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 2014 - Elective Courses

Human Rights

Farrah Ahmed, University of Melbourne
Satvinder Juss, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London

This course explores the philosophical foundations of human rights and the legal protection of human rights. With a focus on the UK's Human Rights Act of 1998 as a case study of national implementation of human rights, the course will study the protection accorded to the right against torture, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, non-discrimination, the right to life, as well as human rights in emergency situations.

3 Credits. Evaluation: Attendance and Class Participation (25%), Final Paper of 4,000 words together with the proposal for a paper topic and a first draft (75%).

International Commercial Dispute Resolution

Sherman Cohn, Georgetown Law
Alberto Oddenino, University of Torino

Lawyers in every country represent businesses who do business in other countries or sell to other persons in other countries or in other ways become involved in commercial transactions that go beyond the boundaries of their home nation.  In the inevitable way of commercial life, disputes arise.  Often, perhaps most often, those disputes are resolved through informal negotiations between the parties.  But, of course, some of those disputes require more formal proceedings, including court proceedings and international commercial arbitration.  This course explores both avenues.

Concerning international commercial court proceedings, the emphasis will be on court proceedings in the United States, though there will be discussion of such proceedings in other legal systems on a comparative basis.  Thus, there will be introduction to both the legal profession and the court system in each country, as well as a development of those portions of the procedural system that are most pertinent to international commercial disputes, subjects such as personal jurisdiction over foreign defendants, the obtaining of judgments, res judicata, and enforcement of judgments.  A paperback book on Civil Litigation in Comparative Context will furnish the text for this discussion.

Concerning arbitration, students will be introduced to the fundamental principles of international commercial arbitration as one of the preferred dispute resolution mechanisms for transnational disputes. In a first part the attention will be devoted to the nature, the main features and the types of arbitration. The second part, more practical and mainly conducted through cases, also simulated,  will adress some of the most relevant contemporary issues such as arbitrability of the dispute, scope of application of the arbitral clause beyond the signatories, confidentiality, independence of the arbitrators, international public policy and mandatory rules. Some selected readings and case law will provide the basis for dicussion.

3 Credits. Evaluation: Attendance and Class Participation (20%); Take-Home Exam (8 hours) (80%).

International Law and Globalization

Alberto Oddenino, University of Torino

International Law is undeniably affected and reshaped by globalization. The process of erosion of state sovereignity is coupled with the overcoming of some classical features of the international legal order as an eminently inter-state regime. The course examines how globalization has transformed and is transforming international law, the concept of sovereignty and the role of states.

The first part of the course will describe the main westfalian features of the international legal order and the way they have been reshaped by the post Second World War evolution.

The second part will concern the Global Economic Governance model which is at the meantime consequence and mirror of globalization. Through the exam of some institutional pillars and of some concrete examples it will be given evidence to the great expanding force of this model, based on a conception that stands in opposition to conventional ideas of hierarchical governing. In this context, particular attention will be devoted to the role of private actors (among others: multinational enterprises, international standardization bodies, credit rating agencies, NGOs, individuals) and their relationship with more 'classical' international law subjects, namely states and international economic organizations such as WTO, IMF and the Bank.

The third and final part will try to assess the impact of the Global Economic Governance model on the general pattern of International Law, well beyond the merely economic sphere, and will investigate the option of its renovated  role for the affirmation of an international rule of law.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Attendance and Class Participation (20%); Take-Home Exam (8 hours) (80%).

Law, Institutions and Development

Mariana Prado, University of Toronto

In the 1990s, an institutional perspective became prominent in development thinking. Based on the work of new institutional economists this perspective proposes that people respond to incentives, and that institutions produce these incentives. This line of thinking points out that developing and transitional economies struggle because their institutional incentives are ill-suited for economic growth. This thesis has found strong empirical support and has prompted a massive surge in development assistance and billions of dollars for institutional reform projects in developing and transitional economies under the rubric of "Rule of Law Reforms". However, these reforms have seen mixed results so far.

