Call for Papers – 1st HEC Paris Workshop on Regulation: Emergency Regulation under the Threat of a Catastrophe: A Hard Look at the Volcanic Ash Crisis

julio 27, 2010

Call for Papers – 1st HEC Paris Workshop on Regulation

Emergency Regulation under the Threat of a Catastrophe:
A Hard Look at the Volcanic Ash Crisis

The recent Iceland volcanic ash crisis epitomizes the general problem of emergency response in a world of uncertain manufactured and natural risks. A cloud of volcanic ash preventing traveling across an entire continent probably did not feature in the risk-management scenarios of many firms. No surprise that the immediate and drastic regulatory response which followed soon became an uneven political dispute between industry economic power and regulatory science, with consumers caught in the middle. Regulatory systems designed for careful deliberation and cooperative action had to respond almost instantly to a barrage of data arguments and conflicting legal interpretations, with threats of litigation on one side and the risk of loss of human life on the other.


The ash crisis is not the first or the only such problem to have occurred. It is one of a series of recent real or potential catastrophes – natural disasters, terrorism, pandemics – that have taken by surprise globalized firms and partly regulators. As such it represents a rich case study in the problem of emergency regulation and the questions that it raises should concern a wide variety of scholars, regulators and industry analysts whose normal areas of concern are far removed from aviation and volcanoes. Any industry could have a problem which involves the same rapid, fragmented and multilayered regulatory response. Some industries may even have problems or situations which are even more complex than the ash crisis, but it makes a good starting point for conceptual analysis of the problem. According to many, the volcanic eruption will serve as a wake-up call for both companies and regulators that need to modernize their risk management approaches aimed at avert disasters or mitigating their full effects.

How to respond to such emergency problems is a major source of complexities in risk analysis and regulatory decision-taking. Who is competent to conduct the assessment of the hazard? How long does it take? Who is competent to take risk management decisions? Who has the final word on the quality of the safety analysis? Does industry ignore the problem until it finally occurs? How accurate are estimates of costs and benefits? Which risks are insurable? Do regulators tend to overact? What if they do? To what extent do they manage a politically perceived risk rather than the actual one? What are the implications of different schools of technical thought which must be resolved by the regulator? How and by whom should risks be communicated? Which are the consequences stemming from bad emergency regulations adopted in high stress environment? In particular for the EU what are the specific characteristics of EU regulation that make problem easier or harder to solve?

At a time when the impact of the volcanic ash cloud crisis is being closely scrutinized by both public authorities and the affected industries, we propose a workshop with selected speakers and discussants that will retrospectively look at what happened during the worst aviation crisis in European history, and proactively suggest how the lessons learned can affect other regulatory systems which might be faced with similar crises.

This workshop will provide scholars (Phd students, post-docs, researchers and established professors), industry representatives (IATA, CANSO, AEA, ELFAA), policy-makers (EUROCONTROL, EU Commission, National authorities), and scientists (WMO, VAACs) the chance to address some of these hard questions. A group of discussants will provide feedback for authors during their oral presentations. The workshop will conceptualize the response to the volcanic as problem and use that problem as a case in point to explore the general problem of emergency response in an environment where the lines between manufactured and natural risks are increasingly blurred.

Examples of Critical Questions for Participants

  • The role of science and technology in supporting both risk assessment and decision
  • The institutional design and capability of the regulatory system to integrate this information in real time
  • The capability and strategies of the regulatory system to communicate this information to the different stakeholders (industry, consumers, etc) in real time
  • The role of various stakeholders in the system and how their legitimate interests are accommodated

Participants are requested to focus either on the ash crisis itself (a) or on the general lessons to be learned (b). An approach which combines both (a) and (b) would be preferred.

(a) Papers in the ash crisis area might include:

  • The link between aviation/air traffic management and sovereignty
  • Risk analysis in air transport
  • The institutional dimension of EU aviation management and comparative analysis
  • The development of a new EU methodology for safety risk assessment and risk management in relation to the closure and reopening of the airspace
  • The ongoing revision of ICAO Volcanic Ash Guidance Material
  • The future of EU aviation management after SES II (Regulation 1070/2009)
    • Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs)
    • Permanent crisis coordination cell
    • Central EU network management
    • EASA’s competence in Air Traffic Management (ATM)
  • The international framework of civil aviation safety (ICAO, EASA, US FAA, etc)
  • The impact of the volcanic ash crisis on several EU legislative frameworks
    • Passenger rights regulation (Regulation 261/2004)
    • EU Package Travel Directive
    • Emission Trading Scheme (Directive 2008/101)
    • Slots regulation (Regulation 95/93)
    • State Aids (107.2b of TFEU)

(b) Papers in the generalized area might include:

  • Risk analytical techniques that promise real time data useable for a regulator
  • Role of industry risk planning and insurance
  • Risk communication under the threat of a catastrophe
  • Conceptual problems not captured in the volcanic ash case study e.g. the role of individual consumer action or variation in personal susceptibility
  • Special problems in regulation where key actors are not included in the traditional regulatory process


Alberto Alemanno, Associate Professor of Law at HEC Paris and Editor of the European Journal of Risk Regulation
Vincent Brannigan, Professor Emeritus, A. James Clark School Engineering, University of Maryland, USA


The focus is a two day workshop at HEC Paris, to be held on 10-11 November 2010. There will be no cost for presenters to attend the workshop. Both their accommodation and reasonable traveling costs will be covered.


A selection of the papers presented at the workshop will be refereed and edited for appearance as a symposium in the European Journal of Risk Regulation (EJRR) 2011. An edited volume comprising all the presented papers with a well regarded law publisher is also planned.

Proposal Submission

Proposals, including a title and 300-word abstract are due 15 September 2010. Send proposals to:
Alberto Alemanno alemanno@hec.fr and Vincent Brannigan firelaw@firelaw.us

A %d blogueros les gusta esto: