Shangjun Tan
National University of Singapore

"CTLS is a fantastic opportunity for building friendships and networks across cultural, linguistic, and transnational boundaries. Whilst other exchange programs usually involve students immersing themselves in a foreign university, CTLS is unique in that it brings together students and professors from over 20 schools on five continents. CTLS is a synergistic combination of legal perspectives from many brilliant minds. We could very well be contemporaries in a particular field of law in the near future, and building bonds of friendship now makes the prospect of future collaboration or interaction even more interesting."

Courses offered
Fall 2017 - Elective Courses

Competition Law

Walter Stoffel, University of Fribourg

This course gives an overview of competition law. It focuses on European competition law, with occasional outlooks at other competition law systems, especially of the United States. The course is divided into two parts.

The first part analyses the institutional and procedural framework, which is quite particular especially in the European Union. The second and most important part deals with substantive competition law where an increasing convergence of the systems can be observed since ten or twenty years. Based on case studies, the course presents the three pillars of competition law, i.e. agreements restricting competition (both horizontal and vertical), abuse of dominance and - to a lesser extent - merger control.

The course's goals are threefold:

  • to give to the student a knowledge of the institutional framework of competition law.
  • to give to the student a general knowledge of the principal concepts governing anticompetitive behaviour.
  • to make the student aware of the specificities of a subject implying legal as well as economic concepts.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (20%); Final take-home exam (8 hours) (80%).

Criminal Law Defenses: Theory, Comparative Perspectives and International Criminal Law

Miri Gur-Arye, Hebrew University

The course will discuss and analyze the various criminal law defenses. It will offer a theoretical basis for analyzing the defenses in criminal law, and will address the rationales of the various defenses and the dilemmas that have arisen regarding some of the defenses. Debated issues, such as whether either duress or necessity should excuse an actor who has sacrificed the life of an innocent person in order to save her own life, will be elaborated.

In addition to the discussion of "classic" defenses, the course will point out contemporary developments, such as a "cultural defense" or a modified self-defense for battered women who kill their attacker while asleep or in otherwise non-confrontational situations.

Throughout the discussion, the different approaches of the Common law and German law will be highlighted. The comparative discussions will relate, in addition, to the defenses under International Criminal Law, as drafted in the ICC Rome Statute (2002) and implemented by the ICC tribunal cases.

2 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%) (bonus of up to 5% for presenting in class a paper describing a criminal law defense in each student's home legal system); Final take-home exam (8 hours) (80%).

Economic Analysis of Civil Law

Hans-Bernd Schäfer, Bucerius Law School

The course contains an analysis of the economic functions of important rules in contract law, tort law and property law in civil law countries. It uses methods as well as normative concepts from economics to better understand desired and undesired consequences of norms. It starts with a general part on the importance of law for promoting or obstructing economic development. It proceeds with the concept of transactions cost and its implication for law, the debate on legal rules versus standards and the fundamental difference between protecting a right with an injunction or a damage award. It further proceeds to contract law, starting with the concept of the fully specified contract, the economic function of specific performance versus expectation damages for breach of contract, the principle of good faith, its pitfalls and economic merits, and the necessity for consumer protection. It continues with economically analyzing the effects of different norms of tort law, including rules of causation, compensation for non-financial damages and for pure economic losses. The course concludes with comparing rules of property law and the protection of property, which can easily be too low or too high thus creating either a tragedy of the commons or a tragedy of the anti-commons.

Prior knowledge of economics is not required. Course materials will be in the English language. 

3 Credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%); Final take-home exam (2500-3000 words, 8 hours) (80%).

Evolution of the International Investment Regime

Christophe Bondy, Volterra Fietta
Lorenza Mola, University of Torino

International investment law has experienced exponential growth over the past twenty years, but its success has also been accompanied by mounting controversy and calls for reform.  States initially pursued international investment agreements ("IIAs") as tools for international economic development.  Would-be international investors were encouraged to export capital, know-how and business networks to developing countries. In return, host States assured non-discrimination, respect of basic international standards of treatment, and a neutral mechanism for resolving claims.  In practice, investor claims under IIAs and resulting decisions by investment tribunals have pushed the substantive and procedural boundaries of the regime.  In recent years, States have reacted to mounting experience of IIA claims with a series of reforms. At the current juncture, the system remains in flux.  

