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"International Law: Between spaces and territories" – An IDETCOM symposium

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from October 5, 2017 to October 6, 2017
8:30 am

Université Toulouse 1 Capitole
Manufacture des Tabacs
Amphithéâtre Guy Isaac (MI V)
21, allée de Brienne
31042 Toulouse Cedex 9

This symposium, organised by IDETCOM, a specialized laboratory of the Toulouse-Capitole Law Faculty, aims at drawing up an inventory of the deficiencies of the current international legal framework and means to open some of the perspectives likely to contribute to improving it.



The globalising trend of the last three decades considerably undermined the geographical and sectorial borders. The resurgence of States and national sovereignties once more highlights the full extent of the problem. National territories have become too narrow for an adequate application of the law; challenges are global, starting with environmental protection; scientific progress is opening up new digital as well as outer spaces. A deep-seated malaise is prevailing. Beyond the problem of designing new rules, better adapted to new times, we need to renew the concepts, the approach and the methodology of law altogether. International law is no exception, as evidenced by the limitations of the treaties ruling international legal affairs; these deficiencies together with the growing powerlessness of many international organisations definitely demonstrate how critical these deep changes are. 

The symposium does not propose to undertake a general reflection about the international legal framework that would be illustrated by examples; it calls for an in-depth analysis of the current problems through case studies carried out in thematic workshops that will enable us to pinpoint a number of general directions.

It must be stressed that the States, who have been the founding actors of international law, remain, through their political, socio-economic or military duties, the key organisers of the physical and geographical spaces. But today, not only does their national sovereignty meet with the extraterritorial application of national laws, but they also have to face new and growingly difficult challenges. These challenges are all generated by the use of new spaces created by the digital revolution intrinsic to the development of outer space activities. Territories, as the traditional areas where the sovereignty is expressed and implemented, are now confronted to migration flows of an unprecedented scale (wars, economy, climate). The rationale to be addressed during the two-day symposium is based on a new approach to the notion of national « territory (ies) », in connection with the « space(s )» opened by technical progress.


Isabelle GELIS

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Institute in Space, Territories and Communication Law (IDETCOM)

Date of update September 20, 2017

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Toulouse 1 Capitole (UT1) is a teaching and research centre of international excellence for law, economics and management. We are proud to have Jean Tirole, the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economy among our lecturer-researchers. In 2012, it was awarded the "Jean-Monnet Centre of Excellence" label by the European Commission.

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