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The GHRS Conference in Geneva Brainstormed Property Law in a Global Context

On January 14th--16th, Geneva-Harvard-Renmin-Sydney Law Faculty Conference (“GHRS Conference” for short thereafter) was hosted at the Confucius institute at the university of Geneva. More than 30 legal scholars from Geneva Law School delegation, Harvard Law School delegation, Renmin Law School delegation and Sydney Law School delegation attended the conference.

“I was tremendously impressed by the Conference that brought prestigious academics and talented young scholars from four dimensions together for the enterprise of property law in a global context”, said Professor Han Dayuan, Dean of Renmin Law School, “I am very pleased that the discourses throughout the Conference were stimulating and inspiring. I still hold fresh memory of so many grounds we found in common, so many consensuses we reached, and so many implications we obtained after debates. Even if in some circumstances in which we held different views, it was still valuable that we could realize mutual understandings”. Professors Wang Yi, Zhu Wenqi and Guo He from Renmin Law School also participated in the conference.

Renmin delegation includes Professor Han Dayuan, Dean of Renmin Law School, Professor Wang Yi, Vice Dean of Renmin Law School, Professor Zhu Wenqi and Professor Guo He.


Renmin delegation includes Professor Han Dayuan, Dean of Renmin Law School, Professor Wang Yi, Vice Dean of Renmin Law School, Professor Zhu Wenqi and Professor Guo He.

GHRS Conference is an annual academic forum jointly lauched by Geneva Law School, Harvard Law School, Renmin Law School and Sydney Law School, aiming at brainstorming the most significant legal issues in a global context. Four prestigious law schools will take turns to hold the conference each year. The GHRS Conference was jointly held by the Confucius Institute at Geneva University and Geneva University Law School this year. The Conference focuses on Property Law in Four Dimensions, with a broad range of subjects facing four jurisdictions.

The Conference consists of private conference and public conference. The private conference in three sessions was held at the Confucius Institute at Geneva University.



Zhao Xiurong, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute and Christine Chappuis, Dean of the Law Faculty, made introductory remarks in the morning of Jan 14. Bénédict Foëx delivered an opening presentation thereafter, provoking the issues for the conference. 

Research Block One is about The Interplay Between Public and Private Law. Prof. Charles Donahue from Harvard Law School investigated into The Emergence of Property in Land in Twelfth and Thirteenth-Century England, by which he attempted to Blur the Public-Private Distinction. Professor Han Dayuan introduced The Protection of Property Rights in Chinese Constitution. Professor Wang Yi focused on Public Interests in the Perspective of Chinese Civil Laws. Thomas Merrill from Columbia Law School(Harvard delegation) delivered an speech on U.S. Regulatory Takings Law: Less of a Mess Than Commonly Thought?.

In the afternoon of Jan 14, Professor Marc-André Renold from Geneva Law School argued the The Interplay between Property Rights in Works of Art and Public Control on Their Circulation. Dr. Stefan Gruber from Sydney Law School explained Illicit Export and Trade in Cultural Property. Isabelle Schulte-Tenckhoff from Geneva Law School delivered a speech on Decentering Property: Indigenous Land Claims in Common Law and International Law.

Research Block Two was about The Relationship between Intellectual Property and Property. Professor Guo He made inquired into the issue of Will Intellectual Property Law Impact the Property System? Professor Kimberlee Weatherall from Sydney Law School focused on The Constitutional Implications of Regulating Intellectual Property: the Case of Australia's Tobacco Plain Packaging Legislation. Professor Jacques de Werra from Geneva Law School investigated the Interplay between Intellectual Property and Property from a European Perspective. Dr. Michael Kenneally from Harvard University analyzed the subject of Misappropriation, 'Quasi-Property,' and Lockean Ethical Theory.

Block Three centered on The Protection of Private and Public Property in International Law. Dr. Emily Crawford from Sydney law school spoke about Moveable and Immovable Property in Times of Armed Conflict. Professor Zhu Wenqi introduced Immunity and Protection of Private Property. Professor Henry Smith from Harvard focused on the relationship among Property, Equity, and the Rule of Law. Professor Zachary Douglas from Geneva Law School focused on The Strategic Use of Different Conceptions of Property by International Judges and Arbitrators.

On January 16th, the Public Conference put emphasis on Property Law in Four Dimensions. Rector Jean-Dominique Vassalli, ice President of Geneva University addressed the audience in the beginning. Professor Patricia Lane from Sydney Law School made a speech on the topic of Imagining Property: Traditional Rights to Land in Australia. Professor Marco Sassoli from Geneva Law School addressed The Protection of Private and Public Property in International Law. Prof. Henry Smith re-read the relationship among Property, Equity, and the Rule of Law. Professor Zhu Wenqi introduced the historical development of The Private Property in China. In the end, Prof. Basile Zimmermann, director of the Confucius Institute at Geneva University, delivered closing remarks after thoughtful public speeches. He spoke highly about the three-day conference.

During the trip to Geneva, Dean Han also visited Geneva University Law School, and had fruitful talks with Dean Christine Chappuis and Prof. Christian Bovet.

Due to the great success of the 1st GHRS Conference, the four co-hosts have initially agreed that Renmin Law School will hold the 2nd GHRS in China in 2014. “I am looking forward to welcoming colleagues from three co-holders in the 2nd Geneva-Harvard-Renmin-Sydney Law Faculty Conference in 2014 in Beijing”, said Dean Han Dayuan.

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