Annual NILG conference 2017

Where: West-Indisch Huis, Herenmarkt 99, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

When: Friday, 01 December 2017

Law & Governance Taking a Technocratic Turn?

The Future of Law & Technocratic Regulation by Standardisation, Certification, Accreditation & Normalisation (‘SCAN’)

You can download the programme and abstracts here.

Globalisation, privatisation and technological advancement have given rise to a regulatory approach featuring technocratic regulation. A post-political and universalist regulatory consensus has emerged, driven by needs of global supply-chains, world-wide interconnected markets, an increase in use of market- and performance-based regulatory instruments, and (big data) digitalisation and Technocratisation; against a backdrop of continued outsourcing of government regulation. Standardisation, Certification, Accreditation & Normalisation (henceforth ‘SCAN’) signify this trend, originating particularly in the functional areas of law, such as product-safety, food, energy, construction, air traffic, health and ICT. Meanwhile, codifications and general principles of private and public law are increasingly being eclipsed or even ‘hollowed-out’ by a fragmented landscape of technocratic-functional regulation.

While the appeal of technocratic regulation lies mainly in effectiveness & efficiency, its universalist, post-political character has given rise to concerns about legitimacy, particularly on procedural and substantive justice. Procedural concepts of private and community autonomy and recognition by engaging regional, national and subnational polities, are challenged by meritocratic reliance on science rather than on democratic law-making. Substantive justice concerns exist over equal sharing of burdens and benefits from regulatory trade-offs that follow from the opacity of a de facto law making process in distant epistemic communities. All of which is aggravated by the almost tacit adoption by legislators, regulators, courts, and by private self-regulation, such as under meta-regulation and in contractual networks, of this technocratic, transnational and private normative offspring, impacting legal relations even at the most local levels under the most individual conditions.

‘SCAN’ plays a particular role in different modes of governance. In ‘public hierarchies’, we find that governments design and implement SCAN to serve public interests, but with major questions about legitimacy on adherence to the rule of law, democracy and the influence of private and transnational regulation (hollowing-out state power). In ‘competitive markets’, SCAN plays a major role in B2C and B2B relations in service of private interests, with parties at both sides seeking to overcome gaps or asymmetries in information and proper functioning of supply-chains, but with questions about how SCAN relates to the demands of trade, competition and consumer law. In ‘civil society’, NGOs, communities and networks are in pursuit of fostering community and social values, such as by the use of SCAN, as a matter of self-determination and to take distance from and/or to influence the ‘globalist’ behaviour of governments and of business, but issues rise about their inclusiveness, stakeholder-involvement and regulatory capture.

The conference is organized around a combination of three leading questions:

– How does the ‘technocratic turn’ in regulation, particularly through SCAN-instruments, play out in governance; do we have proper evidence of this technocratic turn?

– What role does law currently play and should law play in future to balance SCAN’s benefits & opportunities with its burdens & threats? 

– What does the ‘technocratic turn’ mean for the related law and governance scholarship?

These and other questions will be addressed at the 9th Annual Conference of the Netherlands Institute for Law and Governance (NILG): ‘Law & Governance Taking a Technocratic Turn? The Future of Law & Technocratic Regulation by Standardisation, Certification, Accreditation & Normalisation (‘SCAN’)’. Organised by the chair in Law, Governance & Technology at the University of Twente, the conference takes place in Amsterdam (West-Indisch Huis) on Friday, 01 December 2017. It is structured in three plenary sessions and three parallel sessions: (1) ‘SCAN in Competitive Markets’, (2) ‘SCAN in Public Hierarchy’, and (3) ‘SCAN in Civil Society

You can download the programme and abstracts here.

Registration & payment is possible here. *

Conference Fees per person:

– NILG Members and students: € 70,00
– Judiciary, academic personnel, government: € 100,00
– All others: € 250,00

Fees include lunch, coffee/tea, and documents provided (Excluding VAT 21%)

* Registration requires immediate on-line payment. Should this be a problem, do get in touch with us: b.vandalm-grobben@utwente.nl