17th March 2009

15 and 16 June 2009  
University of Oslo – Faculty of Law
The topic of risk is not uncommon in legal literature. Classical examples include contract law about risk  allocation, criminal law, (where the risk of future offences may be assessed), and insurance law (where  risk plays a role in insurance policies). More recent examples are legal duties to carry out a risk  assessment according to e.g. environmental law, safety regulation (e.g. maritime or offshore), IT  security regulation, banking law or corporate governance. In these contexts, risk is typically discussed in  a discipline-specific angle.  
However, the relationship between law and risk can also be addressed through two general  perspectives: First, a large amount of research, e.g. within sociology of law, has concentrated on  analysing the social and legal implications of the increased focus on risk and on how the law should deal  with risk. A second perspective, which has generated far less literature and attention, has analysed risk  management as a potential proactive method to be used by lawyers. When reviewing the literature  produced in both fields, one might get the impression that these two perspectives have little in  common despite the use of the term “risk”.  Indeed, these two perspectives reflect the partly unrelated  discourses on risk, which are dominant in other disciplines. Risk society is a widely debated topic in,  e.g., sociology, while risk management is a rather practical methodological approach used in, e.g.,  decision theory, engineering, finance, insurance and management.  
The objective of this workshop is to bring together representatives of both perspectives in order to  discuss whether the two perspectives are complementary rather than incompatible. What, if anything,  can be done to relate the two perspectives? One possible starting point is a discussion on various  definitions of risk, and the degree to which risk can and should be quantified and used by lawyers and  legal scholars. What are the social and legal consequences of introducing risk assessment as a  complementary method for lawyers and legal scholars?
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