Call for Papers

We look forward to welcoming you in New Zealand, on 3–5 July 2023 for our ICON•S Annual Conference on “Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World.” The conference will take place in person in Wellington, hosted by the Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington and its New Zealand Centre for Public Law.

For the 2023 conference, we are delighted to offer funding for ICON•S members facing financial hardship, up to USD$2,000 per person. The deadline to apply for funding is 16 January 2023. More information is available here. You can submit your funding application by clicking here.

The First Submission Cycle is Open!

To facilitate the travel plans for persons needing early confirmation, we will have two submission cycles according to the timeline below:


First Submission Cycle

Second Submission Cycle


13 Dec. 2022

early February 2023


31 Jan. 2023

20 Mar. 2023


5 Feb. 2023

27 Mar. 2023

We encourage you to make your submission as soon as you are ready so you can start making your travel arrangements.

We will welcome submissions in every area of public law, and we invite participants to refer to the ICON•S Mission Statement when choosing a topic or approach for their paper(s) or panel(s).

2023 Conference Theme, Keynote, and Plenary Speakers

The plenary program at the 2023 ICON•S Annual Conference will focus on “Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World”.

The Pacific Ocean covers one‑third of the Earth’s surface. By various estimates, the island nations of the Pacific are home to somewhere between one‑quarter and one‑third of the world’s languages and cultures. Although relatively small in number, the peoples of this region are therefore enormously diverse. Yet they are bound together, as much as they are separated, by the vast Pacific Ocean. For over a thousand years, seafarers have undertaken epic voyages of the Pacific Ocean for discovery, trade, and social exchange.

The Pacific region must therefore be seen as both islands and ocean—neither possible without the other, and both essential as mediums of interaction. These material conditions have in turn given rise to particular forms of public law ordering, both constitutional and international.

We take advantage of this unique setting to draw attention to a broad range of interrelated issues, under the expansive theme of “Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World”.

Invoking the Tongan anthropologist Epeli Hau’ofa’s conceptualization of the Pacific as a “sea of islands”, this theme helps to focus attention on concerns which are distinctive, though certainly not exclusive, to the Pacific region. These include the preservation of the natural environment, the effects of climate change—most dramatically manifested in rising sea levels—and the roles and rights of Indigenous peoples and cultures. In this connection, the theme resonates with a view of public law “from below”—from the global South, subaltern and Indigenous groups.

The idea of “Island and Ocean” also work as a metaphor of the legal framework of transnational public law, where common waters, made of principles and shared values, are the host of a multitude of islands, where diverse identities flourish. The imagery of “Islands and Ocean” also carries more abstract and symbolic potential, connoting a series of complementary relationships intrinsic to public law: the material and the ideal, rules and discretion, the particular and the universal, unity in diversity. Drawing on this imagery, we would welcome submissions reflecting a plurality of public law approaches, with the aim of identifying the archipelagos, currents, and constellations that will help to navigate the troubled waters of contemporary domestic and international ordering.

The conference theme also invites (re‑)consideration of a variety of other topics and approaches that are of ongoing and widespread interest in public law, including but not limited to questions of legal pluralism, constitutional conventions and custom, alternative approaches to rights protection, comparative constitutional law and institutional design, and political versus legal constitutionalism, among others.

Reflecting these issues and approaches, our plenary panels will be organised around three main topics: plural responses to the climate crisis, Indigenous rights and self-governance, and pluralism and change in unwritten constitutions.

Keynote speakers will include:

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (to be confirmed)
  • Brian Tamanaha, Washington University

Plenary speakers will include:

  • Maria Bargh, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Claire Charters, University of Auckland
  • Lee Godden, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Carwyn Jones, Te Wānanga o Raukawa
  • Aileen Kavanagh, Trinity College Dublin
  • Heron Loban, Griffith University
  • Janet McLean, University of Auckland
  • Salvador Millaleo, Universidad de Chile
  • César Rodríguez Garavito, New York University
  • Tamasailau Suaalii, University of Auckland
  • Justice Joe Williams, Supreme Court of New Zealand

In addition to the plenary panels, the ICON•S Annual Conference will continue our traditions of holding the Women’s Reception and the LBGTQ+ Reception.


