An article published in the 2008 volume (Issue 4) of the European Journal of International Law by Thomas Schultz has been awarded the 2010 Jubilee Prize of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and the Social Sciences (see here as well). The Jubilee Prize is awarded each year to the best article, across the humanities and social sciences, published by a young swiss researcher. The prize winning article is titled “Carving up the Internet: Jurisdiction, Legal Orders, and the Private/Public International Law Interface”. In the article Thomas Schulz argues that:
The Internet is caught between old forces of local territorialism and new forces characteristic of global economies. As a result, this article maintains that it may end up being carved or fragmented into discrete legal spheres. This development contradicts with the hitherto traditional vision of the Internet as a paradigmatic example of a borderless world of global transnationalism. This fragmentation is taking two forms: one vertical which reflects concerns of public policy and the protection of local values, the other horizontal which is driven by the rationale of commercial efficiency. The former (vertical), if not understood and handled properly, may lead to an informational impoverishment of the Internet. One response to this risk resides in new configurations of the appropriate jurisdictional bases for assertions of state power. I argue in favour of a double standard of jurisdiction for the regulation of Internet content: one, based on the principle of targeting, used to sanction behaviour, the other, an incarnation of the effects doctrine, used to prevent actions and fulfil the cathartic function of law. The latter (horizontal) form of fragmentation should lead us to rethink certain aspects of the concept of law, in particular with regard to legal pluralism, and to discover new places where law is to be found.
Our congratulations to Thomas Shultz who is currently Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Department of Private International Law, Faculty of Law, Univeristy of Geneva. He is also the Executive Director of the Geneva Masters in International Dispute Settlement, organized jointly by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and Development and the University of Geneva.