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
Spring 2018 - Elective Courses

Anti-Discrimination Law

Christian Armbrüster, Free University of Berlin
Scott Stephenson, University of Melbourne

Anti-discrimination law is an important area of law that cuts across the public/private divide. In private law, the principle of non-discrimination on grounds such as ethnic origin, religion, gender or age originates in labour law, but has now expanded to become an integral part of general contract law. Thus, in the last two decades essential steps towards comprehensive rules on non-discrimination in contractual relationships have been taken by the EU, which partly go beyond those that apply in the US, where the topic has been on the agenda for a longer period of time. In public law, it has become increasingly common for constitutions to contain anti-discriminations provisions in bills of rights and for legislatures to enact comprehensive anti-discrimination statutes. As a result, judges and legislators are regularly faced with difficult questions regarding how the principle of anti-discrimination is to be balanced against competing interests, such as national security or free speech.

This course will engage with both the private and public dimensions of anti-discrimination law in a range of situations and countries. Topics include the scope of discretion of Church organizations in labour law, the justification for differences in insurance premiums based on gender, the legitimacy of limiting free speech to prevent hate speech, and the ability of schools to discriminate in favour of certain groups to ensure a diverse student body. In doing so, the course will discuss some of the more fundamental questions that anti-discrimination law raises, such as its compatibility with the principle of private autonomy in contractual relationships and its interrelationship with the constitutional principle of equality.

3 Credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%); A research paper (4,000 words) based upon one of the topics and its presentation in class (80%).

Comparative Constitutional Law

Scott Stephenson, University of Melbourne

This course provides an introduction to the field of comparative constitutional law, which seeks to understand and evaluate the purposes and functions of constitutions using comparative analysis. The object of the field is to help elucidate difficult questions such as: Should a constitution have a bill of rights and, if so, which type? How should courts decide cases? Is it legitimate for courts to invalidate laws enacted by a democratically elected legislature? Do executive governments have too much power? What is the purpose of a federal system of government? Are constitutions effective at protecting human rights and democratic government?

The first part of the course will investigate some of the methodological difficulties associated with the study of comparative constitutional law. It will consider, for example, how to take into account differences in culture and context, the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of comparative analysis, and the limits of constitutional comparison.

The second part of the course will examine a number of constitutional issues through a comparative lens. The case studies will touch on a diverse range of topics, such as the protection of human rights, the role of the judiciary, the design of constitutions, federalism, and the separation of powers.

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

Comparative Tort Law and Liability Insurance Law

Christian Armbrüster, Free University of Berlin

Any economic or private activity implies risks of liability in tort. For example, the driver of a car may be responsible for the damage caused by an accident, while the car manufacturer incurs the risk of product liability for defects of the car. In practice, these risks are often transferred to an insurance company. The course examines, in a transnational and comparative perspective, both topics –Tort Law and Liability Insurance Law –as well as the interrelationship between them. A special focus will be on the effects of digitalisation on responsibility in tort. Thus we will explore the following questions: Who has to cover damages caused by autonomous cars? Which are the monitoring duties of software manufacturers? How does insurance against cyber attacks work? Further topics include liability for unknown risks (such as nanotechnology) and for environmental damages (including "Dieselgate"), compensation of pure economic loss, and mass tort litigation. Insights into legal practice will be offered by integrated field trips to a Court hearing, a solicitors' office and an insurance company.

3 credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (20%); A research paper (4,000 words) based upon one of the topics and its presentation in class (80%).

One-plus option

For 1 extra credit, up to six 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 not yet been approved as a WR course for Georgetown students.

Developing Countries in the World Trading System

Moshe Hirsch, Hebrew University

The course focuses on several major topics regarding economic development and the position of developing countries in the contemporary World Trade Organization (WTO) law. The course addresses the principal dimensions and measurement of "underdevelopment" (GDP, GNI and the Human Development Index), the major approaches to development (the modernization, dependency, developmental state, neo-liberal and neo-institutional approaches). Following a discussion of the central principles of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (including the MFN principle, tariffs, non-tariff barriers, national treatment and the general exceptions) special emphasis will be placed on the special position of developing countries in the WTO legal system. Thus, for instance, we will explore certain reciprocal and non-reciprocal elements of the GATT/WTO regime, trade in agricultural and textile products, technical standards, bilateral agreements between developing and developed countries, and intellectual property law (regarding patent protection).

2 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%); A research paper (2,500-3,000 words) (80%).

Ocean Law and Policy

David Caron, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London

This course concerns the international law relating to the oceans. The text used is Donald Rothwell and Tim Stephens, The International Law of the Sea (2nd Ed., Hart, 2016). To further illustrate the law through a current controversy, the text will be supplemented by references to the 2016 Arbitral Award in the South China Sea Arbitration. Topics include the history of law of the sea, the treaty framework and dispute resolution for subjects such as fisheries, climate change, shipping and law enforcement. A field trip is planned. Because Professor Caron is in The Hague as a Member of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal for some weeks during the term, the course will be scheduled with two two hour blocks per week so that rescheduling of classes is not necessary. The detailed syllabus will specify the exact dates that the course will meet. 

2 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%), Final take-home exam (2,500 words, 8 hours) (80%).

The Asylum Seekers' Protection

Manuela Consito, University of Torino

The aim of the course is to focus on the definition of alien, to better understand the different categories of people that could be defined in such a way.

Among these, the regulation of immigration and the legal status of foreigners who "escape" from their own country for different reasons will be examined.

The aim is to understand the legal differences between refugee status, stateless status and the international and subsidiary protection of foreigners and how they can differ in different legal orders.

Particular attention will be devoted to the right to asylum as it is defined by international regulations and how it deals, nowadays, with the increasing affirmation of State sovereignty.

The differences between the rise of a human right once defined as ius peregrinandi and the more recent legal boundaries that have led to a more restrictive definition of ius migrandi will be examined.

The many "ideas" underlined in the definition of "citizenship" as outlined in different States will be analysed too.

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

The Movement of Professionals

Manuela Consito, University of Torino

The aim is to overview the rules of mutual recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications as a way to promote the free movement and establishment of professionals by analysing it under a European and international (WTO-GATS) perspective.

The topic refers to the free movement and establishment of professionals specifically by focusing on intellectual migration.

Particular attention will be devoted to the rules of the training demanded for admission to the professions –i.e. medical doctors or lawyers - by deepening the so called "legal value" of diplomas and qualifications, with an overview of the relevant case law.

According to the migration profiles, the course aims to deepen the issue of the recognition of qualifications (academic and professional) by discussing the different mutual recognition systems - automatic recognition, de facto recognition, general recognition – with the purpose of giving a close interpretation of their evolution.

Attention will also be paid to the requirements demanded to enter a profession, including national licensing, training and enrollment onto special registers or lists, and to the related profiles of free movement and establishment of professionals, which ultimately are stated as the mobility of highly skilled workers and the "brain drain".

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


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