Submissions may, but need not necessarily, relate to the overarching Conference theme. We will have five types of submissions: individual submissions, fully formed panels, book roundtables, forums, and interest groups. You do not need to submit written papers. Submissions will generally include a title and an abstract of up to 250 words. We encourage the submission of fully formed panels and book roundtables.

Please note that each participant may present no more than 2 papers (whether sole-authored or co-authored) and may participate – as presenter, chair, discussant – in no more than 4 panels, providing that it is possible to schedule the panels in a way that accommodates all 4 panels to which a participant plans to contribute. The participation as a convenor in interest groups or as a speaker in a forum counts toward the general limit.

  • Fully-formed panel proposals and book roundtables should include between three and five presentations by participants who have agreed in advance to give their presentations. In addition, each panel must have a chair and may have one or more discussant(s). The panel chair can also be a speaker, though it is not necessary. In total, no more than seven persons can be part of the panel (including co-authors, discussants, speakers, and the chair panel). The panel must be formed in accordance with the Society’s commitment to gender balance. Below you need to enter the panel title, identify the type of panel (book roundtable or normal fully-formed panel), a description of the panel, and information about the panel chair, the speakers, and -if applicable- the discussants. For each speaker, you need to add the title of his or her presentation; individual abstracts are not required. Please add all the panel members’ email addresses separately in the relevant field.

The email address associated with each panel participant’s ICON•S membership and/or Conference registration should also be provided. You will also need to provide a panel description and a panel title. Each presentation should have an individual title (if applicable), and individual abstracts are not required. Submit your fully-formed panel or book roundtable by clicking here.

  • We also welcome individual submissions on any subject related to the Conference theme or to public law in general. Individual paper submissions must be in English. After the paper submission is confirmed, it will become part of a panel assembled by ICON•S. No actual paper drafts are required for the Conference. Submit your individual presentation here

Interest Groups and Forums

An ICON•S Interest Group (or Working Group) consists of a group of scholars hoping to build deeper connections with a view to future collaboration on research and engagement on a particular theme. The key aim of an Interest Group is to enhance the capacity of ICON•S to serve as a forum for supporting cross-national and inter-disciplinary research both at our conferences and beyond. Currently, eight interest groups assemble under the ICON-S roof; these include the Interest Group on Africa as well as Interest Groups on: Informal Judicial Institutions; the Separation of Powers; Art, Heritage, Law, and Economics; Digital Constitutionalism; Global Data Law; The Right to Health in Turbulent Times; Disinformation and attacks on the 2022 Elections in Brazil.

To submit a proposal for an Interest Group, a convener must submit the following information: full name, email address, and institutional affiliation of the convener, the title of the Interest Group, a description of the purpose of the Interest Group no longer than 250 words, any plans you have for the group (i.e. joint conferences or publications, specific projects to be pursued by group members, etc.). Interest Group proposals may be submitted at this link.

ICON•S also hosts forums, which are scholarly gatherings of at least twelve (12) persons who commit to discussing a scholarly subject chosen by the forum’s convener. Please note that the composition of the forums should reflect the values of equality, diversity, and inclusion embedded within the history, tradition, and Mission of ICON•S. Forums differ from ordinary panels in two respects: (1) there will be no presentation of papers; and (2) the convener of the forum may assign materials to be read in advance. The convener will be responsible for circulating assigned materials prior to the Conference. To submit a proposal for a forum, a convener must submit the following information: (1) the full name, email address, and institutional affiliation of the convener, (2) the title of the forum, (3) an abstract of no longer than 250 words, (4) names and Institutional affiliation of potential participants of the forum.  It is advisable that pre-confirmations are taken from a critical mass of scholars to participate in the forum before submitting an application. You can submit a proposal for a forum here.

How can I submit my proposal?

You must submit your proposal on Oxford Abstracts, a web platform we use to receive and manage all submissions. When you click on the submission’s links, you will be directed to the Oxford Abstract website, where you will either need to create an account or log in via Google or LinkedIn. Please, make sure to consider the instructions of this Call for Papers and Panels before making a submission. If you are ready to submit your proposal, click on the following links:

  1. Fully Formed Panels and Book Roundtable – Click here

  2. Individual Submissions – Click here

  3. Forum Submissions – Click here

  4. Interest Group Submissions – Click here

What if one of the speakers cannot attend in person?

