The Transnational Authority Essay Competition

Queen Mary Legal Theory and Legal History Research Group

The Competition in Brief

All undergraduate LLB and Juris Doctor students are invited to submit a 2,000 word essay on the theme ‘Authority in a Transnational Age’. The prize for the winning student is a return economy fare from their home institution to London for an international conference on the theme Authority in a Transnational Age, hosted by the Queen Mary Legal Theory and Legal History Research Group, on 8 and 9 November 2013. The prize also includes accommodation for four nights, free entry to the conference (including conference refreshments), and the possibility of presenting the essay at the Department of Law, Queen Mary, University of London, a day prior to the conference. The entry procedure, entry form and competition rules can be found below.

The Theme

Contemporary jurisprudence – and legal scholarship and legal education more generally – is currently under serious challenge from the emergence of arguably new legal phenomena at the non-state or transnational level. One concept that calls for revision in the transnational context is authority. Considering how that concept, juristically and normatively, is being challenged by the transnational context is the focus of the essay competition. Questions are being raised as to whether authority is better conceived of as capable of being shared, or held in degrees, or continuously negotiated amongst a group of communities or institutions. Questions are also raised about what kind of authority exists at the transnational level, and what it should be called – is it ‘legal’ or ‘regulalatory’? Further, it is being hotly debated whether authority so re-conceived is normatively desirable. In a phrase, then, the theme for the essay competition is: ‘How do we make sense of, and how do evaluate, the exercise of authority in the transnational realm?’ 

For more on the theme, including who is presenting at the conference in November, visit the Authority in a Transnational Age conference page. 

The Research Group

The essays will be judged by members of the Queen Mary Legal Theory and Legal History Research Group. The principal aim of the Group is to create a robust and supportive research environment in which legal theorists and legal historians can discuss their work and learn from each other. Further, the Group aims to facilitate and encourage dialogue between the two disciplines by hosting events, such as workshops and conferences.

How to Enter

To enter, please provide three paper versions of your essay and send it to:

The Transnational Authority Essay Competition
C/o Dr Maks Del Mar
Department of Law
Queen Mary, University of London
Mile End Road
E1 4NS, London
United Kingdom

Please download the competition entry form [pdf] and include with your form with the three (3) copies of your essay.

Entries need to reach us by 1 August 2013. Therefore, it is likely that you will need to post them at least one week before the deadline.

Competition Rules

  1. In order to be eligible to enter, you must be – at the time of sending the entry – an undergraduate LLB student or a Juris Doctor student. The competition is not open to Masters or Doctoral students. You will need to confirm that you are a student on the entry form, and you may be asked for proof.
  2. The word count for the essay is 2,000 words. This includes footnotes, but does not include the bibliography. There is no set referencing style. Hand-written entries will not be accepted – all entries must be typed up, ideally in 12 size Times Roman font, double-spaced. The essay must be in the English language.
  3. The prize is a return economy flight from the winner’s home institution to London, UK, as well as accommodation for four nights (at a hotel to be determined by the organisers) and free entry to the conference (including conference refreshments).
  4. The prize does not include any costs associated with obtaining relevant travel documentation, such as visas or passports. Obtaining such documentation is entirely the winner’s responsibility.
  5. The prize of the fare and accommodation is only available to enable the winning student to attend the ‘Authority in a Transnational Age’ conference to be held in London on 8-9 November 2013.
  6. The prize may include the opportunity to present the paper at a special event prior to the conference (on 7 November 2013).
  7. In the event of a local student winner, not requiring funding for travel, a cash prize will be awarded. No cash prize will be awarded to a winner who cannot travel to the conference.  
  8. The winner will be announced in September 2013.
  9. The essay should contain the title of the essay, as well as the entrant’s full name.
  10. The essay must be the student’s original work, and must not have been previously published in any form (including online).
  11. The decision of the judges is final. No correspondence will be entered into with entrants as to the reasons for the decision.
  12. The judges will be comprised of the members of the Legal Theory and Legal History Research Group.


For enquiries not already addressed above, please email Dr Del Mar: