The European Society of International Law (ESIL) is a dynamic network of researchers, scholars and practitioners in the field of international law. The Society’s goals are to encourage the study of international law, to foster inquiry, discussion and innovation in international law, and to promote a greater understanding of the role of international law in the world today.

The vital role of law in responding to processes of globalization, and the growing importance of developing a shared understanding within Europe in relation to a wide range of international legal issues, underscore the need for a forum that will facilitate greater interaction among European international lawyers. To this end, ESIL seeks to develop much closer links between those working in the international law field in Western Europe and their counterparts in Eastern and Central Europe. This need will be all the more marked in response to the expansion of membership of the European Union and the proposed adoption of institutional arrangements designed to enhance Europe’s voice in international affairs. This evolution in EU law and practice should be complemented and reinforced by the emergence of an increasingly integrated community of European international lawyers.

The Society has provided a forum for the exchange and promotion of new ideas ever since the inaugural meeting in 2004 in Florence, and ESIL events and publications continue to illustrate the breadth and range of members’ interests and activities. There has been a major ESIL event in a different venue  each year since the Society was set up: Geneva (2005), Paris (2006), Budapest (2007), Heidelberg (2008), Helsinki (2009), Cambridge (2010), Tallinn (2011), Valencia (2012), Amsterdam (2013), Vienna (2014), Oslo (2015), Riga (2016), Naples (2017), Manchester (2018), Athens (2019), Stockholm (2021), Utrecht (2022) and Aix-en-Provence (2023). Future conferences are scheduled in Vilnius (2024), Berlin (2025), and Lisbon (2026).

As well as Annual Conferences, ESIL also holds an annual Research Forum, a scholarly event which promotes engagement with research in progress by early-career members of the Society. To date, these have been held in Florence (2015), Istanbul (2016), Granada (2017), Jerusalem (2018), Göttingen (2019), Catania (online-only, 2021), Glasgow (2022), Tartu (2023), and Nicosia (2024). The next Research Forum is scheduled in Catania (2025).

In addition, there are an increasing number of joint events where ESIL works together with other institutions to set up conferences, symposia or workshops looking at specific aspects of international law. ESIL also supports many events throughout Europe, including the symposia and workshops of the ESIL Interest Groups, and other international workshops and conferences organised by its members.

The 21 ESIL Interest Groups are all active and provide excellent networking opportunities for the members of the groups. The groups’ conveners work together with members to arrange events and publications.

The ESIL Board has introduced a number of measures to further increase participation in the Society’s activities and to support participation at ESIL events: members in lower-income countries are offered reduced membership fees; ESIL travel grants are available to members to facilitate attendance at a range of ESIL events; carers’ grants are available to encourage and facilitate the attendance of members with parental or other caring responsibilities.

ESIL publications include the ESIL Series (high-quality volumes on the themes of Annual Conferences and joint events), papers in the ESIL Paper Series, and the online ESIL Reflections.

Members receive quarterly ESIL Newsletters and also monthly ESIL Updates.

The activities of the Society have been generously funded from the outset by the Academy of European Law at the European University Institute in Florence, where the ESIL Secretariat is based. This continuing support is a much-appreciated contribution to the future of the Society.

The Society is also very grateful for the support of its lifetime members and institutional members.


The stated goals of the ESIL are to contribute to the rule of law in international relations and to promote the study of public international law. For these purposes its Articles of Association state that it will:

  • organise and support in-depth exchanges of ideas on matters of common interest to international lawyers in Europe and elsewhere;
  • encourage high-level scholarship and analysis;
  • provide a forum for European-wide discussions, and foster the involvement and representation of younger scholars;
  • promote a greater awareness and understanding of international law not only amongst lawyers but within the general public; and
  • foster a greater appreciation of the role of the European tradition and develop European perspectives in international law.


The official languages of the Society are English and French. The Society is committed to promoting linguistic diversity while at the same time maximising the ability of members to communicate effectively with one another.


Membership of ESIL is open to all those with an interest in international law and in contributing to the realisation of the goals of the Society. No limitations of nationality or qualification as to professional or scholarly status apply.

As a learned Society committed to the principles of equality and academic freedom, ESIL welcomes the participation of all international lawyers, without regard to their nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, ethnicity, and institutional affiliation. The exercise of this freedom entails corresponding responsibilities. All participants in ESIL events must undertake to refrain from unlawful speech, including speech that is intended or likely to cause or promote fear, hatred, harassment, and violence.