Required Courses

All students are required to take the below three courses. Students who attend the program in both the Fall and the Spring semester may only take the Global Practice Exercise and the Core Course in their first semester at CTLS.

Global Practice Exercise
CTLS Faculty

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. Evaluation: Participation in the plenary sessions and breakout groups.

Transnational Law Colloquium
Coordinated by Miri Gur-Arye, Hebrew University and Carlos M. Vázquez, 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. Participation in seven assigned colloquia and submission of two response papers (900-1000 words each).

Core Course: Globalization, Legal Diversity and Transnational Law (Fall 2018 only)
Pascal Pichonnaz, University of Fribourg; Carlos M. Vázquez, Georgetown Law and Franz Werro, University of Fribourg/Georgetown Law

This course will explore the role of law in a globalized, complex and interdependent world.

The course will discuss the various legal traditions and examine the ways in which these traditions remain in place despite globalization. The course will also analyze how and to what extent comparative law can be used to better understand foreign law and the diversity of legal systems and cultures. It will further consider how a transnational perspective may change the traditional understanding of national and international law. The course will address concrete transnational issues and look at the ways in which public and private international law address them. Substantively, the course will explore areas such as trade and investment, human rights, the role of corporations, and drug trafficking.

Through a series of case studies, experiential exercises and discussions of scholarly work, we will reflect on how effective lawyers, activists or regulators understand the mosaic of relevant legal materials and the levers they can use to promote a cause or influence behavior of relevant actors. The course will also explore how the transnational perspective helps 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).

3 Credits, required. Evaluation: Reaction paper (10%), Class participation (20%), Final take-home exam (70%).

Core Course (Spring 2019 only)
Ernest Lim, National University of Singapore and Shaun McVeigh, University of Melbourne

As the core course on the CTLS program, this course will explore the role of law and its institutions in a globalized, complex and interdependent world. The course will discuss the ways in which  legal traditions have developed and understood ‘transnational law’ as a distinct body of law scholarship developed in the context of globalization. It will also analyze how and to what extent the disciplines of comparative law, pluralist legal studies can help developed accounts of the diversity of legal systems and cultures that characterise transnational legal thought. It will further consider how a transnational perspective may change the traditional understanding of national and international law give shape to the current understanding of the transnational domain.

The course will be conducted through seminars and guest lectures. It will address both methodological questions in the elaboration of transnational legal thought and concrete case studies in areas such as  such as trade and investment, human rights, the role of corporations, and drug trafficking. Finally it will address and reflect on how effective scholars, lawyers, activists or regulators might  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).

3 Credits, required. Evaluation: Class participation (Students will be assessed on active participation in class. Small group participation: Acting as designated respondents to topics and as small group facilitators in two classes) (30%), Final take-home exam (8 hours) (2,500 words) (70%).

Fall 2018 – Elective Courses

The deadline for Fall 2018 registration is July 6, 2018 (via CTLS Course Request Form- Fall questionnaire on Studio Abroad)

Comparative Tax Systems
Ann Mumford, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London
Ann O’Connell, University of Melbourne


This course provides a comparative perspective on the tax systems of various countries. The aim of the course is to develop an understanding of the reasons why tax systems differ and why they are sometimes so similar. The course will analyse the characteristics that many tax systems have in common, the areas in which tax systems differ and the factors (legal, political, economic, social and cultural) that cause these similarities and differences. The course will cover areas such as tax at different levels of government, different types of taxes (including income taxes, consumption taxes, capital and wealth taxes and environmental taxes), tax administration and tax policy making and reform.

3 credits. Evaluation: Attendance and Class participation (including a class presentation) (20%), Final paper (4000 words) (80%).

European Civil Procedure
Elena D’Alessandro, University of Torino


The course aims at familiarizing students with the most important EU instruments of judicial cooperation in civil matters.
The main focus will be on Regulation No 1215/2012 (Brussels I Recast Regulation) on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters within the EU.

