„Foreign Relations Law and International Law – Substitutes or Complements?“
On the 10th November 2015 the Europa-Institute (Saarland University) had the honor to welcome Prof. Dr. Paul B. Stephan from the University of Virginia. Professor Stephan is an expert on International Business, International Dispute Resolution and Comparative Law, with an emphasis on Soviet and post-Soviet legal systems. After clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as serving as Counselor on International Law in the U.S. Department of State in 2006-2007, Professor Stephan currently holds the position of the coordinating reporter for the American Law Institute’s 4th Restatement of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States. While the University of Virginia stays his home university, Professor Stephan has worked as a visiting professor at several universities including the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, the University of Vienna, University of Pantheon-Assas (Paris II), and Sciences Po.
At the Europa-Institute Professor Stephan gave a guest lecture on „Foreign Relations Law and International Law – Substitutes or Complements?“ in which he introduced the audience to his conception of Foreign Relations Law and its (positive) effects on Public International Law. He argued that Foreign Relations Law should be used to counteract shortcomings of International Law. Foreign Relations Law (as well as the Fragmentation and Comparative International Law) movement have highlighted significant problems of International Law, which in his opinion should be taken serious instead of being denied. Professor Paul argues that the aim of Foreign Relations Law, which lies in moving the focus to municipal legal systems, emphasizing that international law takes places within, rather than among, nation states and therefore stripes international law of its character as uniform and universal, claiming it to be rather fragmental and indeterminable, should be seen as a challenge to Public International Law rather than a threat. He claims that pluralism in International Law will enhance its credibility, strengthen it and open up opportunities to react to challenges in our diverse world.