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 2009 - Elective Courses

Commercial Contracts in a Global Economy:  From National to Transnational and International Law

Pascal Pichonnaz, University of Fribourg
Stephen Waddams, University of Toronto

The course will use contract law to develop a comparative understanding of two of the world's principal types of legal systems:  common law and civil law.  By tracing distinct national approaches to contract doctrines in those two traditions, identifying where they differ and where they converge, we set the stage for learning about leading global efforts to harmonize private law under the pressure of the increasingly global economy.  A principal focus will be the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, a set of principles with growing influence on transnational commercial litigation. This course will critically analyze the ways in which the UNIDROIT principles have worked to harmonize the distinct and sometimes conflicting legal traditions, understandings and expectations of nation-states and contracting parties in the global economy, and will address arguments for and against convergence in the European market.

3 credits. Evaluation: Final in-class exam

Comparative Legal Traditions: Sustainable Diversity in Law

Gary Bell, National University of Singapore

Most comparative law courses focus on teaching the civil law to common law trained students and vice versa.  That approach to comparative law focuses almost exclusively on Western law as now practiced in the West and as imposed as the main economic law of almost all States around the world through colonisation and other forms of Western economic hegemony.  This course will instead introduce a broader array of legal traditions including Islamic law and other religious legal traditions, indigenous (chthonic) legal traditions, and a variety of other legal traditions present in the Asia-Pacific region as examples of the legal diversity outside the West. This foundation offers an alternative and a challenge to Western legal thought.  We will also study how Western civil and common law traditions migrated to and were transformed by post-colonial states, and how legal pluralism, largely abandoned two hundred years ago in the West, is still practiced in many parts of the world.  Today, the civil law or the common law is often only one among many legal traditions recognised by post-colonial States (formal pluralism) or practiced by the people (informal pluralism). The course will make an argument in favour of legal diversity in law - legal pluralism - as an inevitable consequence of multicultural and multi-religious states.  The course will provide a counterpoint to arguments in favour of convergence and uniformity in the name of globalisation.

4 credits. Evaluation: Short Paper and final exam

Comparative Privacy Law

Ugo Pagallo, University of Torino

In the last decade privacy has become a growing concern for the legal systems of both the European Union and the United States. Major forces that have changed our social views about privacy - from the E-revolution in technology to terrorism to globalization - affect both the EU and the U.S. The purpose of this course in to introduce students to this crucial topic of privacy by examining the comparative similarities and differences between EU and US approaches to dealing with these new social forces and our views of privacy. On the one hand, the latest agreement between EU and US on passenger name records (PNR) of air passengers sheds further light on both these similarities and persisting differences. On the other hand, it has become clear that national regulation of many means of communication - and especially the Internet and the World Wide Web - can have transnational effects on privacy. In this part of the course we analyze the structure of the digital world in order to clarify what is really at stake when we discuss privacy from both a jurisprudential and legislative perspectives. To see how both privacy and commercial interests may compete at this transnational level, we undertake a case study of popular peer-to-peer and file-sharing technologies, paying particular attention to their impact in creating an ever-smaller world. The overall goal of the course is to leave the student with a well-balanced and critical approach to the contemporary debate on data protection in a comparative perspective.

3 credits. Evaluation: Final Paper

Dimensions of Private Law

Stephen Waddams, University of Toronto

This course moves beyond traditional subject-matter categories into which core areas of private law are typically divided in order to examine their crucial inter-relations. Topics include liability for economic harms, reliance, strict liability, profits derived from wrongs, and domestic obligations. The premise of this course is that these topics cannot readily be allocated to single conceptual categories; rather, considerations of property, contract, wrongdoing (tort), fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and public policy operate together and influence each other. Comparison will be made between the European civil-law systems and the common-law approaches of England, Canada, other Commonwealth jurisdictions, and the United States.

3 credits. Evaluation: substantial research paper

European Consumer Law: Denationalisation in the Field of Consumer Protection

Pascal Pichonnaz, University of Fribourg

The course will introduce students to a growing and vital area of the law of the European Union:  Consumer Law.  As a result of the unification of Europe's market and accompanying explosion of trans-border commerce, which has been further accelerated by the Internet, consumer law has rapidly proliferated at the national and EU levels and beyond.  The course will teach the fundamentals of consumer law in Europe and introduce students to the nature, development and operation of European law.  The pending efforts to develop a European Civil Code, and questions about the power of the European Union to do so, are heating up as we approach the 2009/2010 target date for issuance of a Common Frame of Reference for harmonized European private law (with a focus on contract law).  Students will learn about dueling approaches to development of a community-wide code, with some reformers favoring reliance on the Acquis Communautaire (the body of European Union law) as the basis of a unified European law, while others advocate reliance on comparative analysis of the domestic contract law of member states of the EU, with a possible conflict emerging from the coexistence of the Common Law and the Civil Law traditions in Europe.  The course raises additional, cutting-edge issues relating to conflict of laws and the use of arbitration and other methods of alternative dispute resolution.