Classes will entail a thorough examination of:

  • The rules governing judicial jurisdiction within the EU;
  • The European concept of Lis alibi pendens;
  • EU principles on Recognition of judgments rendered in EU Member States;
  • Cross-border Enforcement within the EU.

Included are important issues involved in cross-border dispute such as the cooperation between the EU Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters.
Learning by doing method will be applied. Class participants will experience some of the most important steps in European Civil Procedure by putting themselves in the shoes of a counsel of one of the parties involved in a EU-cross-border dispute.

2 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (40%), Final take-home exam (8 hours) (60%).

International Contracts and Sales Transactions
Pascal Pichonnaz, University of Fribourg

Franz Werro, Georgetown Law/University of Fribourg


The course analyses private law norms regulating international contracts. It focuses on international conventions and uniform rules of law, such as the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sales of Goods (CISG), the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (PICC), the Principles of European Contract Law (PECL), INCOTERMS, and others. The course includes some aspects of conflicts of law rules, as well as an analysis of some issues governing transnational commercial arbitration. The course will also tackle the issue of language in international contracts and business transactions.

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

International Dispute Resolution: Resolving Conflicts Under International Law
Christophe Bondy, Cooley LLP

This weekly 2-hour course will review and contrast different approaches to dispute resolution in distinct substantive sectors of public international law. The course will provide an overview of key public international law sectors from a substantive and an historical perspective, as a background to understanding the distinct dispute resolution mechanisms each sector has adopted. Students will compare and contrast dispute resolution in the different sectors, exploring policy reasons supporting these differences, the merits and challenges each present, and some of the practicalities of conducting international disputes in various public international legal fora. The course will cover conflict resolution in the following sectors:

  • World Trade Organization / international trade
  • Investment treaty arbitration
  • International commercial arbitration
  • Law of the Sea
  • International boundary claims
  • Disputes before the International Court of Justice
  • International criminal law
  • Anti-corruption and asset recovery
  • International human rights
  • European law (through the European Court of Justice)
  • International administrative tribunals
  • International claims commissions
  • Regional adjudicative bodies

The course will adopt a “transnational” perspective, considering how different models of international dispute resolution interact and how domestic and regional legal orders and more general public international institutions affect dispute resolution mechanisms in public international law.

2 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%), Research paper (4000 words) (80%).

Not-for-Profit Law: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives
Ann O’Connell, University of Melbourne


Not-for-profit entities occupy a unique place in most societies and the interaction between such entities and the law that applies to them is very much on the legal and political agenda in many countries around the world. There is debate about what constitutes a ‘not-for-profit’ (NFP) entity, the scope of and contribution of the  NFP sector and even what it should be called. There is also debate about the nature of tax and other privileges accorded to NFP entities and how (if at all) the sector should be regulated. This course will consider theoretical and comparative perspectives on the relationship between  the NFP sector and government and between the sector and the market. It will also consider the push in various countries to introduce reforms that aim to enhance the capabilities of the sector but also to regulate it and to minimise abuse of various privileges.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Attendance and Class participation (including a class presentation) (20%), Final paper (4000 words) (80%).

Selected Topics in Criminal Law: Comparative Perspectives
Miri Gur-Arye, Hebrew University

Traditionally, fundamental issues with regard to substantive criminal law are based on moral philosophy, such as the debate with regard to the justifications of punishment, or with regard to whether the criminal law should enforce morality as such. The Course will focus on current debates which derive from treating the criminal law as political and sociological institution. The topics that will be discussed will focus on constitutional constrains on substantive criminal law;on the use (overuse?) of the criminal law in time of crisis;and on the impact of the sociological phenomenon of moral panic on the criminal justice system, and on whether the criminal law should impose a duty to inform crimes. These issues will be discussed from comparative perspectives, mainly common law legal systems vs. the German legal system.

