Second Conference on Gross National Happiness and the LawSecond Conference on Gross National Happiness and the Law

(November 11-13, 2020)

Coinciding with 65th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme SingyeWangchuck, and to mark the 12th Constitution Day and GNG Day, JSW School of Law (JSW Law) convened a three-day international conference titled “ Gross National Happiness and Law”.The conference speakers and participants where scholars from across Bhutan as well from Asia, North America and Europe, all of whom attended via videoconferencing.  The Speakers presented and deliberated on the core characteristics of GNH in light of the different legal theories, philosophies and principles.  The scholars discussed a range of tripartite interdisciplinary approaches to research, such as examination of relationship between development-happiness-law, environment-happiness-law, governance-happiness-law, and following similar broad themes, constructed from the four pillars of GNG:

  1. Sustainable Socio-Economic Development &Law.
  2. Good Governance &Law.
  3. Environment &Law.
  4. Culture, Religion & Law.

Public law, Legal Orders & Governance conference – Part IIPublic law, Legal Orders & Governance conference – Part II

This is the second instalment of a two-part conference jointly organized by Jigme SingyeWangchuck School of Law (JSW Law) in Bhutan and the University of Victoria’s Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI) and Faculty of Law (UVic Law) (conference part I). The overall goal of this second conference that emerged from the first is to consider—through the lens of public law and regulation—how legal pluralism expresses itself in a global context.

This conference, and the collections of essays and articles that will emerge from it, recognize that not all law is state law. We explore how norms emerging from non-state legal orders, including transnational standards, religious and customary norms, and private codes interact with state and international law and politics to regulate local, regional, and global challenges—challenges arising from globalization in all its dimensions. In exploring these questions, we approach the challenge of regulating globalization through an interdisciplinary lens, drawing on research and scholarly perspectives in history, anthropology, political science, religion, environmental studies, and law to better understand the interactions among normative systems, including state legal orders, and the challenges and promise arising from a multiplicity of legal orders.

We also acknowledge that there is much to be gained in turning to the diverse experiences and practices of many parts of Asia, with its long history of legal pluralism. In pursuing these questions, we recognize a deep disenchantment with states as the source of inspiration and action in addressing the challenges of our time—and, indeed, the perilous rise of an increasingly toxic form of xenophobia nationalism. Although not all of the contributors to this conference are optimistic about the ability of legal orders, broadly understood, to mitigate the harsher effects of globalization, many still hold out a hope of re-enchantment—that we might, by thinking creatively about law’s promise, find a way to mobilize law and multi-layered forms of legal ordering to find a way out of some of the planet’s most confounding predicaments.

Conference on “Public Law, Legal Orders & Governance: Regulating Globalisation in Asia”Conference on “Public Law, Legal Orders & Governance: Regulating Globalisation in Asia”

JSW School of Law and University of Victoria 

Thimphu, Bhutan

17-19 July 2019

JSW School of Law (JSW Law) is pleased to partner with University of Victoria (UVic) to present an international research conference on “Public Law, Legal Orders & Governance: Regulating Globalisation in Asia” from 17-19 July 2019. This three-day conference is a part of the project which resulted from an institutional collaboration between UVic and JSW Law, along with four other institutions in Asia (in India, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam) that developed through a Queen Elizabeth II Scholarships-Advanced Scholars (QES-AS) grant awarded to the Faculty of Law and the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI) in 2017 for a project entitled Regulating Globalization in South and Southeast Asia.

It is increasingly apparent that many modern states are unable or unwilling on their own to regulate and mitigate the harsher effects of economic globalization. Networked economies have accelerated the movement of people, goods, ideas, and capital—with mixed effects. Although millions in the global South have been lifted out of poverty, with significant improvements to health, education, and gender equality, many states, particularly low- and middle-income countries, are finding it increasingly difficult to use tools of modern statecraft to control the latest wave of globalization, including its detrimental effects on public health and safety, community cohesion, and the natural environment. This holds true in South and Southeast Asia, where unprecedented development and economic growth are affecting all sectors of social, cultural and political life.

Along with states, a variety of actors have emerged to respond to these large-scale global changes. International organizations, private corporations, religious institutions, and other non-state and hybrid actors for example, have taken on increasing roles in providing standards, rules and practices that other actors adopt in areas such as the environment, labour practices, development and security.

This project seeks to examine such responses and potential solutions to the abovementioned challenges, by exploring the multitude of actors that engage in intergovernmental networks, transnational regulation, and global governance, through formal and informal legal means, and the variety of non-statist normative constraints on governments and non-state actors. This research project will also examine these forms of legal ordering by deploying a range of interdisciplinary lenses, including historical, comparative, ethnographic, theoretical, and normative approaches to the study of legal pluralism and the constraint of power.

This project focuses specifically on the issues relating to global environmental crisis, sustainable development, as well as the role of religion and regulation, and new forms and understandings of constitutionalism in South and Southeast Asia.