Wert Urteile - Judging Values

International Congress on Justice and Human Values in Europe – A conference to accompany the German EU Council Presidency, Karlsruhe, 9 – 11 May 2007

The programme will examine the cultural dimension of legal decisions which accentuate important values in society. The issues placed on the programme's agenda will continue to shape the societal discourse on values in a number of European countries for years to come and will certainly be expressed in concrete legal decisions. The programme will focus on issues in two major areas:

1. How the legal reality of the EU assesses the value of "human life"
- The use of human embryos for research purposes
- Punitive nature of assisted suicide
- Life-support medicine and economy in an aging society
- Punitive nature of abortion

2. Religious values, cultural environment and legal positioning
- The use of religious symbols, e.g., the headscarf worn by Muslim women
- Criminal law and multiculturalism, e.g., the so-called "honour killings"
- Protection of religious symbols and feelings, e.g., religious caricatures

Speakers and participants

Internationally renowned legal scholars and experts will speak on the social aspect of value-based legal decisions. Cultural scholars, bio-ethicists and religious experts will contribute to the discussion by addressing the cultural differences in various countries. Experts on the value debate will apply the alternative method for their discussion as suggested by the congress.

Professionals in all cultural-scientific disciplines, as well as legal scholars and policymakers in the fields of law and politics are invited to participate in the congress.

The congress is especially targeted at scholars in the fields of law, bioethics and theology with an interest in a cross-border debate on values and their legal interpretation. The event is explicitly not a conference for legal experts only. The congress welcomes all individuals who are involved in or politically address such issues as assisted suicide or the headscarf debate in Europe.


The Federal Cultural Foundation organized a congress in 2004 titled "A Soul for Europe" that became a major and highly recognized platform for the cultural dimension of European unity in political life. However, public discourse on the actual substance of European culture, the existence of common and unique cultural values within Europe often had no empirical substantiation. Therefore, the board of trustees at the Federal Cultural Foundation decided to support an idea proposed by Karlsruhe as part of its bid to become a European Capital of Culture.

The result was a large, interdisciplinary conference with internationally renowned experts to explore and discuss the relationships between culture and law. The congress will examine how values influence the concrete (legal) decisions concerning major societal conflicts, and to what degree these values differ from one European country to another. The focus on two socially-political and culturally controversial subject areas will better illustrate the relevance of the issues for the general population.


Kongressbüro Karlsruhe 2007
Dr. Fokke Peters

Schanzenstr. 43

20357 Hamburg

Tel. 040 67305838