ILA Study Group

In 2017, Janne initiated the establishment of a new Study Group of the International Law Association (ILA) entitled ‘The Role of Cities in International Law’, together with Prof. Helmut Aust (Freie Universität, Berlin). The ILA brings together around 4.000 international lawyers worldwide. Its aim is to study and develop international law. Study Groups are established to allow quick responses to urgent questions, and consist of small groups of recognized international law experts. The Cities Study Group consists of 19 members from around the world. 

The Study Group examines the changing role of cities within the international legal order, and addresses questions such as: What is the impact of the internationalisation of the city on the international legal order? How is the changing international legal order impacting the world’s cities? To what extent is international law starting to define the legal status and government of cities? Are there specific problems attached to the role of cities as objects of international law? Have cities become accepted as subjects of international law?

In August 2018, the Study Group was officially launched at the Biannual ILA Conference in Sydney on ‘Developing International Law in Challenging Times’, at which the chairs organised a panel session on ‘Cities at the Frontiers of International Law and Global Governance’. Here, the shared need for a more empirical basis on the international law-related practices of cities, gave birth to the idea of collecting ‘city reports’ (based on the format of country reports). The reports shed light on city practices, in particular of local governments, in relation to international law, on cities’ engagement with other cities, international organizations and/or global governance mechanisms. Since October 2019, the ILA Study Group is collecting the city reports through an open (ongoing) call for contributions. The Study Group will use the reports as a basis for its final report and envisages to publish in time a selection with a leading university press. For now, these reports are published on the Global City website. The Study Group’s mandate will end in 2022, after which it will become an ILA Committee.