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."

Required  Courses - Fall 2014/Spring 2015

Global Practice Exercise


Each semester will begin with an intensive, multi-day exercise in transnational and/or comparative law. The exercise will provide an opportunity for the diverse students and faculty at CTLS to work together on a common legal problem. All faculty and students will participate in the exercise. The objectives are to give students and faculty a quick start working together on a real legal practice problem, which will highlight the importance and challenges of communicating across transnational legal and cultural boundaries; draw CTLS participants into active roles in their own learning and academic exchange; and introduce students to the process of tackling real-world legal problems that transcend national boundaries, learning both transnational variations in substantive law and legal processes.

1 Credit, required.

New Perspectives in Transnational Law (Colloquium)

Coordinated by Cian Murphy, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London and Alvaro Santos, Georgetown Law

This colloquium will meet weekly for presentations by leading academics and practitioners on topics of current international, transnational or comparative law interest. Each meeting will involve the presentation of a paper, brief comments, and a discussion with the author/presenter among all participants. Attendees will be the Center's students, faculty and invited guests. Students, who will be divided up and each assigned to attend a sub-set of the colloquia, will write short responses to the papers in advance of the meeting.

1 Credit, required.

Core Course: Transnational Law and Global Governance (Fall 2014 only)

Chiara Besso, University of Torino and Alvaro Santos, Georgetown Law

This course will explore the role of law in our globalized, complex and interdependent world from a transnational perspective. The course will examine what a transnational approach offers in comparison to national, international and comparative perspectives.

Methodologically, we will explore how the transnational perspective helps us understand and address issues that involve multiple actors (states, corporations, indigenous groups. NGOs), multiple laws (national laws, international agreements, contracts) and multiple jurisdictions (national courts, international tribunals, supra national arbitration panels). We will also explore the limitations of the nation state as the primary source of law, looking at alternative and competing sources of norms such as private self-regulation, global indicators, community customary laws, or religious law. Under this legal pluralist perspective, the state is only one, albeit a key one, actor and source of law among many.

Substantively, we will explore this perspective at play in areas such as investment, trade, development, business transactions, the family, the environment, human rights, labor, drug trafficking, piracy, and terrorism. The course will show how effective lawyers, be they transactional lawyers, activists or regulators understand the mosaic of relevant legal materials and the levers they can use to structure a deal, promote a cause, or influence behavior of relevant actors.

Throughout the course we will reflect on what this perspective contributes to our understanding of global governance, including how new forms of regulation transform the relationship between public interest and private power, and challenge values such as national sovereignty, individual autonomy, traditional practices, distributive justice, and cultural diversity. We will discuss how this transnational perspective may help us see the role of law in structuring power relations and policy choices, pressing us to address important ethical and political questions..

3 Credits, required. Evaluation: Class Participation (20%); Reaction Papers (20%); Final take-home exam (8 hours) (60%).

Core Course: Introduction to Transnational Law (Spring 2015 only)

Cian Murphy, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London and Philomila Tsoukala, Georgetown Law

Introduction to Transnational Law is the core course for the Certificate in Transnational Legal Studies. The course will explore what it means to speak of, study, and practice, law beyond the state. In taking this course students will therefore examine the operation of law under globalization.

Globalisation provokes a re-examination of public international law as a system of law between nation states. The fragmentation of international law alongside the development of new transnational forums of governance challenges the idea of a legal order between sovereign states. In light of these challenges to the classic philosophy of law we ask can there be transnational law?

The course will examine different dynamics of transnational law: including global governance, legal diffusions, extra-territorialisation of law, and the increasing role of the private sector in rule-making and enforcement and dispute resolution. The examination of the law does not stop with the dynamics of transnational law, however, it must also consider the politics and values of law under globalization. For whom does transnational law operate?

The examination of law under globalization does not just distress international law - it also effects national law. This requires us to examine once more the nation-state as a site for governance in light of the disaggregation of state power. This course asks whether our tripartite division of state power into executive, legislative, and judicial functions captures the reality of law-making and enforcement in practice. In what ways does globalization highlight problems within state structures of governance?

We will consider these questions using examples from 'classic' fields of transnational law including economic law, human rights law, and the law relating to peace and security. However, we will also example novel fields of transnational law, including transnational criminal law, family law, and rogue systems of law. To do so we will draw on a range of literatures - from legal studies, sociology, economics, and histor - as well as case studies from contemporary law and governance.

3 Credits, required. Evaluation: Class Participation (20%); Reaction Papers (20%); Final take-home exam (8 hours) (60%).

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