Monday, July 18, 2016

USFSP article about participation in European Society for Comparative Legal History conference in Gdansk

Dr. Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, associate professor of Political Science, recently presented her research about human rights on legal and judicial reform in Moldova at the European Society for Comparative Legal History Biennial Conference (ESCLH) in Gdansk, Poland. It was there that she also had the opportunity to meet former Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and former Polish Constitutional Tribunal Justice Ewa Letowska.

“The ESCLH is the premier organization that brings together scholars of comparative legal history,” said McLauchlan, who served as a Fulbright scholar to the Republic of Moldova in 2010 and 2012, and returned to teach an Education Abroad course in 2013. McLauchlan began researching and collecting data while in Moldova. “The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Culture, Identity and Legal Instrumentalism,’ and, of course, my research regarding Moldova fit well within this theme.”

As the place where the first shots were fired during World War II—and the birthplace of the Solidarity movement that helped bring an end to the Community rule across Central Europe—Gdansk has a rich 1,000 year history and is a city situated at the intersection of cultures and nationalities.
“I find Moldova to be endlessly fascinating,” said McLauchlan, who described the landlocked country as a study of contrasts. “Moldova is torn between its Soviet past and its European future with an uncertain present, making it a profoundly interesting state to study.”

Her paper assesses the impact of decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on legal and judicial reform in Moldova. She reviewed the court’s judgments and corresponding reports from 1997 through 2014, and also interviewed more than 25 lawyers, judges, and human rights advocates, including the president of the Supreme Court of Justice (and former judge on the European Court of Human Rights), the vice minister of justice of the Republic of Moldova, and the Moldovan government agent before the European Court of Human Rights.

“I hope my findings will offer insights into the constraints faced by the ECtHR in implementing its decisions and the impact of the ECtHR on national legal systems, as well as contribute to the conference focus on the issue of law as an instrument of transforming reality,” McLauchlan said.

“This underscores once again that Dr. Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan has, through her years of focused scholarship, become a leading international voice and expert on the import and role of Moldova in the complex puzzle of geopolitics” said Dr. Frank Biafora, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “As Dean, I also commend Judithanne for always seeking ways to provide meaningful and relevant opportunities for USFSP students to benefit from her leadership and primary research.”

Her trip is supported by a Faculty International Travel Grant from the USF System.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

European Society for Comparative Legal History Conference: University of Gdansk, Moldova presentation

Day 4 of the European Society of Comparative Legal History conference was held at the University of Gdansk at the law school.

They must have saved the proverbial best for last, as my panel and the panel I was chairing were scheduled for the final day of the conference.

My presentation was part of a panel, "Law, Human Rights, and Democracy" -- and I presented my research

"The Impact of Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on Legal and Judicial Reform in the Republic of Moldova"

I chaired a panel "Institutions and Politics," that included research paper presentations by scholars from Australia, Brazil, and Thailand.

After the final panel, buses took us back to the Old Town.  I changed and then went exploring myself.  Will post separately pics of the Post Office where the first shots of World War II were fired and my climb to the top of Europe's largest brick cathedral in a separate post.

the law professor who chaired my panel brought his copy of the Moldovan Constitution (in Polish) for our discusion

Here I am as Chair of final panel at the conference

in the atrium of the law school at the University of Gdansk

with the conference organizers EXTRAORDINAIRE!!  Anna Klimaszewska, Michal Galedek, and Maria Lewandowicz

as I was exploring the Old Town I was delighted to run into scholars from the conference - from Russia, Brazil (now Portugal), Poland, Germany (now Belgium), and Finland

I didn't take many food pictures on this trip, but this is a traditional Polish soup zurek (sausages and eggs)

Lech Walesa has an office in this building, and it is said that he occasionally will come out to greet visitors

Good Bye, Gdansk! What a wonderful conference.

At the Warsaw airport on the layover - took pictures of McDs signs in Polish for my daughter

found Dory in Polish in the In Flight magazine

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

European Society of Comparative Legal History: Gdynia, and meeting Justice Ewa Letowska

Day 3 of the European Society for Comparative Legal History Conference was held in the town of Gdynia, on the Baltic Sea, at the Pomeranian Park of Science and Technology.

I particularly enjoyed the panel on "Marriage in Different Cultures" and the "Jurists Debate" featuring Prof. Ewa Letowska, former Justice of the Polish Supreme Administrative Court and the Polish Constitutional Tribunal and Justice Jerzy Stepien, former President of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal.

This day was followed by dinner at the Vinegre Restaurant, from which we could see the sun set over the Baltic Sea.

the panel on Marriage in Different Cultures, speaking is Prof. Miso Dokmanovic re: the Transformation of Marriage in Post-World War II Macedonia

the Jurists Debate

with Justice Ewa Letowska

I was so excited to see the Sea

for those of us who took the stairs to the restaurant, we got to walk through the Maritime Museum

the view from the Vinegre restaurant...lovely sunset

met Prof. Joshua Tate from SMU Law School...we talked about the Pre-Law Program at USFSP and opportunities for cooperation -- and he is coming to speak at USF in the fall re history of jury system -- so my students will have the opportunity to meet him and to learn more about SMU in a few months

when I returned to my hotel room, after midnight, I turned on CNN for the latest  news, to see my old friend Guy Cecil on the TV here in Poland!

European Society for Comparative Legal History, Gdansk, Official Opening of the conference

The conference literally started with a "bang" -- with a ceremonial firing of a canon on one of the ships hanging in Artus Hall

The thought-provoking Plenary Session

"Constitutional Instrumentalization of Ancient Rights: From Golden Liberty to Golden Age American Constitutionalism(1764-1776) and Polish Republicanism (1573-1831)"

and the Commentator - who gave me more to think about regarding the Dutch influence on the American Revolution

I enjoyed meeting legal scholars from all over the world during the coffee breaks and the lunch and the dinner and after panel discussions.  And, of course, enjoyed learning from the research presentations during the panel sessions.

the Plenary Session in Artus Court

Artus Court

The one who lit the ceremonial ship cannon that fired to signal the opening of our conference.  Yes, I am the American who asked for a "selfie"

In the Main Hall for our coffee break.  Note the banister that is darker than the others -- that is the only original piece of that staircase.  95% of Gdnask was destroyed in the War. It is spectacular, how the town looks now, rebuilt. Extraordinary.

the Main Hall, where we had lunch

the ceilings are original - I think they were removed by the Nazis - and returned and re-installed in the Main Hall

one of the afternoon panels I attended -- "The Legal Transplant and the Building of National Legal Identities in Central Eastern Europe" -- featuring Prof. Manuel Gutan (editor of the Romanian Journal of Comparative Law) and Michal Galedek, one of the conference organizers extraordinaire)

it was a lovely walk from my hotel to the venue for Day 2 of the conference - Artus Court and the Main Hall, in the Old Town of Gdansk

I came back for a latte before heading out to the evening programming....still jet-lagged!  This is the lovely view from the cafe in my hotel (Hotel Gdansk)