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 2012 - Elective Courses

Choice of Court Agreements

Margherita Salvadori, University of Torino

Choice of court agreements are an important part of international commercial litigation. They are agreements between litigants about which country´s courts have jurisdiction over their dispute. This course will examine choice of court agreements and the major international instruments that regulate them. The Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements, not yet entered into force, offers the global community a new instrument to enhance legal certainty and predictability with respect to choice of court agreements in international commercial transactions.   

The Brussels I Regulation shares the aim of the Hague Convention, but important differences arise when the operational systems of the two instruments and their respective scopes of application are compared.

The Brussels I Regulation Recast includes two amendments which aim at improving the effectiveness of choice of court agreements. First, where the parties have designated a particular court to resolve their dispute, the proposal gives priority to the chosen court to decide on its jurisdiction, regardless of whether it is first or second seized. Second, the proposal introduces a harmonised conflict of law rule on the substantive validity of choice of court agreements, thus ensuring a similar outcome no matter which court is seized. Both modifications reflect the solutions established in the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements.

The course purposes are: first of all, the analysis of choice of court agreements, focusing in particular on their efficacy; second, studying the recognition and enforcement of judgments from the elected-for court within the territorial scope of application of each instrument. The course will include the analysis of judicial decisions (with special attention on ECJ case law).

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (25%), Final In-Class Exam (75%).

Comparative Criminal Law

Stanley Yeo, National University of Singapore

This course introduces students to the application of the theory and methodology of comparative law to substantive criminal law. It builds on a student´s prior knowledge of a basic course in criminal law by comparing selected general principles of the law with those found in Australia, Canada, England, India, New Zealand and Singapore. Some of the general principles of the Statute of the International Criminal Court will also be studied. Topics covered include the fault elements of murder and of criminal negligence, the principles of causation, consent in sexual assault, the defences of provocation, private defence, duress, necessity and insanity, and the Dutch and German laws on culpable homicide. Although the primary focus will be on the criminal law of common law jurisdictions, students from civil law jurisdictions will be given ample opportunity to discuss and compare their laws during classes and assignments.


The insights gained by students from comparative analyses of these topics will sharpen their appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the criminal law of particular jurisdictions, and enhance their ability to view law from wider theoretical, sociological and reform perspectives.


3 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (20%), Leading Seminar Discussion (20%), Final Take-Home Exam (2500 words, 8 hours) (60%).

Comparative Income Taxation

Markus Heintzen, Free University of Berlin

Income taxation is governed by national laws. Even the European Union has almost no legislative powers to harmonize income taxation between its member states. However, economic realities, which income taxation is based on, have grown ever more international throughout the last decades. Therefore a comparative look at different systems of income taxation is of great scientific but also economic and fiscal interest. To create a basis for comparison, the essential elements constituting income tax laws will be introduced and analyzed: taxable persons, object of taxation, taxable base, tax scale. The course will then put particular focus on business or job-related expenses and personal deductions, but also on the distinction between resident and non-resident tax liability and examine similarities and differences between various income tax systems. The main focus will lie on US, British and German income tax law, however, participating students will be given the opportunity to discuss and compare the income tax systems of their home countries. The course is suitable for students with no or little previous experience in tax law.

3 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (20%) and Final In-Class Closed Book Exam (80%).

Economic Analysis of Private Law

Doron Teichman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The economic analysis of law has become one of the most influential legal movements in the last decades. This course will offer students an introduction to the basic concepts of this field. Students will initially be familiarized with the foundations of economic reasoning such as efficiency and rationality. That done, we will turn to revisit the core areas of private law: contacts, torts and property, and analyze them from an economic perspective.

The course does not require any background knowledge in economics.

3 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (20%), Final Take-Home exam (2500 words) (8 hours) (80%)

Human Rights Seminar: Freedom of Expression

Judith Lichtenberg , Georgetown Law
Margherita Salvadori, University of Torino

Drawing on the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, this course will explore the origins, evolution, theory, and practice of international human rights law since the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We will examine the moral and philosophical foundations and meaning of human rights, including conceptions of human rights as 'negative' and 'positive', as well as central legal issues. We will concentrate our attention on the right to freedom of expression, looking first at the classical justifications and applications and then at freedom of expression in the digital age, asking exactly what it means and how to balance its claims with those of other rights and other values such as privacy, national security, and intellectual property.

3 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (25%), Final Take-Home exam (2500 words) (75%). The exam question will be distributed prior to the exam period.

International Economic Law after the Global Financial Crisis

Annamaria Viterbo, University of Torino

The course focuses on the role of international economic law (IEL) in ensuring global financial stability and international monetary stability, which are described as global public goods.
The course is divided into four thematic modules.
The first module will describe the international financial institutions established after World War II (the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank) and how they are being reformed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

The second module will analyse the emerging global financial architecture and the respective roles of standard-setting bodies, the G20, the Financial Stability Board and the IMF.
The third module will focus on capital controls as a policy tool to prevent and manage financial crises. The aim will be to verify whether States still have room for manoeuvre to deploy capital controls or if they are tied by trade and investment agreements.

The fourth module will be devoted to the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis. Attention will be paid to the new financial stabilisation mechanisms (such as the European Stability Mechanism), to the IMF-EU cooperation as well as to the Greek debt restructuring.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (including presentation) (20%), Take-Home Exam (8 hours) (80%)

International Refugee Law

Satvinder Juss, King's College London
Aims of the Course

Overall Aim: The main aim is to consider international refugee law within the context of institutional mechanisms addressing refugees, and to undertake a critical review of the evolving strategies for protection of the refugee under international, regional and domestic law. The specific objectives of this course are: to examine the origins and evolution of refugee law and the refugee 'regime' during the past century; to understand who is protected by international, regional and domestic refugee law; to assess the scope and limits of the refugee's rights; to investigate various legal and policy impediments to asylum-seeking; and to explore international and regional approaches to the protection of forced migrants.   

