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Research Initiatives at the Center

CICL Partner Organizations

  • International Rights Advocates


    The Washington, DC based International Rights Advocates (IRAdvocates) was formed, in part, as antidote to the "values" that put power and profit over our planet's most precious asset; its people. Their work is designed to contribute to a more just world. IRAdvocates leverages human rights law via the courts (US and in other countries) to empower the victims of the full spectrum of human rights violations (from summary executions and forced labor to the denial of the rights to health and livelihood) to hold powerful entities, like multinational corporations, accountable. Holding these powerful entities accountable and liable will contribute to changing their decision-making calculus, and thereby, motivate them to act in a more sustainable fashion.

  • Maryland Legal Aid - Human Rights Project 

    Maryland Legal Aid

    Since its inception, Maryland Legal Aid’s Human Rights Project has engaged in creative and ground-breaking advocacy. For the first time ever, it has normalized the use of the United Nations (U.N.) Special Procedures to shine an international spotlight on entrenched local issues within a legal services organization. For example, Maryland Legal Aid spearheaded and coalesced nation-wide support for a pioneering human rights complaint to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights on the issue of access to justice for migrant farmworkers. In the domestic realm as well, we are pursuing novel approaches to actualize human rights in clients’ lives. For example, in the issue-specific areas of domestic violence, children’s rights, disability rights, and housing rights, the Human Rights Project is developing sample arguments and a pleading bank for use in protective order and custody cases; further, it aims to empower foster youth with age-appropriate information about their human rights through the artistic medium of a graphic novel; better address the needs of our mentally ill and behaviorally challenged clientele by developing a resource manual and delivering targeted trainings, and by monitoring and documenting human rights abuses within Maryland courts. In addition, all staff have been provided issue-specific training on human rights law and an opportunity to strategize appropriate use in litigation; all staff have been actively involved in developing internal human rights principles to govern staff-client relationships; and the organization as a whole is engaged in integrating human rights principles within internal governance structures.

  • TRIAL International


    TRIAL International (based in Geneva, Switzerland) believes that a world where impunity for international crimes is no longer tolerated is possible. The obligation to hold accountable the perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and enforced disappearance, together with the opportunity for victims to obtain justice and reparation, will help to reduce the commission of these crimes.

    TRIAL  International’s  mission  is  to  fight  for  justice  when  international  crimes  are  committed.  Such crimes are genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, enforced disappearance, sexual violence and extrajudicial execution. TRIAL  International relies  on  the  existing  legal  framework  and  is  convinced  that  a  judicious  yet imaginative  use  of  the  law  can  be  a  formidable  means  of  dealing  with  individual  cases and  bringing about structural change. The NGO also puts the law at the service of the victims of international crimes and  works  to  ensure  that  the  perpetrators  of  these crimes  are  brought  to  justice.


Public International Law

  • Human Rights Initiative

    The Human Rights Initiative promotes the study, understanding and implementation of universal human rights, as embodied in international treaties, regional agreements, and customary international law. This initiative considers the nature and basis of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, and encourages their equal realization for all persons and nations.

  • Democratic Institutions Initiative

    The Democratic Institutions Initiative studies and encourages the institutional development of democracy in national and international institutions. This initiative specifically considers the nature of the rule of law and the constitutional, administrative, and legislative processes that support democratic reform and a just legal order.

  • Environmental Law Initiative

    The Environmental Law Initiative advances the development of international environmental standards and agreements, with special emphasis on climate change and biological diversity.

International Business and Economic Law

  • Competitive Markets Initiative

    The Competitive Markets Initiative considers the development of national and international markets, with special emphasis on how national antitrust, trade and foreign investment laws and policies affect industrial competitiveness and the welfare of consumers. This initiative promotes improved international and national markets through the comparison of existing rules and legal systems. .

  • Intellectual Property Initiative

    The Intellectual Property Initiative promotes the study, understanding, and implementation of international protection for intellectual property rights. This initiative compares different national regimes and encourages the improvement of international institutions.

  • Commercial Transactions Initiative

    The Commercial Transactions Initiative focuses on the international regulation of commercial transactions between private parties, and between private parties and foreign governments, with special emphasis on the sale of goods under international, national, and multilateral agreements.


  • ASIL Studies in International Legal Theory (Cambridge University Press)

    ASIL Studies in International Legal Theory is a book series published by Cambridge University Press and edited by Center Directer Mortimer Sellers and Mark Agrast, Executive Director of the American Society of International Law. Prior to becoming a book series, International Legal Theory was a journal published by ASIL.

    The purpose of the ASIL Studies in International Legal Theory is to clarify and improve the theoretical foundations of international law.  Too often the progressive development and implementation of international law has foundered on confusion about first principles.  This series raises the level of public and scholarly discussion about the structure and purposes of the world legal order and how best to achieve global justice through law.  this series grows out of the International Legal Theory project of the American Society of International Law.  The ASIL Studies in International Legal Theory deepen this conversation by publishing scholarly monographs and edited volumes of essays considering subjects in international legal theory.

  • AMINTAPHIL: The Philosophical Foundations of Law and Justice (Springer)

    AMINTAPHIL is the American Section of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy and Mortimer Sellers is the current President of this organization.

    The AMINTAPHIL book series considers the philosophical foundations of law and justice from the perspectives of academic philosophy, practical political science and applied legal studies.  The American Section of the International Association for the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy ("AMINTAPHIL") supervises the series, which dedicates each volume to the most pressing contemporary problems in legal theory and social justice.  AMINTAPHIL holds biennial meetings of leading scholars in philosophy, law, and politics to discuss the philosophical basis of vital questions.  The AMINTAPHIL volumes present the ultimate results of these discussions.

    For more information, see the Springer website.

  • Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice (Springer)

    Ius Gentium is a book series which discusses the central questions of law and justice from a comparative perspective. The books in this series collect the contrasting and overlapping perspectives of lawyers, judges, philosophers and scholars of law from the world's many different jurisdictions for the purposes of comparison, harmonisation, and the progressive development of law and legal institutions. Each volume makes a new comparative study of an important area of law. This book series continues the work of the well-known journal of the same name and provides the basis for a better understanding of all areas of legal science.

    The Ius Gentium series provides a valuable resource for lawyers, judges, legislators, scholars, and both graduate students and researchers in globalisation, comparative law, legal theory and legal practice. The series has a special focus on the development of international legal standards and transnational legal cooperation.

    For more information, visit the Springer website.

  • Studies in the History of Law and Justice (Springer)

    The purpose of this book series is to publish high quality volumes on the history of law and justice. Legal history can be a deeply provocative and influential field, as illustrated by the growth of the European universities and the ius commune, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, and indeed all the great movements for national liberation through law.  The study of history gives scholars and reformers the models and courage to question entrenched injustices, by demonstrating the contingency of law and other social arrangements. Yet legal history today finds itself diminished in the universities and legal academy.  Too often scholarship betrays no knowledge of what went before, or why legal institutions took the shape that they did.  This series seeks to remedy that deficiency.  

    Studies in the History of Law and Justice will be theoretical and reflective.  Volumes will address the history of law and justice from a critical and comparative viewpoint.  The studies in this series will be strong bold narratives of the development of law and justice.  Some will be suitable for a very broad readership. Contributions to this series will come from scholars on every continent and in every legal system.  Volumes will promote international comparisons and dialogue.  The purpose will be to provide the next generation of lawyers with the models and narratives needed to understand and improve the law and justice of their own era. The series includes monographs focusing on a specific topic, as well as collections of articles covering a theme or collections of article by one author.

    For more information, see the Springer website