This seminar will examine the theory and the practice behind the idea that law and institutions can promote development in less developed countries. The topics that will be addressed include: competing conceptions of development: economic, political and social; theories of economic growth; the New Institutional Economics; democracy and development; public administration and development; competing theories of the role of law in development; ethnic diversity; corruption; land and property rights reform; infrastructure and development; state-owned enterprises: privatization and reform; foreign investment and trade policy; and the role of foreign aid and international institutions in development.

2 Credits. Evaluation:  Attendance and Class Participation (20%), five Reaction Papers (750 words each on selected readings for five of the classes) (40%), Final Paper (3,750 words) on one of the topics discussed in the course (40%).

Legal Responses to Culture and Religion

Farrah Ahmed, University of Melbourne

In the context of contemporary debates across jurisdictions on the appropriate legal response to the demands of culture and religion, this course will explore the following themes:

  • Is the legal protection of religious freedom justified? What should the scope of such protection be?
  • What are the demands multiculturalism makes on the law? Is multiculturalism bad for women? How should the law respond to multiculturalism?
  • How should the law respond to demands for the accommodation of religious and cultural norms within state legal systems? The recent demands for accommodation of religious (especially Islamic) norms within family law will be explored.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Attendance and Class Participation (30%); Take-Home Exam (8 hours) (70%).

Media and Telecommunications Law from a Transnational Perspective

Ido Baum, The Haim Striks School of Law, Colman

Information seems to flow easily across borders., but nation states strive to control telecommunications infrastructure, broadcast platforms (satellite, cable, IPTV), media outlets (regardless of whether they are digital, print, broadcast or converged), and most importantly - content. Often, governments succeed. In this course we will discuss the legal ways by which states respond to cross-border media and telecommunications challenges.

We will address the rationales for government regulation (and de-regulation) of the media and telecommunications markets, as well as the persistence of some regulatory approaches in the face of technological convergence. We will underscore the assumption that freedom of speech is a fundamental tenet of democracy, but we will consider its varying interpretations and applications in different nations. Accordingly, regulatory approaches and their implementation will be analyzed in light of different freedom of speech regimes.

The policy issues examined  in this course will include mono- and cross-media and platform ownership  restrictions, with particular attention to foreign ownership and to  independence of content providers vis-à-vis owners; promotion of competition  across platforms (access rights and "must-carry" obligations); and promotion  of cultural values and a free market for ideas in ways that protect national  and minority language rights (such as programming quotas).  We will also consider the transnational  implications of liability for defamation and privacy breaches.

Finally, we will consider whether governments should step in to support media that face dire financial straits.  We will discuss how such support might be given and to what extent the trans-border nature of media should influence such decisions.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (20%). Final Paper (3,500 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography)  (80%).

Principles of European Contract Law

Chantal Mak, Amsterdam Law School

This course gives an introduction to the law of contract governing transactions within the European Union. Adopting a horizontal and interdisciplinary approach, the focus lies on fundamental questions in the field of European contract law, such as:

  • What is the function of contract law?
  • Under what conditions is a party considered bound by a contract?
  • What are the limits to freedom of contract?
  • Which remedies are available in case of breach of contract?
  • Should contract law be further harmonised within the EU?

The discussion of these questions will draw on examples from three major legal systems in Europe (France, Germany, England) as well as consider the influence of EU law on the contract laws of these countries. It will include insights from contract law theory, as well as the economic, political and legal-philosophical analysis of law.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class Presentation and Class Participation (30%) and Final Paper (4,000-6,000 words,  including title page, footnotes and bibliography) (70%).

