Francisca Pérez Madrid (University of Barcelona) has organized what looks to be a wonderful conference next month in Jerusalem, “Religious Diversity Governance: Territorial and Personal Law.” The conference will take place at Hebrew University from October 2-4. Here’s the description:

Because we regard the places we live as the centre of our legal structure and relations, the concept of law has always been closely tied to the notion of territory. But because our social life extends beyond the relations each person has with a territory and makes us members of larger communities and social groups, we also need to establish systems of peaceful coexistence. While territoriality and personality are therefore dramatically different legal systems, they can still operate side by side as “communicating vessels” which influence and complement one other like two sides of the same coin and two different ways of applying law.

For countries characterised by internal cultural, ethnic or religious diversity, the possibility that we might make the territorial and the personal principle more mutually compatible becomes particularly interesting and this is where the State of Israel occupies a unique position in the world. Maintaining as it does the Millet system of law, which it inherited from the Ottoman Empire and which grants each of the State’s recognized ethno-religious communities exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction in areas of personal and family law, the question becomes the following: Can the application of the personal principle to diverse groups facilitate peaceful coexistence in a plural state?  Our Symposium will seek to answer this and to provide an opportunity to debate the resolution of conflicts in which human rights are put at risk.

The conference program is here.

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