The ultimate goal of justice in the internet society is an even-handed treatment for all consumers who act beyond borders. 

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FLJS academics speak at inaugural Thinkers' Summit, Beijing

FLJS Consumer Rights in China Programme receives wider recognition
18 January 2016

Two leading academics from The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society (FLJS) were invited to speak at the inaugural Thinkers’ Summit at the School for Journalism and Communication at Peking University, Beijing (January 2016).

Professor Denis Galligan and Dr Ying Yu were both asked to present at The Thinkers' Summit of Translingual Communication on Life: Data, Symbol and Wisdom, held on 9-10 January.

The summit was an interdisciplinary event, bringing together thinkers and philosophers, researchers and scholars, specialists and experts on Technology, New Media, Communication Philosophy, Aesthetics, Linguistic Philosophy, History, Economics, International Relations, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Physics and Neurosciences.

Denis Galligan, Director of The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society, Fellow of Wolfson College and Professor of Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University, gave a keynote lecture entitled 'Justice Transcendant'. 

Professor Galligan examined the concept of justice in its various senses, identified its core elements, and considered its meaning in different social contexts.

He argued that among the concepts that remain constant across borders, over time, and throughout diverse societies, justice is foundational. Wherever social relations occur, justice is present as a fundamental sociological concept. It has, in addition, a universal sense with normative appeal across and throughout all known societies. Justice, argued Prof Galligan, is genuinely 'translingual, transborder, and trancendent'.

The question he posed was how the concept has to be re-interpreted in light of unimagined technological advances. How does it apply and what does it mean in the social formations created by the internet, and what are the implications for the society of tomorrow? 

The lecture concluded with the issue of implementation, and the fact that justice in the abstract without mechanisms of implementation and enforcement is without value, a matter often overlooked in philosophical and sociolological accounts. Here, Prof Galligan concluded, the importance of legal justice, due process, and an institutional structure for various forms of dispute resolution become central.

Dr Ying Yu, Coordinator of Consumer Rights in China Programme for the FLJS, Research Fellow, Wolfson College and Faculty of Law, Oxford University, gave a lecture entitled 'Consumers Beyond Borders'.

The consumer, Dr Ying Yu argued, is an identity common to all. It applies to anyone who conducts a transaction online. Consumer society is the most populous of all societies, but it is also a heterogeneous society. The internet functions as a vehicle that transports information to the ends of the earth, yet fairness is only guaranteed when each consumer is treated in a consistent manner.

The barrier of national borders for consumers vanishes as the internet advances. In the new context created by the internet, lex mercatoria regulates and coordinates the social and commercial activity effectively by basing statutory laws on the concept and theory of cosmopolitism. The ultimate goal of justice in the internet society is an even-handed treatment for all consumers who act — and transact — beyond borders. 

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