Rights, Resources, and Global Health

Gregg Bloche, Georgetown Law
Mariana Mota Prado, University of Toronto

What is "health," and what role does medical care have in maintaining it?  Do policies that promote health also advance social and economic development?  Or is development more cause than consequence of good health.  We will consider these questions and their implications for both international and domestic law.  This course will begin with an exploration of the meaning of health; the social, economic, and other influences that shape it, and the place of health and medical care in development policy.  We will then consider the significance and contours of the international human right to health, as well as domestic constitutional rights to health and medical care in several illustrative nations.  Next, the course will address health care access and resource allocation.  After a primer on health care economics, we will compare public and private sector approaches to providing and paying for medical care.  We will then turn to the possible role of law in addressing soaring health care spending - a global dilemma that threatens the sustainability of the welfare state.  The course will conclude with some good news - dramatic, worldwide improvement in the health of populations in recent decades.  We will explore the possible lessons, from this success, for the transnational law of health and medical care.

3 credits. Evaluation: Class Participation and In-Class Exercises (30%), Final Take-Home Exam (8 hours)  (70%).

Social Contract Theories in the Global World

César Arjona, ESADE Law School

Ever since Thomas Hobbes published his Leviathan in the mid 17th century, theories of social contract have been prominent in modern Western legal and political thinking, and they provide for the most widely accepted justification of liberal democracies. But questions arise as to their adaptation to the post-Westphalian global world. As traditional theories of the social contract still valid as such? Or do these theories need significant adaptations in a world in which matters of justice and politics fall increasingly outside the powers of national governments? Or should we simply discard the social contract and look for new sources of legitimation for legal and political power?
The course is conceived as a reading and writing seminar, and will proceed along three "progressive" stages: (1) a general review of the traditional social contract theories as they were developed by European thinkers during the 17th and 18th centuries (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau); (2) the study of the contemporary version of the social contract developed in the 20th century by the North-American philosopher John Rawls, and (3) an examination of the criticism offered by the Indian-born economist and social thinker Amartya Sen in his recent book The Idea of Justice. We will review Sen's claim that the social contract theory in general (and Rawls' version in particular) is ill adapted to the global world, and discuss his proposed alternative for a theory of justice.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (30%). Take-home Exam (8 hours) (70%).

One-plus option 

2-credit students will do a final 8-hours take-home exam. A maximum of eight students will be accepted 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; instead of doing an exam, they will write a paper of at least 6,000 words, excluding footnotes.

Transnational Perspectives on Corporate Governance and Securities

Ido Baum, The Haim Striks School of Law, Colman

Diversification is the first rule of good investment. It therefore follows that capital often seeks transnational investment opportunities. This course will examine the implications of globalization on corporate governance (CG) and securities law, by a comparative study of different forms of CG and their interaction, and by considering how CG norms and relevant CG actors network, compete or converge across borders.
We will start by thinking about the various meanings and goals of CG. Two key questions will follow: who owns the corporations and who controls the corporation. Answering these questions will inevitably involve looking at the agency problems of the corporation and its manifestations around the world.
Regulators influence the global capital market. We will discuss the regulatory competition versus convergence debate and consider the implication of local regulatory enforcement and sanctioning power in a global perspective. Indeed, we will try to uncover some of the political, economic and financial forces driving CG.
Given that private enforcement is often a dominant mechanism of ex-post securities market regulation, we will also consider the trends advancing or disrupting private securities litigation.
We will try to ascertain whether there are transnational governance mechanisms of board and management conduct and what roles are played by local legal liability, fiduciary duties, and liability insurance. Focusing on fiduciary obligations we will discuss alternative solutions to potential conflicts of interest in the firm and address issues such as executive compensation.
Then, we will discuss "gatekeepers". For example, what are the roles of corporate legal advisors and auditors, how do they differ in their transnational gatekeeping function and what are the implications of their actions for a corporation in a transnational market. Further on, what should we expect from institutional investors, rating agencies, media organizations and social activists with regards to their impact on the agency relationships in the corporation, particularly when they interact across different legal regimes and corporate cultures.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class Participation (20%). Final Paper (3,500 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography)  (80%).


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