Critical Legal Conference 2023

calendar 09:00 Monday, 11 September 2023 to 17:00 Wednesday, 13 September 2023
Durham Law School will host the Critical Legal Conference 2023. Since its first annual meeting in 1986, the Critical Legal Conference (CLC) has been a key site for the critical study of legal and political questions both in Britain and internationally. It attracts a wide range of radical legal and political thinkers from across the globe.

Sanctuary has multiple meanings. Durham, host city of the CLC2023, is through its history closely tied to many of these meanings. It is important to us as organisers to root the conference in Durham as a place of sanctuary, to make our travel and our gathering in person worthwhile and meaningful. As such, our theme and call for streams is directly built on Durham and its history.

For centuries, Durham was the seat of both spiritual and secular power through the rule of the Prince-Bishops. This small town in the North of England did not only have an important cathedral and divine jurisdiction but was given, in exchange for the defence of England against the Scottish, its own legal jurisdiction. The idea of sanctuary played an important part in the history of Durham but has also been continuously subverted here. Its ambivalence becomes most obvious when standing on Palace Green, in the centre of the peninsula where Durham was first built: A cathedral opposite a castle, overlooking a prison; places of safety and imprisonment, with terrible crimes hidden behind high walls. Durham University, one of the oldest in the country, is only a stone-throw away; it, too, has a complex relation to sanctuary. Later in the 19th century, Durham then became a centre for the rise of the trade union movement, a new power of the collective. Trade unions, their institutions and events, such as the Miners’ Gala, have offered a different kind of sanctuary in modern times.

We invite you to join us in thinking with and against the idea of sanctuary, wherever and however it occurs. This might involve critical engagement with the figure and treatment of the sanctuary seeker, as, for example, represented by refugees and migrants. Similarly, we are interested to hear about places of refuge, whether physical or spiritual, such as biblical cities of refuge, intellectual refuges or safe/unsafe spaces. We would also welcome streams or panels that adopt our approach but not our focus, telling other stories by tracing concepts though time in a certain place. We would also welcome you to reflect on the idea of sanctuary and its related notions more abstractly, subverting or even rejecting our theme. We particularly welcome streams or panels which challenge the usual conference format and offer other ways to maximise the usefulness of our time together.

This year’s CLC will be co-organised by Johanna Jacques and Henry Jones. Submissions for streams should be sent to Henry at,  by 28th April 2023.

Sanctuary Photo Essay (Screen Reader Optimised)

Call for Papers

The call for papers is now open. Please submit your abstract (max. 350 words) responding to the call of one of the individual streams listed below, or alternatively, to the general stream (stream 16).

Papers will typically consist of a 15-minute presentation, which will be grouped together with 3 or 4 other presenations within 90-minute panels. However, we are open to alternative formats (some streams expressly call for these), so feel free to propose something different. Let the stream convenors know if you need any particular resources and we will try to make these available.

The deadline for submitting abstracts is 30 June 2023. Please note that the conference is intended to be in-person.

For any questions, please contact the conference organisers, Henry Jones and Johanna Jacques.

Stream 1 - A Sanctuary or a retreat towards a praxis of critical conferencing

Stream 2 - Contemporary critiques of rights

Stream 3 - Speculative legal theory in tmes of technoecological crises

Stream 4 - Speculative data sanctuaries or save me from my data

Stream 5 - Limit, transformation, imagination - honouring the legacy of Drucilla Cornell

Stream 6 - Mediation, postestas and jurisfiction

Stream 7 - Sanctuary, law and art

Stream 8 - School as a sanctuary for the youngest

Stream 9 - Constitutions as sanctuary - Global feminist constitutionalism

Stream 10 - Fanfictions of law

Stream 11 - Equality law as a santuary - Examinations from colonial, post colonial and social

Stream 12 - Critical theory and praxis in EU law

Stream 13 - Property as haven - sanctuary or escape

Stream 14 - The quasi-frozen sanctuary

Stream 15 - Cultural theories of protest and its policing

Stream 16 - General stream


Critical Legal Conference 2023


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