2014 Course Descriptions

Bioethics and the Law

This class will address scientific, ethical, and legal issues surrounding research in the biosciences.  In particular, it will focus on four major topical areas:  International Brain Initiatives, Reproductive Technologies, Synthetic Biology, and Biotechnology for fuel and food.  The first term will frame the ethical and legal issues of each topic, while the second term will focus in depth on the technical and scientific issues, as well as the balance between regulation and innovation.  Students will learn how international bodies have approached many of these complex issues differently.

Taught by Claydon and Farahany

Commercial Arbitration

The first term of this course gives an overview of the arbitration rules of the most important international institutions administering cross-border commercial arbitrations, including the UN Commission of International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).  The course explains the main features of each body of rules; compares the rules, including the extent to which they are based on civil law or common law traditions, or reflect a combination of both; and considers how they impact on the conduct and outcome of arbitration cases.  The second term of the course examines the key procedural and substantive issues that arise in international arbitration cases.  It follows the various stages of the arbitral process, from the arbitration agreement to the initiation of the process, the appointment of the arbitrators, the written and oral proceedings, deliberations, the making of the arbitral award and its review and enforcement.  The course also discusses the legal issues raised by the main types of cases that are submitted to international arbitral tribunals.  It provides examples from actual cases to present and examine these issues and to review how arbitral tribunals have dealt with them.  The course finally looks at the special features of investment arbitration, both under the World Bank International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and bilateral investment treaties (BITs), and it gives an introduction to international sports arbitration under the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Taught by McGovern and Wuehler

Introduction to American Law

This course is intended to provide an introduction to essential elements of the American legal system.  Emphasis will be placed on exploring contemporary problems in American law that reveal key issues and concerns within the American legal system.  The first term of the course will focus initially on U.S. Constitutional law and then on the U.S. litigation system.  The course will consider the role that the U.S. Constitution plays in the United States and the challenges inherent in interpreting and applying it.  Specific constitutional problems such as the Second Amendment right to bear arms, as well as a series of issues involving the First Amendment will be examined.  The discussion will focus on key recent Supreme Court decisions, including cases decided in 2014 (only a short time before the class begins).  During the second term of the course, the focus will turn to a series of constitutional issues concerning the protection of individual rights (such as the right to privacy), and the distinctive issues that arise in criminal cases.  Issues arising under the Fourth Amendment that involve technology such as G.P.S. devices, as well as Eighth Amendment issues concerning the death penalty will be examined.  Recent decisions of the Supreme Court will be discussed.

Taught by Metzloff and Beale

Political Rights

This course deals with political rights of citizens as well as the connection between these rights and representative institutions (elections, referendums, popular initiatives) on the local, national, and international levels.  The first term of the course will focus on Europe (especially Switzerland, Germany, the EU, and the European Convention of Human Rights).  It will deal with legal issues in connection with parliamentary elections in Switzerland and the EU, popular initiatives for legislation in Switzerland and the Swiss cantons, the citizens' initiative in the European Union, as well as referendums in Switzerland, Swiss cantons and member States of the European Union.  Connected questions such as the influence of initiatives and referendums on the work of the legislature will also be discussed.  The second term of the course examines the concept and application of the right to vote in the American political system, with an emphasis on the law of the political process.  This is not to suggest that other issues like campaign finance reform and politics are irrelevant to our plan of study or are otherwise unimportant issues.  However, the main goal of this term of the course is to examine the legal rather than the political science questions about representation.  Topics to be covered include:  many of the major U.S. Supreme Court and appellate cases related to voting rights, reapportionment/redistricting, the ballot process, regulation of political parties, and election controversies.  Particular attention will be paid to competing philosophies and empirical assumptions that underlie judicial reasoning, while still focusing on the ways that lawyers and elected officials use these cases as litigation tools and to serve political ends.

Taught by Jaag and Crayton

Responding to Terrorism: Different Perspectives of Applicable Law

This course will discuss legal issues regarding the use of force (including targeted killings by drone against alleged terrorists), and the detention and prosecution of alleged terrorists. The first week of the course, taught by Professor Sassoli, will introduce students to international law regarding the use of force and the admissibility to target, detain, and prosecute alleged terrorists, including from a European perspective according to which the fight against terrorism does not constitute an armed conflict. The issue will be analyzed from the perspective of international humanitarian law (IHL or the laws of war) and of international human rights law, and the interaction between those two branches will be discussed. Specific attention will be given to the concept of armed conflict, the difference between international and non-international armed conflicts, the distinction between civilians and combatants, the rules on when an individual may be targeted and the required procedural guarantees and rules on the treatment of detained enemies, both when the fight against terrorism constitutes an armed conflict (or occurs during such a conflict) and when it does not. In the second and third weeks of the course, taught by Professor Silliman, specific attention will be given to the United States' constitutional law with regard to the sharing of war powers between the President and Congress, the choice of the "war paradigm" by the Bush and Obama administrations, the concept of "unlawful enemy combatants," the United States' rationale for detaining those captured on the battlefield at Guantanamo Bay, Supreme Court and lower court decisions regarding Habeas Corpus rights of those detained, the history and use of military commissions for prosecuting those who have committed violations of the law of armed conflict, and the United States interpretation of international law with regard to the use of force. The final week of the course, taught by Professor Sassoli, will involve applying the law and policy discussed in the first three weeks of the course to a specific case study involving targeting terrorists in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan and detaining them at Guantanamo Bay.

Taught by Sassoli and Silliman

Telecommunications Law

Telecommunications play a major role today in everyone's life and in the economy.  Regulations, which opened access to infrastructure, present several dimensions: international (WTO and ITU), regional (EU law) and national (U.S. or Swiss law).  the aspects involved are not only legal, but also economic and technical.  This course deals with all these issues and proposes, among other things, a comparative perspective between U.S. and EU regulations.  Students will be introduced to the rules applying to essential elements of liberalizations and, more broadly, resource management, such as interconnection, unbundling or spectrum allocation and licensing (mobile telecommunications).  Network neutrality offers a perfect opportunity for a fascinating debate on the roles of the various actors intervening in this market.  Competition law questions - antitrust and merger control - will also be discussed.  A presentation of the main historical steps accomplished in the 20th and 21st centuries will shed some light on the evolution of all these rules.

Taught by Bovet and Yoo

Studying at the Duke-Geneva Institute was an amazing experience which not only broadened by academic horizons, but also gave me a chance to meet other students and lawyers from all over the world. Learning about other law systems and cultures in such a setting is invaluable. I left Geneva with unforgettable memories, great friendships, and a desire for further study abroad. My one regret is that the Institute was only a month long.”

—Roi Bejerano, participant from Israel