Contents of the Course

International refugee law is an example of the most important practical of human rights law to vulnerable individuals. Therefore, this course will explore the overlap between International Refugee Law, Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Assistance, the phenomenon of legal and illegal Migration, including Human Trafficking in the context of refugees, persons displaced within states during armed conflict, legal and illegal migrants.   

To this end, it will be necessary to understand the concepts of: the definition of refugees, internally displaced persons, legal and illegal migrants, including trafficking in human beings; the idea of 'well-founded fear' of persecution and group eligibility to refugee protection; procedures for determining refugee status on an individual and group basis (with some reference to what is going on in Africa, Asia, Australia, the European Union, North America, and Latin America); temporary protection; the process of exclusion from refugee protection and individual criminal responsibility for persecution and associated crimes; the role of the ad hoc Tribunals with criminal jurisdiction and the International Criminal Court; the role, in refugee law and human rights, of the principle of non-refoulement in refugee protection; the cessation of refugee status, voluntary repatriation, and safe return; standards applicable in international law to the protection of refugees, internally displaced persons, migrants, and evolving standards against human trafficking; and the regulation of migration in regional the European Union.

By the end of this course the students should be able to: (i) articulate and explain the international regime designed to protect refugees and developments since inception; (ii) demonstrate a knowledge and critical analysis of the comparative implementation of the Refugee Convention 1951 and Additional Protocol at the domestic level; (iii)evaluate the relationship between refugee law, Human Rights and policy considerations at the international, regional and domestic level through the understanding of case studies; and (iv)research and present a critical paper on refugee law and policy.

3 Credits. Evaluation: 3-hour In-Class Examination, where students will do 3-questions from a choice of nine (80%) Class Participation, requiring students to make the most of the course (20%)

Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, Identity Seminar

Karen Knop, University of Toronto
Judith Lichtenberg, Georgetown University

Behind the legal rights and duties studied in law school is the more fundamental distribution of membership in a national community performed by our immigration and citizenship laws, language and labor requirements, census enumerations, and countless other acts of recognition, inclusion, and exclusion. International law also distributes membership, through such basic legal concepts as statehood, nationality and statelessness, and the self-determination of peoples, while potentially also differentiating membership through rules for the recognition of new states, forms of post-conflict peace-building, and rights specific to indigenous peoples, minorities, migrant workers, or other groups. Within and even across most states are groups of people who share deep and abiding cultural loyalties - groups we might well call nations.

Where states are mainly political and territorial entities, nations are more properly understood as communities of cultural relatedness. National identity and loyalty can be more powerful than many collective identities; it can also intertwine with other identities, such as class, race, ethnicity, religion, and language; and it can conflict with identities such as gender and sexuality. The invigoration of nationalism has played a part in the great political shifts and conflicts of the last few decades: the breakup of the former Soviet Union, the bloodshed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the realignment of Eastern Europe, and the populist revolutions of the Middle East. Europe, Canada, and the United States continue to struggle with the cultural diversity within their own borders, a struggle that has resulted in the abandonment of multicultural policies, debates over immigration, and increases in nationalistic rhetoric.

This seminar will focus on the commitments, associations, philosophies, and legal techniques used to develop and contest national identities. The seminar will examine, from an interdisciplinary perspective, the phenomenon of nationalism; various theories and manifestations of nationalism; the role of law, national and international, in the construction of cultural identity; and alternative forms of belonging and banishment, such as cosmopolitanism, tribalism, statelessness, and global forms of citizenship.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (25%) and Final Paper of 3000 words together with the proposal for a paper topic and a first draft (75%).

One-plus option:

This course is being offered for two credits. We will accept a maximum of eight students for the "one-plus option", giving priority to students who are fulfilling a writing requirement at their law school. Students taking this option will receive three credits; they will write a paper of 6000 words, excluding footnotes.

Perspectives on Crime and Criminal Justice

Doron Teichman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Stanley Yeo, National University of Singapore 

This course offers insights on selected topics in the areas of crime control and criminal justice. The perspectives of several jurisdictions on these topics will be studied and compared from a critical perspective. This analysis will deepen participants understanding of certain core concepts of criminal justice and policy questions relating to crime control. Students will be challenged to decide which perspective has the strongest claim, and what is needed to transform a deficient perspective into a correct one. Some of the topics to be discussed in this class include: jurisdictional competition in criminal law, corporate criminal responsibility, gender and criminal responsibility, ethnicity, indigenous peoples and criminal justice, decriminalizing physician assisted suicide; criminalizing prostitution, and the desired scope of judicial discretion with respect to sentencing.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (25%), Three reading reaction papers (800 words each) (15%), Final Take-Home Exam (2500 words, 8 hours) (60%)

State Liability in Tort

Roberto Caranta, University of Torino
Markus Heintzen, Free University of Berlin
This course has two components:
  1. the analysis of how selected jurisdictions (Germany, France, and England) approach the liability of the State and other public law entities. The differences which will be observed are not confined to the civil law/common law dichotomy: while Germany and England have mainly tried to adapt if not to bend private law concepts and rules to apply them to these torts, France has developed a specific public law approach to State liability;
  2. the study of both how these different models have influenced the liability of EU institutions and which specific principles have been developed by the ECJ to address the liability of Member States and their institutions for breaches of EU law.

Although the primary focus will be on EU law, students from other jurisdictions will be given ample opportunity to discuss and compare their laws during classes and assignments.

3 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (30%), Two reading reaction papers (800 words each) (20%), Final In-Class Closed Book Exam  (50%).

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