PROPERTY[IN]JUSTICE transcends current scholarship on global property law in three ways:

  • a) Conceptualisation: Analysing global property rights through the lens of ‘spatial justice’ allows us to recognise the unequal distribution of resources and rights between different places and landscapes. This adds the much-neglected variable of ‘place’ to international law scholarship, a necessary addition given the role of land in peoples’ lives.
  • b) Global, holistic scope: There is ongoing debate about the fragmentation of international law, as well as reflection on whether international law is truly ‘international’ (Roberts 2018) or based on Western legal traditions preserving a hegemony in the global legal order (Anghie 2005, Koskenniemi 2012, Tzouvala 2020). Yet, international law also possesses an emancipatory potential. It is also drawn on by communities and groups to assert their rights, place pressure on national governments and access justice when the abuse of power occurs. PROPERTY[IN]JUSTICE does not limit itself to critiquing international law but also explores its capacity as a tool for improved access to justice.
  • c) Socio-legal approach: The project analyses land and property from a socio-legal perspective, illuminating the oft-overlooked inequalities enshrined in legal discourse. It does this by going beyond an analysis of existing norms and case law, to also examine empirical research on the extent to which judgments are implemented in practice, and the extent to which international norms play a role in land disputes on the ground more generally (i.e. in the absence of case law or where cases have been dismissed).