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Ideology in the Courtroom: How Impartial Are Judges?

Plenary / Democracy & the Rule of Law
german language

How strongly and visibly can judges afford to show their convictions without citizens coming to doubt their impartiality? How can the two concepts be reconciled? Is it a restriction of judges’ freedom of opinion when their previous life is disclosed?

Professor of Islamic Law, University of Vienna
President, Austrian Associaton of Judges, Vienna

Dr. Ebrahim AFSAH

Professor of Islamic Law, University of Vienna

 Ebrahim Afsah is currently professor of Islamic law at the University of Vienna and associate professor of international law at the University of Copenhagen, Ebrahim Afsah obtained his law degree from SOAS London, followed by graduate degrees at Trinity College Dublin and Harvard. He worked for a number of years at the MPIL where he was responsible for overseas legal transfer projects, mainly in Afghanistan, followed by a long career as a management consultant focusing on public law and administrative reform in post-conflict settings. In recent years he has been a senior fellow at the EUI (Fernand Braudel), at the Norwegian Centre for Advanced Studies (Nordic Civil Wars in Comparative Perspective), at Harvard Law School (Islamic Legal Studies Program), and the National University of Singapore (Centre for Asian Legal Studies). He shares his life with a German Shepherd named Yoda.

Mag.a Richterin Sabine MATEJKA

President, Austrian Associaton of Judges, Vienna

Studium, Anglistik und Geschichte, Universität Wien Studium, Rechtswissenschaften, Universität Wien Gerichtspraxis, Wien Assistentin der Geschäftsführung und Projektmanagerin, EU Projekte in den Beitrittskandidatenländern im Bereich Gerichtsorganisation, Zivilprozessrecht, Konsumentenschutz, Insolvenzrecht, Asylrecht, CLC - Center of Legal Competence, Wien Richteramtsanwärterin, Oberlandesgericht, Wien Ernennung zur Richterin Sprengelrichterin, Bezirksgericht Favoriten, Bezirksgericht Leopoldstadt, Wien Richterin, Bezirksgericht Leopoldstadt, Wien Ausschussmitglied, Sektion Wien, Vereinigung der österreichischen Richterinnen und Richter, Wien Vizepräsidentin, Vereinigung der österreichischen Richterinnen und Richter, Wien
seit 2009

Political and Legal Symposium

show timetable


17:00 - 18:30Opening of the Political SymposiumPlenary


09:00 - 13:30An Update on European Union LawPartner
09:00 - 12:00Alpbach Mindfulness HikePartner
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 01: Promoting the SDGs in Europe with a Global MindsetBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 02: Experimental Government and the Story of Basic IncomeBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 03: Demography and DemocracyBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 04: Digital Diplomacy vs Digital ColonialismBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 05: How We Benefit from Empowering the Young in PoliticsBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 06: to be announcedBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 07: Extremism, Disinformation and the Role of New TechnologiesBreakout
14:00 - 15:30Opening of the Legal SymposiumPlenary
14:00 - 16:00Security Radar 2019 Ein Weckruf für Europa!Partner
16:00 - 17:00Growing Sustainably: How Can Africa and Europe Work Together?Plenary
16:00 - 17:30Ideology in the Courtroom: How Impartial Are Judges?Plenary
17:30 - 18:30What Can Be Done against the Climate Crisis?Plenary
18:00 - 19:30How Free Is the Press Across the EU?Plenary
19:00 - 20:00What Does the World Think? A Conversation on Fundamental Philosophical QuestionsPlenary
20:30 - 21:30Less Freedom for More Security?Plenary


Alpbach Mindfulness HikePartner


10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 08: Emissions Trading: an Effective Way to Reduce EmissionsBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 09: When Machines Judge PeopleBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 10: How Free Should Trade Be? The Development of European Standards for Trade and Foreign Direct InvestmentsBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 11: International Arms Trade Regulations: A Call for ActionBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 12: Does More Digital Freedom Automatically Mean Less Legal Security?Breakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 13: to be announcedBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 14: Human Rights Under Pressure: The Role of Ombudspersons and National Human Rights InstitutionsBreakout
10:00 - 12:00Breakout Session 15: Security through Liberty: About the Will for Public OrderBreakout
14:00 - 15:30‘Soft Power’ or Defence Union? Military Cooperation in the European UnionPlenary
14:00 - 15:30The Struggle for the Rule of Law: Is the EU Fighting a Losing Battle?Plenary
14:00 - 16:00Liberty and Responsibility: Civil Society in Times of UpheavalPartner
14:00 - 18:00LAW Working GroupsBreakout
14:00 - 18:00Let’s Talk!Breakout
16:00 - 17:30Freedom of Speech at Universities: What Is (Still) Acceptable?Plenary
18:00 - 19:00How Much Courage Does the Law Need?Plenary
20:00 - 23:30ReceptionSocial


09:00 - 12:00Alpbach Mindfulness HikePartner
09:30 - 11:00Brexit: Departure into the UnknownPlenary