Sir Jeremy Lever Lecture 2019

Event date
8 March 2019
Event time
17:00 - 19:00
Oxford week
Gulbenkian Lecture Theatre
Professor Carl Baudenbacher

4:30pm: Welcome tea/coffee (in the Main Foyer of the St Cross Building)

5pm: Lecture

6pm: Drinks reception


The eighth annual Sir Jeremy Lever Lecture will be held at 17:00 on Friday 8 March 2019 at the Gulbenkian Lecture Theatre, St Cross Building, University of Oxford, OX1 3UL. All are welcome to attend, and the lecture is free.

This year’s lecturer will be Carl Baudenbacher, Monckton Chambers, the Former President of the EFTA Court and Professor emeritus of the University of St. Gallen.


The subject

The notion of judicial dialogue emerged at the end of the 1990s in Canada and the USA. The proponents of such conversations dreamed of a liberal world order in which the highest courts, whether national, regional or international, would look to each other and cite one another. This would contribute to the establishment of a global legal system. In fact, the problems in globalisation became more and more similar. There was ‘belief in free trade’. It was enacted through preferential agreements by trade blocs built in part upon the platform of the WTO. The dialogue developed in the area of human rights protection. Global marketing activities led to court cases in countless jurisdictions, for example concerning clothing retailers’ shock advertising, the protection against imitation of a brand of children’s building blocks, the question of the patentability of a genetically-modified mouse made more susceptible to cancer, or the sanctioning of cartels operating on a global scale. The judicial globalization went hand in hand with the judicialisation of law and politics, especially with the mushrooming of international courts. With the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the EFTA Court, Europe has always occupied a special position. All three courts routinely quote each other and they take part in the global judicial dialogue. Active players in the latter include the supreme courts of Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. On the other hand, the US Supreme Court, a very influential idea giver, has always been reluctant to actively participate in this conversation.

The era of multilateral preferential trade is ebbing. Instead, politics are being re-nationalized. An axe is being taken to one of the great achievements of world trade, the WTO Appellate Body. In Europe, new fault lines are emerging within the EU between West and East and between North and South, and indeed along the Channel. The speaker will examine the question of whether this may have an impact on the willingness of the courts to continue or even expand judicial dialogue. On the one hand, it should be noted that it will not be possible to stop the approximation of legal problems. An important phenomenon that leads to identical questions around the globe – not only in competition law –  is digitisation. On the other hand, however, there is a trend to appoint to the bench those whose views hardly go beyond the boundaries of their own jurisdiction. In the US, conflicts in this area have recently reached a new peak. But also in certain European states there seems to be a tendency to keep free spirits away from the office of judge.


Carl Baudenbacher

Copyright: Yaph

Independent arbitrator and consultant, door tenant at Monckton Chambers; Judge of the EFTA Court 1995 to 2018, President 2003 to 2017; Chair of Private, Commercial and Economic Law and Director of the Institute of European and International Law at the University of St. Gallen 1987 to 2013; Permanent Visiting Professor of European and International Law at the University of Texas School of Law 1993-2004;  Member auf the Independent Commission of Inquiry for the Transparent Investigation of the Events Surrounding the Hypo Group Alpe‐Adria established by the Government of Austria (“Griss Commission”) (2014); Founder and Chairman of the St. Gallen International Competition Law Forum ICF; Member of the Supreme Court of the Principality of Liechtenstein 1994-1995; Habilitation University of Zurich 1983; Dr. jur. University of Berne summa cum laude 1978; Author of 40 books and over 250 articles on European (EU and EEA) and international law, law of obligations, labour law, law of unfair competition, antitrust and state aid law, company law, IP law, comparative law and the law of international courts and tribunals.

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Found within

EU Law