3 credits. Evaluation: 3 hour in-class final exam (70%)


European Union Law

Andrea Biondi, King's College  London

The course offers a general introduction to the legal system of the European Union. It covers both its constitutional and institutional structure and focuses on key areas of substantive law. It starts by introducing the European Union's legal order, and then moves into the EU's legislative process, where it concentrates on the political and legislative functions of the various institutions and the division of competences between the EU and its Member States. The course pays particular attention to the role of the judiciary in shaping the EU's legal order. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) developed the fundamental notions of direct effect and supremacy of European law. Those notions, through which rights are created for European citizens, are examined, and the course subsequently turns to how those rights are enforced at the domestic and EU levels.  European Trade law is studied as “a test caseâ€? to analyse the legal, political and social developments of the European system. We will focus on provisions governing free movement of goods and workers and the freedom to provide services, which have played an important role in the case law of the ECJ and in relevant secondary legislation. This part of the course will also focus on the protection of the environment, the relationship between trade and human rights, and the tension between market forces and sectors such as public health.  We will use the specific materials also to consider broader questions of the role of the EU and the values and polices upon which the European constitutional architecture is founded.

4 credits. Evaluation: Final written exam.

EU Competition Law

Aldo Frignani, University of Torino

This course examines EU antitrust (or competition) law through a historical framework, highlighting how the legal regimes governing competition, market power, and cartels have adapted in response to market pressures, the development of the European Union itself, and globalization.  We will follow the development of competition law through four historical periods:

  • the dismantling of national barriers and the pursuit of economic integration;
  • the rise of community and domestic pro-competitive culture and the passing of domestic laws;
  • the adoption of economic efficiency standards; and
  • the worldwide harmonization of antitrust laws in response to globalization.

The course will illustrate statutory law (including the Treaty and detailed regulations and directives), in the light of case law and legal theory, and employ economic analysis of law.
This 2-credit course will be offered on a compressed schedule, meeting four nights a week for two weeks early in the semester, and for one week later in the semester.

2 credits. Evaluation: Final Paper

International Criminal Law

Klaus Hoffmann-Holland, Free University of Berlin

An independent permanent International Criminal Court is a challenge to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. It is a challenge for international and transnational law as well. The course examines the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, its bases of jurisdiction and the status of states not parties to the statute. It will focus on the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. The course provides an analysis of the general principles of law derived by the International Criminal Court from national laws of legal systems of the world. Topics to be discussed include rights of victims as well as rights of accused, presumption of innocence, rules of legal interpretation and criminal responsibility.

3 credits. Evaluation: Writing Seminar with Final Paper (4000 words)

International Humanitarian Law

Alison Duxbury, University of Melbourne
Klaus Hoffmann-Holland, Free University of Berlin

International Humanitarian Law seeks to regulate the means and methods of warfare, an area of increasingly complexity in the post-9/11 era, as well as to protect the victims of armed conflict and the regulations of the means and methods of warfare.  This course  will discuss the definition of armed conflict, the distinction between international and internal armed conflicts, the rules relating to the protection of the victims of armed conflict, including the civilian population, the application of international humanitarian law principles to peace-keeping forces, and the implementation and enforcement of the law through national and international prosecutions for war crimes.

3 credits. Evaluation: Research essay 4,000 words

International  Legal Institutions

Alison Duxbury, University of Melbourne

This course is designed to provide an analysis of the law and practice of international institutions.  This includes identifying the different types of institutions; the theories that underlie and explain the existence and functioning of international institutions; their legal status in the international community; and the powers contained in their constituent instruments.  It will focus on a case study of a particularly important institution, the United Nations.  In addition, we will examine common issues that cut across a number of different institutions.

3 credits. Evaluation: 3 hour open-book exam


National Security and Human Rights in Transnational and Comparative Perspective

David Cole, Georgetown Law
Colm O'Cinneide, University College London

Terrorism in the 21st century is a transnational phenomenon raising complicated and difficult issues of balancing liberty and security, of cross-border cooperation and jurisdiction, and of international oversight.  This course will focus in particular on how two nations, the United Kingdom and the United States, have responded to the threat of terrorism.  The United Kingdom's response is governed by an international human rights treaty, the European Convention on Human Rights, directly enforceable in UK courts as a result of the Human Rights Act, while the United States' response is principally governed by the U.S. Constitution.  The two countries share a common heritage, but have responded to terrorism in strikingly different ways.  In addition, the course will explore problems of international cooperation raised by international terrorism, including such issues as renditions of suspects to third countries, terrorist financing, and the use of military force to respond to terrorist threats.

3 credits. Evaluation: take-home exam, some short papers during the term, and class participation

Regulation and Development

Diogo R. Coutinho, University  of Sao Paulo
Calixto Salomão Filho, University  of Sao Paulo

The course examines an increasingly important area of law: government regulation designed to influence and encourage economic development.  By presenting the different theories that support (and sometimes condemn) state action towards developmental goals such as growth, sustainability and equality, the course will explore the different roles that domestic and transnational law play in regulating the economy in the 21st century.  We will examine such topics as how to identify legal instruments and strategies to influence the market, the substantive reasons to regulate or liberalize specific economic sectors, and the underlying political economy debates about the role of the state and legal regulation in a highly complex and increasingly globalized capitalist economy.  Practical and more empirical aspects will be covered through case studies discussing successes and failures chosen from a variety of domestic and transnational regulatory experiences, with different legal structures.

3 credits. Evaluation: 2 papers

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