussion on AI and justice

We are in the process of arranging an online webinar with Dr Margo Bernelin on the topic of online dispute resolution in a comparative perspective. We expect this webinar to take place in March 2022.


  • Next Annual Meeting is scheduled on 17th September 2021 (12.30-2pm).
  • Call for interest: BACL welcomes expressions of interest of reps to join the Committee in the capacity of Treasurer. Please feel free to contact Dr Sophie Turenne with any queries you may have on this.
  • BACL also welcomes expressions of interests from reps to organise the PhD Workshop in 2023.
  • As ever, any suggestions to contribute a blog post or a blog series are gratefully received. Please email your suggestions to
  • Please do consider following the blog by clicking here. You will then be able to follow all our events and will receive approximatively one email per week during term time about comparative law developments among a wide range of areas of the law. An excellent way to provide comparative law illustrations for any modules you might be teaching!