This course will adopt the window of "reform" to consider a range of key substantive and procedural topics in international investment law. By considering controversies regarding the obligations upheld under IIAs, and the process for resolving related disputes, students will obtain a wide-ranging view into contemporary IIA substance, theory and practice. This will include consideration of primary frameworks for understanding IIAs, and the process for developing IIA norms;decision-making by international tribunals;and the particular qualities of dispute resolution systems involving States.

3 Credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%); a research paper (4000 words) based upon one of the topics and its presentation in class (80%).

Foreign Relations Law: US and Comparative Perspectives

Carlos M. Vázquez, Georgetown Law

Foreign Relations Law is the constitutional and statutory law that addresses the distribution of powers among the branches of the government – executive, legislative, and judicial – with respect to the conduct of foreign relations. For example, how are international agreements made, enforced, and terminated? What is the status of international law within the nation's domestic legal order? What are the powers of the various branches with respect to the conduct of diplomatic relations, the control of immigration, or the use of military force? What is the role of the judiciary in controlling the actions of the executive and legislative branches on these and similar questions? This course will examine how these questions are addressed under US law and look at contrasting approaches in other legal systems.

2 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%); Final take-home exam (2500 words, 8 hours) (80%).

Protection of Economic and Social Rights Under International Law

Lorenza Mola, University of Torino

Economic and social rights (i.e., labor rights and rights such as education, health, housing, social security, water and food) are protected under international law at the universal and regional levels, but they have often been disregarded –when not even devastated –during the recent financial and economic crises. The course aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of the international protection of such rights.  After introducing economic and social rights among human rights, the course will give an overview of the international legal tools aimed at their protection (in particular, the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the ILO Conventions and regional treaties) including the procedures set therein to monitor compliance with them or to adjudicate their violations. Also through cases decided by the relevant treaty bodies, such theoretical issues will be addressed as the nature of States' obligations, use of maximum available resources, progressive realization, limitations and regressions –in an age of austerity –, justiciability and remedies.

2 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%); Final take-home exam (2500 words, 8 hours) (80%).

Public Law in a Transnational World

Michael Dowdle, National University of Singapore

This seminar explores how the transnationalization of many domains of social and economic regulation impact the workings and character of public law – i.e., the 'law' that governs how a state is constructed and governed. The course will begin by surveying the regulatory characteristics of public law as it operates in the traditional, Westphalian world, looking in particular at the following issues:

· What does or should a state do?

· How does the state do what it does (i.e., what are its regulatory tools)?

· The regulatory elements of the state (e.g., courts, administrative agencies, civil society);

· The dimensions of constitutionalization (e.g., political constitutionalism;legal constitutionalism;economic constitutionalism);

· How is state power itself (i.e., its elements and tools) constructed and regulated?

Following this, we will then explore how various aspects of transnationalization are affecting and effecting these regulatory characteristics: what does state authority and autonomy look like in the context of legal pluralism and the presence of non-state law?What regulatory tools are better able to respond to the dislocations transnationalization imparts to traditional modes of sovereignty?Does transnationalization impact what it is that a state does and should do?

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class participation (30%)*; a term paper of 4000 words (not including footnotes/citations) (70%).

* Class participation includes participating in class discussions and, depending on class size, possibly also including giving reaction papers and/or class presentations.

One-plus option

For 1 extra credit, up to ten students may write a major research paper. To obtain the extra credit, the student must (1) turn in a written proposal and outline of the paper for instructor comment; (2) turn in a full first draft for instructor comment; and (3) write a paper of 6,000 words, not including footnotes/citations.

If more than ten students express interest in the one-plus option, preference will be given to those who would be using this option to fulfill a graduation requirement at their home university.

Please note that this course has been approved as a WR course for Georgetown students.

Selected Topics in Criminal Law: Comparative Perspectives

Miri Gur-Arye, Hebrew University

Traditionally, fundamental issues with regard to substantive criminal law are based on moral philosophy, such as the debate with regard to the justifications of punishment, or with regard to whether the criminal law should enforce morality as such. The Course will focus on current debates which derive from treating the criminal law as political and sociological institution. The topics that will be discussed will focus on constitutional constrains on substantive criminal law;on the use (overuse?) of the criminal law in time of crisis;and on the impact of the sociological phenomenon of moral panic on the criminal justice system, and on whether the criminal law should impose a duty to inform crimes. These issues will be discussed from comparative perspectives, mainly common law legal systems vs. the German legal system.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%) (bonus of up to 5% for presenting in class a paper describing a criminal law defense in each student's home legal system); Final take-home exam (8 hours) (80%).


Center for Transnational Legal Studies
37-39 High Holborn
London WC1V 6AA, United Kingdom