The 2023 Annual ICON•S Conference will be in-person, with the limited exception mentioned below. We will not have online panels, nor will we stream on-site panels. Everyone submitting individual abstracts and panels should aim to present their papers in Wellington in-person.

We will allow fully-formed panels and book roundtables submitted in advance to have a limited number of speakers joining remotely, according to the following rules: the chair of each panel must attend in-person. If required, the chair will also be asked to become the panel’s online host. Panels will not be streamed online. For panels of 4 and 5 members, one speaker can attend remotely. For panels of 6 members, two speakers can attend remotely.

Can I propose a panel in a language other than English?

We generally encourage submissions to be in English. Interest groups, forums, and individual submissions must be in English. However, as part of the vision of a truly global Conference that invites new members to join together in conversation, we invite submissions for fully-formed panels and book roundtables in any language. Submissions in languages other than English must include at least one-panel participant willing and able to translate questions and responses to and from English. Scholars who wish to propose a fully-formed non-English panel or a book roundtable must submit the proposal in English, include an English-language title, and identify the language of the panel (e.g., Korean, Spanish, Chinese, German, etc.) in the title, using parenthesis, e.g., “Judicial Review in Emergency Regimes (Italian).”

Who can attend the Annual Conference?

ICON•S is not restricted to public lawyers nor to established scholars. We welcome proposals that offer multi-disciplinary perspectives from various areas of law (including civil, criminal, tax, and labor law), as well as from scholars in the humanities and the social sciences (e.g., history, economics, political science, sociology) with interest in the Conference’s themes. We also welcome submissions from senior and junior scholars (including doctoral students) and interested practitioners.

To submit individual abstracts, fully-formed panels, forums, book roundtables, or interest groups you must have an active ICON•S membership. Make sure to update your membership by clicking here. If you do not have an ICON•S account, you can create an account by clicking here. Submissions from ICON•S members are presumed to be accepted. If necessary, we may ask you to revise your abstract. In any event, you will receive a formal confirmation according to the timetable described above.

We offer different kinds of membership, including discounted membership for new members as well as scholars from non-OECD countries and emerging scholars; all of them allow you to make submissions. To learn about our membership levels, click here. An ICON•S membership includes eligibility to attend our Annual Conference, the right to vote in our elections, and to participate in activities organized for members only. If you are unable to purchase a membership due to either legal restrictions or financial hardship, please contact us at

Make sure to get your New Zealand visa on time

If you need a VISA to travel to New Zealand, make sure to apply on time! More information about Visas is available here and here. For questions about Visas, please direct them by email to

Make the most of your trip to New Zealand!

Scholars traveling to New Zealand may also be interested in participating in the annual meetings of the Australia and New Zealand Society of International Law (ANZSIL) and the Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy.

The ANZSIL conference will take place at the Victoria University of Wellington from 29 June 2023 to 1 July 2023. Learn more here.

The annual conference of the Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy will take place at the University of Auckland from 6-7 July 2023. Learn more here.

New Zealand also offers plenty of tourist attractions. Further tourism opportunities for ICON•S  members will be offered in due course. Stay tuned!

Anti-Harassment Policy

We draw your attention to the ICON•S anti-harassment policy, which includes avenues for assistance and redress. This policy applies to all ICON•S programs, including both the in-person and virtual components of this Annual Conference.

You may download this Call for Papers and Panels here (PDF). Answers to frequently asked questions can be found on our FAQ page.

For any inquiries regarding the 2023 ICON•S Annual Conference, including technical queries about the submission system, please contact us via email:

We look forward to receiving your submission – and to seeing you in Wellington!

Conference Organizing Committee

Richard Albert, Gráinne De Búrca, Gustavo Buss, Marta Cartabia, Lorenzo Casini, Sabino Cassese, Joel Colon-Rios, Rosalind Dixon, Luke Fitzmaurice, Morgan Godfery, Claudia Golden, Michaela Hailbronner, Ran Hirschl, Dean Knight, Marnie Lloyd, Erik Longo, Juan Sebastián López, Alicia Mangana Rios, Kate McCool, Stefano Osella, Irene Parra Prieto, Anna Pirri Valentini, Marianne Poehls Risco, Evan Rosevear, Amal Sethi, Guy Fiti Sinclair, Sergio Verdugo, Etienne Wain, Joseph Weiler, Ruiping Ye, Michelle Zang