Listening in the carbon majors inquiry hearings

Today was the last day of the hearings of the Philippine Human Rights Commission’s inquiry into the responsibility of major carbon emitting companies for human rights violations in response to a petition filed by a group of Filipino citizens and civil rights organizations.

I was sitting in the hearings yesterday and today in the LSE moot court room, which was packed to the brim. My interest was mainly in law-science transposition, particularly in arguments about scientific attribution and legal causation in the framework of ‘scales’, which was the topic of an earlier workshop that I had organised: since the publication of Richard Heede’s 2014 report about tracing back anthropogenic carbondioxide and methane emission to major carbon producing companies, there have been attempts to link questions of legal accountability to such attribution of emission through litigation.  Interestingly, as Dr Myles Allen, the co-author of the 2018 IPCC Report of 1.5 degrees, has also noted today, there has been no dispute about the scientific validity and truth value of ‘science’. ‘Science’ and its methodology was left very much untested or unopened by the Commission.

The expert and witness opinions also made me think of the heterogenous elements which materialise ‘law’: location of the hearings (New York, London, and live streamed archived in the www); technologies of bringing the matter together; issues of law’s mobility, mobilisation of networks; the discursive construction of legal matters, which have the ability to materialise something which is not visible, such as global warming; the difficulty of establishing a legal matter despite real, physical, material harm as told in the powerful testimonies of typhoon survivors. There were also simultaneous fluidity and disclaimer brackets between disciplinary expertise.

Concise info and timeline of this ‘law in the making’ is here:

Currently reading and writing…

… for a new piece on a non-patent and non-science (although different media formats remain important) topic which I had been fascinated by five years ago until the uni workload took over and I could not continue. This time I will finish it. The paper proposal was selected for inclusion to be discussed at the ISHTIP in Rome in July, so having a deadline helps. It is going to analyse compositional practices in (classical) music and argue for an understanding of creativity as a homage and malleable, inverted tradition. I came to this topic by being introduced to Richard Beaudoin, a composer, through Alain Pottage back then. Richard composes music as beautiful as it is intellectually intricate and technologically multi-layered and sophisticated.  Meeting over a coffee and talking about copyright and music, I was struck when he said that when he was composing his Microtiming pieces, he was paying homage to past composers (e.g. Debussy) and great performers (Argerich). Inspired by Richard’s rich yet delicate compositions and the baroque inversions and references in Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia, I will explore the notions of homage, indebtedness, tradition and inheritance in relation to property.  It makes me very happy to reconnect to my old me and musical life, which I had not been able to somehow integrate into my academic work. Reading and thinking about scores and words at the same time, and listening: an analytical and emotional homecoming.

ASLCH 2018 Programme at Georgetown Law is available now

I am serving as the chair of this year’s programme committee of the Association of Law,Culture and Humanities Annual Meeting at Georgetown Law in March 2018. Doing the programming was a labour of patience and perseverance which I could not have done without my colleague, Connal Parsley, who is serving with me on this year’s LCH annual meeting programme committee and his wonderful partner, Rossella Buono, who hosted and fed me on the dark winter night whilst we were waging through piles of paper. Reading through the rich variety of paper and panel submissions, thinking of their fit, and devising panel names were the most rewarding parts of the task.  Clicking, copy and pasting data from google mail into word and spreadsheet – probably involving thousand clicks  – were less fun. Solving the puzzle of equating two digit number restraints and conditions for timetabling was a challenge I enjoyed. But after this experience, in which I learned how much it actually takes to organise such a large-scale event, it made me appreciate and be really really grateful for all the hard work of many people behind the scene for making such big meetings happen and make it look so facile.

Here is version 2.0 of the draft programme.

And many of us from the Legal Materiality research network will be there, talking about our work.

ERC PASSIM Patents as Scientific Information Project kicks off

I am looking out to beautiful snowy landscape and roofs in Norrkoeping  hosted by the formidable Eva Hemmungs Wirten of Linkoeping University, kicking off the ERC PASSIM ‘Patents as Scientific Information’ Advanced Grant Project (website:  – scheduled to go live very soon).

We are here for three days discussing our individual projects, the overall direction and events for the next five years, and all the number of questions and issues that arise in the context of running a large scale project such as this one.

There will be nine projects as part of PASSIM: overall PI’s Eva Hemmungs Wirten’s lead project on ‘Patent Trails: The Law and Order of Information’; my colleague at Kent Law School and copyright afficianado, Jose Bellido‘s project on ‘Copyright in Patents’; Bjoern Hammarfelt‘s (Boras University) ‘Patents and the Invention of Scientific Citations,’ a study of the knowledge relationship between information science and patents; and the Nobel Museum’s Gustav Kallstrom‘s project on Patents and the Nobel Prize.
At our ‘home base’, Linkoeping University Norrkoeping Campus, Johanna Dahlin‘s examination of ‘Soviet patents and Secrecy’ and Martin Fredriksson‘s project on ‘Patents as Global (In)Justice’, Mattis Karlsson, a PhD student at Linkoeping University’s  Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, as well as the recruitment of a new PhD student, complete our team.

The open welcome, style of consultation and hospitality by our Swedish team members have been striking, it is such a privilege and pleasure to be here.

Workshop ‘Approaching Law’s Matters’, 22/9

Please see for details and programme of our 22 September workshop here:

I am really looking forward to this informal, but hopefully intense, proper working-workshop with precirculated texts.

It is wonderful to see the conversation from last year’s Paris workshop on textuality and new materialities being continued ( and broadened by learning from colleagues conducting fascinating work in other disciplines than law.

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