Political and Economic meltdowns, severe natural disasters and protracted armed conflicts challenge the commitment to the rule of law and face the contemporary jurisprudence. Extreme conditions – or the perception of impending grave danger – may pressure organs of the state (as well as powerful non-state actors) to resort to extreme measures. Experience shows that liberal democracies have suspended some basic human rights in times of exigencies. These actions raise the concern whether facing extreme conditions (or the perception thereof), actors are capable of averting the conceptual critique of liberalism launched by Carl Schmitt – and the historical fate of contemporary democracies outlined by Agamben – and nonetheless develop mechanisms to ensure that the underlying principles of the rule of law are maintained? To further investigate, the University of Haifa, Faculty of Law, together with the Institute of Law & Economics, has recently launched the MINVERA CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF THE RULE OF LAW UNDER EXTREME CONDITIONS. Three working groups divided by cause in belligerencies, natural disasters & epidemics, and socio-economic acute crises are formed to generate conceptual and empirical research that will enrich the theoretical understanding of this crucial problem but also contribute to our ability to address it in practice by analysing the existing regulation and putting forward recommendations to improve the norms, procedures and institutions designed to govern emergencies. The integral research approach will encompass the analytical (by advancing the theory and concepts on point), the positive (by examining the actual institutional design and legal regulations in various systems), the normative (by developing tools to enable jurists and agencies to evaluate alternative models of regulation) and the cultural (by analysing societal attitudes) perspective. Therefore the groups will be comprised of jurists, social scientists (economists, sociologists, political scientists, geographers, media and communication scholars), ethicists and other relevant experts and will be in contact and collaboration with central and local policy stakeholders as well as relief-providing agencies. Special attention will be paid to the development of a cadre of young scientists in Israel, Germany, and in other jurisdictions.
Contact: Prof. Dr. rer. pol. Stefan Voigt, University of Hamburg