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School of Law

CLSGC Seminar: 'Risk-Based Governance of Terrorism Financing and the Fate of Legal Responsibility' by Dr Nathanael Ali

30 November 2016

Time: 3:00 - 4:00pm
Venue: Room 313, Third Floor, Law Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS United Kingdom

Ad hoc seminar on 'Risk-Based Governance of Terrorism Financing and the Fate of Legal Responsibility' by Dr Nathanael Ali (Erasmus University) hosted by the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC).


This talk introduces, problematizes and lays-out a research agenda regarding the recent rise of a risk management approach in the global governance of terrorism financing. Risk management is an orientation to pre-emptively tackle problems not just by responding to concrete threats but also by reducing potential vulnerability itself. This approach to global anti-terrorism financing challenges our understanding of legal responsibility in decision-making for at least two reasons. First, instead of having well-defined rules, risk management works by oscillating between broad principles/standards/metrics adopted at the global level and locally-variegated implementation by individual financial institutions, which are given wide discretion in doing so. This does not sit well with our understanding of responsibility as a concept triggered in the presence of well-defined rules against which fault could be established. Secondly, because risk management is by nature a predictive exercise about potential future criminality, it is by definition reliant on uncertain knowledge. In this case, the challenge to establishing responsibility is the difficulty of locating the exact point at which fault arises – if the very design permits wide discretion in filling a factual void, precisely for what and why should responsibility be conceived? Or should we think of responsibility in altogether new ways than rules and fault?

About the Speaker

Dr Nathanael Tilahun Ali is a lecturer in public international law at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He is also a post-doctoral researcher and coordinator of a major interdisciplinary research project on rule of law at Erasmus. During his visit at Queen Mary, he will be developing research projects that study the involvement of private companies in immigration control and the advent of risk management approach in international governance of terrorism financing, to be submitted to the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Dr Ali has previously held visiting fellowships at the Lauterpacht Center for International Law in Cambridge and Hofstra University in New York. Dr Ali's visit is from 1 September till 31 December 2016, and he can be reached at or


For directions to the venue, please refer to the map.

How to book

This event is free but prior booking is required. Register online via Eventbrite.


For more information on this event, please email

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