The World in archipelagos, for multilingual globalisation

Law through the prism of languages

4 December 2018 at 7pm

At the palais des académies of Brussels


The Law is the cornerstone of life in every community; how does it relate to the language in which it has been thought out and decreed? In the globalised world, English becomes practically the only vehicle of worldwide regulation; should we fight for the Law to remain expressed in different linguistic areas? How can multilingualism enrich mankind’s legal experience; isn’t it enough just to translate laws into English? What is the connection between legal thinking and the words that convey and express it?

The speakers

Sandy Lamalle

Sandy Lamalle is an international consultant and research associate at the Montreal Concordia University. She co-leads an international research group and an intercultural dialogue process on environmental representations and laws, founded in partnership with Future Earth and under the patronage of UNESCO. Her research focuses on legal pluralism, the translation of legal concepts in different legal systems and traditions, legal linguistics and the development of law and international legal language. She is the editor of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (RISJ). She has worked as a consultant in London and as a legal advisor for European and international institutions in Brussels and Geneva. She has a PhD in international law (Geneva) and in European Union law (Strasbourg).

Xavier Thunis

Xavier Thunis has a degree in Law and Economic Law and a PhD in Law from Montpellier University (1994). Since 1991, he has been a professor at Namur University where he teaches contract law, comparative law and environmental law. He has also taken on many administrative and management tasks within the faculties, notably Academic Secretary of the Faculty of Law (1996-1999), Faculty Administrator (2006-2009) and institutional head of the implementation of sustainable development (2008-2012). Outside the university, he is a member of various governing boards and environmental protection associations. His research and publications cover two areas: the legal and philosophical aspects of sustainable development and environmental responsibility, and the relationship between law and literature. The exploration of this second area has resulted in the creation of a course entitled “Law and Language” which attempts to identify the distinctiveness of legal language and the difficulties connected with its translation.

Fadhel Moussa

Fadhel Moussa is a professor in higher education and a researcher in Tunisian universities. He is Dean of the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences in Tunis. He is also an international expert for multiple international organisations and a lawyer registered at the Bar of Tunis. He was elected a member of the constituent assembly on 23rd October, 2011. He represents the modernist democratic division and the Democratic and Social Process in the district of Ariana. He is also a member of the political bureau of the Democratic and Social Process and its national secretary responsible for studies and legal and constitutional initiatives. At the municipal elections in 2018, he announced his return to political life and presided over the Al Afdhel (The Best) list at Ariana, which came first according to the exit polls.

The moderator

Françoise Tulkens

Doctor of law, holder of a Criminology degree and a higher education teaching qualification, Françoise Tulkens was formerly a professor at the University of Leuven (Belgium) who taught general and special penal law, comparative and European law, youth protection law and the human rights protection systems in Belgium and abroad. Judge at the European Court of Human Rights between 1998 and 2012, she was also President of Section from January 2007 and Vice-President of the Court from February 2011. From 2011, she was an associate member of the Royal Academy of Belgium (Technology and Society Class). From 2011 to 2015, she was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the King Baudouin Foundation. In September 2012, she was appointed member of the Human Rights Advisory Panel for Kosovo whose work was concluded in June 2016. Françoise Tulkens has published extensively on human rights and penal law. She is an Honorary Doctor of the Universities of Geneva, Limoges, Ottawa, Ghent, Liege and Brighton.

Practical Information


At the Palais des Académies, rue Ducale 1, 1000 Brussels

On Tuesday December 4th 2018 at 7pm

Discussions in French, translated in English.

Free Entrance

Entrance upon registration only. Thank you for confirming your attendance by clicking on the link below.

Contact: culture(at)

"The World in Archipelagos" is an initiative by the Alliance Française Bruxelles-Europe together with the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, the International Organisation of La Francophonie, Wallonie-Bruxelles International, the Service for Cooperation and Cultural Action of the Embassy of France in Belgium, the Embassy of Luxembourg in Belgium, the Embassy of Switzerland in Belgium, the Québec Government Office in Brussels, the Embassy of Tunisia in Brussels (the Tunisian socio-cultural Centre in Brussels) and the Palais des Académies.