The first term of this course will focus on the insolvency of sovereign states and quasi sovereigns (like state owned entities or regions). This is a particularly timely issue given the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone that is ongoing. The first part of term one will provide some historical background by examining state insolvencies and the mechanisms used to solve them (or prevent them) starting in the early 1800s and going up the 1990s. The second part of term one will examine cross-border issues. The second term of the course will focus on the following cross-border insolvency situations and their possible legal solutions: 1) jurisdiction, given that the parties are domiciled in different States; 2) (where a debtor owns assets abroad) whether the debtor’s creditors or the bankruptcy administration may have access to the assets; 3) the localization of intangible assets, such as claims of the debtor against third parties abroad, or IP rights; and 4) how a proceeding may move forward if a debtor changes domicile during insolvency proceedings. European community regulation on European cross-border insolvency will also be addressed.
Taught by Gulati and Marchand
Customary International Law in Theory and Practice
This course will consider some of the theoretical and practical issues surrounding the concept of customary international law. As will be seen, debates over the content of customary international law arise in a wide variety of areas today (sovereign immunity, law of treaties, human rights, law of armed conflicts, environmental protection, investment protection, international trade, etc.). The readings will include a number of decisions by international courts and tribunals that have defined, identified and applied customary international law, as well as a variety of scholarly and other writings. In the first term, there will also be some consideration of the relationship between customary international law and the U.S. legal system. The topic of this course will overlap with a scholarly conference on customary international law that will be held in Geneva during the middle of the term, and students will be encouraged to attend the conference and interact with the participants.
Taught by C. Bradley and Mbengue
Definition of the Family in International Law
This course deals with the international life of families and the formidable challenges posed by their spanning different and mutually independent legal orders. The main focus will be placed on how the differences between the various conceptions of, and legislations on, family are accommodated when it comes to cross-border relationships, i.e., relationships having connections with more than one State. Examples will be drawn primarily from European and U.S. legislation and case law, with attention given to other jurisdictions where appropriate. The first term of the course will address relationships between spouses or partners. It will review from a comparative law perspective the requirements for entering into and dissolving marriage and marriage-like relationships, including same-sex marriage, registered partnerships, and other forms of civil union. It will examine from a conflicts perspective the extent to which one State will recognize and give effect to a marriage or other union entered into in another State. It will also consider the rights and responsibilities that flow from marriage and how those rights and responsibilities are transformed as a result of divorce. The second term of the course will focus on children. The nature of the parent-child relationship will be examined from a comparative law perspective, looking at the rights and responsibilities that attach to parent and child in different legal systems. This part of the course will also examine the various instruments, whether domestic or international, that are designed to protect children, particularly in situations in which more than one State is involved. Special emphasis will be placed on the issue of child abduction, when one parent moves a child across international borders. The recognition in one State of family relationships created in another State will be one of the key themes of the course.
Taught by K. Bradley and Romano
Freedom of Expression and Its Competitors/Dignitary Torts
This course will cover the different approaches taken in Europe and the United States in resolving conflicts between freedom of expression and other basic social values and goals such as privacy, the protection of social morality and the preservation of the secular nature of civil society. The first term will cover the European approach with particular attention to issues such as the criminalization of blasphemy, racist speech and Holocaust denial, and restrictions on the wearing of religiously “prescribed” female attire, as well as litigation involving celebrities seeking to prevent the press from revealing embarrassing information. The second term will examine American law on all these subjects as well as the attempts to extend the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress to cover hate speech.
Taught by Haarscher and Christie
Introduction to American Law
This course is intended to provide a broad introduction to key elements of American law. The first term will introduce students to some of the building blocks of the law of contracts. Written materials, in-class simulations and exercises, video, and other sources will be used to explore these concepts. The depiction in popular culture (for example, movies and television) of American contract law and relationships will also be examined. The second term will focus on some of the distinctive aspects of United States law and legal institutions, including sources of U.S. law, the role that lawyers play in the U.S. legal profession, U.S. legal education, issues of federalism, development of common law, and some of the most important principles of U.S. Constitutional law. At the end of the second term, students will be introduced to the American litigation system and will conduct a mock civil trial, playing the roles of attorney, witnesses, and jurors.
Taught by Krawiec and Wettach
Introduction to International Taxation in the U.S. and Europe
This course is an introduction to international taxation of business transactions. After a brief explanation of basic income tax concepts, the principal rules of the United States taxation system relating to international business will be reviewed. The course will then focus on how the United States’ rules interact with taxation systems in other countries, exploring the concepts of source of income and residence of the taxpayer, and their role in the U.S. tax rules relating to international trade. The second term of the course will focus on bilateral tax treaties as a means of promoting cross-border investments and international trade through the avoidance of international double taxation. The OECD model treaty will be examined as an illustration, in particular in view of understanding its mechanism and the interaction between double tax treaties and domestic regulations. The course will also give an overview on the indirect taxation issues linked to international transactions and hence explain the mechanism of VAT-based tax systems in an international context.
Taught by Schmalbeck and Lideikyte-Huber/Naray