2 Credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%) (bonus of up to 5% for presenting in class a paper describing a criminal law defense in each student’s home legal system), Final take-home exam (8 hours) (80%).

Transnational Litigation
Elena D’Alessandro, University of Torino


This course is designed for students with interests in civil and commercial law in a transnational context and covers all major aspects of the conduct of cross-border cases in national courts.

In particular, students will be introduced to the most important issues involved in the resolution of a transnational dispute, such as:

  • Advantages and disadvantages of court litigation vs. international arbitration;
  • Jurisdiction of national courts (in cross-border cases) including choice of court agreements;
  • Forum shopping;
- Service of process abroad;
  • Impact of third-party financing on transnational litigation;
  • Obtaining evidence abroad;
  • Actual or potential relationship with other legal proceedings in the same or similar claim (e. g. forum non conveniens, anti-suit injunctions, lis alibi pendens);
  • Transnational provisional relief;
  • Recognition and enforcement of foreign countries judgments.

Learning by doing method will be applied. Class participants will experience some of the most important steps in cross-border disputes by putting themselves in the shoes of a counsel of one of the parties involved in a transnational litigation.

2 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (30%), Research paper (4000 words) (70%).

One-plus option:

For 1 extra credit, up to six students who need to fulfill a graduation requirement at their home university may write a major research paper. To obtain the extra credit, the student must (a) turn in a written outline of the paper for faculty comment relatively early in the semester, (b) turn in a complete first draft for faculty comment two-thirds of the way through the semester, and (c) write a paper of 6,500 words, not including footnotes.

Please note that this course has been approved as a WR course for Georgetown students.

Spring 2019 – Elective Courses

The deadline for Spring 2019 registration is November 23, 2018 (via CTLS Course Request Form- Spring questionnaire on Studio Abroad).

Comparative Corporate Law
Ernest Lim, National University of Singapore

The course consists of a comparative study of the major areas of corporate law in the Anglo-American and common law Asian jurisdictions. We will examine a series of key problems with which any system of corporate law must deal, and we will analyse the solutions that have been adopted by these systems from a theoretical, doctrinal and empirical perspective. This comparative study aims to equip students to critically evaluate the corporate law system in their own jurisdictions. Students will be exposed to the key debates and cutting-edge literature. A basic understanding of corporate law is presupposed.

2 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%), Class presentation (40%), Final take-home exam (8 hours) (40%).

Comparative Contracts
Catherine Valcke, University of Toronto

This course will review the major English (and a few Canadian) cases on enforcement of promises and agreement and draw comparative parallels with the equivalent doctrines at French law. The matters considered include the requirements of enforceability, remedies for breach, the effect of contracts on third parties, the effect of writing, and some excuses for non-performance, namely, unfairness and mistake. Evaluation will be through a sit-down, three-hour open book examination.

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

Comparative Foreign Relations Law
Carlos M. Vázquez, Georgetown Law Center

A nation’s “Foreign Relations Law” refers to that part of its law that addresses how the nation interacts with the rest of the world. It is primarily part of each nation’s constitutional law, although it also includes statutory law, regulations, and customs and usage. Among other issues, a nation’s Foreign Relations Law addresses such questions as: How are international agreements negotiated, ratified, and terminated? What is the legal force of treaties and customary international law have in the nation’s domestic legal system? What is the role of the nation’s judiciary in enforcing treaties and customary international law? What are the respective roles of the executive and legislative branches in conducting the nation’s foreign relations? How is the responsibility for conducting foreign relations distributed between the national government and sub-national units, such as states or provinces. What are the roles of the executive, legislative and judicial branches in authorizing and directing the use of military force abroad?

In this course, we will examine these questions from a comparative perspective. For each issue, we will consider how these questions are addressed under the law of the United States (which is my area of primary expertise) as well as under the law of various other countries.

2 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (20%), Research paper (4,000 words) (80%).

