Luxembourgeois Echoes… (part two)

As IALL members well know, each year the organization bestows a number of generous bursaries, which enable colleagues from various jurisdictions to participate in the Annual Course. Each bursary winner who attended the most recent Annual Course in Luxembourg has kindly agreed to share with us what most captured their attention.

For the sake of convenience, the reflections have been divided into two discrete blog entries. Below is the second part. The first part was published this past December.

Attending the IALL conference was a new and worthwhile experience for me. I gained new perspectives on law librarianship, and it broadened my professional network. I also learned about the development of the Luxembourgish legal system and how it has been influenced by the country’s history, geography, language, and foreign occupations.

I also gained some insight into European integration—its theory, institutions, systems, and challenges. This insight has influenced my own thinking about how European integration compares to African integration efforts and realities. For instance, Africa clearly shares Europe’s integrative aspirations. But while the drivers of integration may be somewhat similar for both the EU and African Union (AU), there are a number of differences between the two continental integration efforts. Specifically, their underlying institutional structures (supranational and intergovernmental mechanisms) differ, as well as their relative maturity, robustness, and effectiveness.

Becoming a part of such an internationally diverse network of legal information professionals is truly gratifying. Beyond the exchange and sharing of ideas about our respective jurisdictions, I gained insight from some colleagues on how we could further develop law librarianship in my country, Ghana, and within the African continent.

It is my fervent hope that my experience will inspire more African legal information professionals to join IALL and actively participate in the association’s activities—specifically, to leverage the global network it affords to develop meaningful programmes of cooperation.

Finally, let me use this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to the IALL Board and Scholarships Committee for considering my application and selecting me as a bursary winner. A special thank you as well to our hosts and Local Planning Committee at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for their hospitality. To my fellow bursary winners, old and new friends, thank you for your companionship. I look forward to seeing you next year in Sydney.

Bright Kwaku Avuglah Senior Library Assistant,

University of Ghana School of Law

I would like to thank the IALL officials for the scholarship awarded to me and for all of the advice they offered. I would also like to thank the team at the Max Plank Institute Luxembourg for the excellent organization of this event, and all the conference delegates for the collegial atmosphere that prevailed during our discussions. The lessons and benefits I drew from this conference primarily fall into four areas: Knowledge about IALL; Discovery of the Luxembourgish Legal System and Community; Professional Network Development; and New Projects.

Knowledge about IALL: This was my first experience attending an IALL Annual Course, and it was an excellent opportunity to learn about IALL’s governance and functions.

Discovery of the Luxembourgish Legal System and Community: Thanks to the various lectures and professional visits during the conference, I was able to gain an understanding of Luxembourg’s unique legal system. I also learned about the National Library and its relocation project; the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and its library; and the Max Plank Institute Luxembourg and its library’s innovative use of robotics.

Professional Network Development: I was able to meet many law librarians and legal professionals with whom I had enriching exchanges. Being able to keep in touch with them will help me benefit from a solid professional network. This will be supported by my complimentary one-year membership in IALL.

New Projects: I now hope to take the lead on several projects. These include the further development of law library networks in Côte d’Ivoire, through the sharing of my experience in Luxembourg and the formation of a local working group; the creation of a startup for the promotion of legal information in Côte d’Ivoire; and preparation for future IALL meetings, especially for the 2020 Annual Course to be held in Toulouse, France (a nation that strongly inspired and continues to influence my own country’s legal system). In addition, I would like to continue my English-language training in order to effectively utilize the many legal information resources available in English.

Adama Kone

Head of Documentation & Archives Services,

National Assembly of the Ivory Coast

As one of the recipients of a Members-Only IALL bursary, I attended the 37th Annual Course in Luxembourg. The theme of this year’s course was “Law in Luxembourg: Where Local Tradition Meets European and International Innovation.” I would like to thank the members of the Local Planning Committee for organizing such an amazing conference and all of the delegates for being so open and welcoming.

During the pre-conference workshop on the use of robots, we discussed how robot usage will ultimately affect our profession. Most of the law librarians in attendance did not view robots as being dangerous in that respect. We met with TORY, the robot being used in the library of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg, and we saw how it works in the context of inventory control. We also discussed the issue of the gender identity of robots!!!

During the conference itself, various speakers talked about Luxembourish law, as well as selected aspects of EU and international law. I was particularly interested in the information provided about the forthcoming Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law (EiPro). Since the summer of 2017, authors have submitted 174 entries to the EiPro editorial team, and since the spring of 2018, the editorial team has submitted fifty-six final entries to Oxford University Press.

I was also quite interested in MEP Mady Delvaux-Stehres’s lecture that focused on the creation of a legal framework for robotics in the EU. More specifically, she discussed her role in compiling a recent report for the EU Parliament that addresses opportunities, problems, fears, and doomsday scenarios concerning the increasing use of robotization in the EU.

Kamil Kysiltas

Head of Reference Services,

Koc University, Turkey

My trip to Luxembourg was an enlightening and fulfilling experience. Luxembourg is a country with the motto Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn (“We want to remain what we are”). But, what and who is Luxembourg? I noticed that the country seemed to be suffering from an identity crisis. Luxembourg has three official languages: French, German, and Luxembourgish. There were billboard ads in French, German, and English. On the transportation ticket machines, I saw information in French and English, but not German or Luxembourgish. I found that French was spoken the most often in public and during business transactions. However, I did hear some German, and on occasion, the Luxembourgish greeting Moien. This multilingual environment really accentuated the conference itself and the topics it covered.

One of the most interesting conference sessions focused on the background of the laws of Luxembourg. Historically, Luxembourg was often ruled by its neighboring countries, an arrangement that infused the nation with a blend of cultures. This blend is evident in everything from daily life, fashion, and cuisine, to the law that governs Luxembourgers. The bulk of the law is borrowed; however, this has not deterred the citizens of Luxembourg from enacting their own laws, most notably in the fields of finance, banking, and outer space. Unsurprisingly, Luxembourg is a civil law jurisdiction, with academic writing being highly influential, and case law becoming increasingly authoritative.

Another session I found both informative and fascinating was “What is the European Union, a Union of Citizens and States, a New Constitutional Topos?” This session raised many questions and provided a glimpse into how difficult it can be to understand the EU from an organizational and/or individual perspective. I especially liked hearing how the speaker (Professor Jaap Hoeksma) created a board game (Eurocracy) to teach students about the difficult subject of the EU.

Overall, I had a wonderful time, and I learned a great deal about Luxembourish law and some of the issues that face Luxembourgers—those citizens who reside in one of the wealthiest and smallest countries in the EU.

Beth Parker

Adjunct Professor of Law,

Nova Southeastern University, USA

This Blog contains entries by members of the International Association of Law Libraries on issues germane to the Association’s areas of focus. Views expressed in an individual entry only represent the views of the author.