One-plus option:

For 1 extra credit, up to six students who need to fulfill a graduation requirement at their home university may write a major research paper. To obtain the extra credit, the student must (a) turn in a written outline of the paper for faculty comment relatively early in the semester, (b) turn in a complete first draft for faculty comment two-thirds of the way through the semester, and (c) write a paper of 6,000 words, not including footnotes.

Please note that this course has not yet been approved as a WR course for Georgetown students.

Criminal Law Defenses: Theory and Comparative Perspectives
Miri Gur-Arye, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
John Stanton-Ife, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London

The course will discuss and analyze the various criminal law defenses. It will offer a theoretical basis for analyzing the defenses in criminal law and will address the rationales of the various defenses and the dilemmas that have arisen regarding some of the defenses. Debated issues, such as whether either duress or necessity should excuse an actor who has sacrificed the life of an innocent person in order to save her own life, will be elaborated.

In addition to the discussion of “classic” defenses, the course will point out contemporary developments, such as a modified self-defense for battered women who kill their attacker while asleep or in otherwise non-confrontational situations.

Throughout the discussion, the different approaches of the Common law and German law will be highlighted.

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

Environmental Litigation: Transnational Issues
Elisa Ruozzi, University of Torino

Environmental law is among the fast-growing areas of litigation at all levels: international, regional as well as national. The judicial enforcement of norms and rights aimed at the protection of the environment and at the rational utilization of natural resources poses similar challenges regardless of the context where litigation occurs: causality between conduct and environmental damage, locus standi, assessment and reparation of damage are examples of issues that any tribunal is called to face. The course will show the emergence and convergence of patterns in environmental litigation, having special regard to the scientific uncertainty characterizing the whole sector and to the new area of climate change litigation.

2 credits. Evaluation: Attendance and class participation (20%), Presentation (20%), Final take-home exam (8 hours) (60%).

Transnational Labour Law
Elisa Ruozzi, University of Torino

The centrality, in the employment relationship, of private actors, matched with the fact that occupational activities growingly take place across different legal orders, makes labour law a transnational more than a national or international discipline. Given the application, in this area, of legal sources of different origin, the course will focus, first of all, on choice-of-law issues, with particular regard to those contexts where the transnational element is inextricably linked with the nature of the activity performed. From a more substantive perspective, corporate social responsibility will be addressed, together with universal (ILO, human rights treaties) and regional standards promoting decent work. Specific attention will be finally devoted to transnational collective bargaining and conflicts, including the role of trade unions as transnational actors of employment relations.

2 credits. Evaluation: Attendance and class participation (20%), Final take-home exam (8 hours) (80%).

Transnational Legal Theory
Shaun McVeigh, University of Melbourne
Catherine Valcke, University of Toronto

This course investigates the ways in which forms of law, governance and conduct are given shape as transnational legal thought. It does so both as a matter of comparative law and jurisprudence. The present, globalized, sense of transnational legal ordering offers great challenges for legal thought. Awareness and understanding of legal plurality – in terms of rules, forms of reasoning, legal cultures and central actors – indeed serves to question both the possibility and desirability of endeavouring to explain all world law through a single model. In this course we investigate the resources of comparative law in developing fields of transnational legal thought and consider the methods and discipline of comparative jurisprudence in developing ways of conducting ourselves as jurists and lawyers within transnational legal orderings. The course will be based on a close reading of a limited number of texts rather than a general survey or research course.  Particular attention will be placed on the ways in which the discipline and methods of comparative law address issues involved in understanding foreign law and actors, the value of the concept of ‘legal systems’ and their delineation, the object of comparative law and transnational legal theory, and the role and ethos of transnational legal actors (whether citizens, lawyers or officials). It will address how the methods and discipline of comparative law and jurisprudence might train a transnational lawyer.

3 credits. Evaluation: Class participation (10%), 3 Reaction papers (30%), Final take-home exam (8 hours) (60%).