New for Spring 2011:  International human rights advocacy and international investment

December 20, 2010Duke Law News

Courses in international investment and international human rights law have been added to the Duke Law curriculum for the spring 2011 semester. The new courses offer students instruction and experience in the geographically interconnected legal frameworks that govern these fields.

Human Rights Advocacy: clinical, skills-oriented

Human Rights Advocacy is structured as a clinical course with a practice-based, skills-oriented approach to human rights law. Deena Hurwitz, associate professor of law and director of the University of Virginia’s International Human Rights Law Clinic, will teach human rights methodology, including the sources, tools, and venues that comprise what Hurwitz calls a human rights-based approach and explore what it means to practice human rights in domestic and transnational contexts.

“I enjoy teaching this seminar because it offers the opportunity to discuss the versatility of the human rights field and the opportunities to be involved with human rights even if you work in a firm, in a domestic legal services NGO, in government, or in private practice,” Hurwitz says. “Human rights advocacy is much more than documentation and reporting, or prosecuting heinous individuals. It is also a methodology through which to evaluate socio-economic and political dynamics, measure accountability, and envision just and empowering outcomes.”

The clinical course adds to the depth of the Law School’s human rights-oriented offerings for the semester, which also include Professor Laurence Helfer’s International Human Rights course, and an ad hoc seminar during which Professor Curt Bradley and 10 students will travel to Israel to engage in academic and field research relating to the ongoing dispute over housing issues in East Jerusalem.

International Investment and International Trade

Sergio Puig de la Parra, who is visiting the Law School from Lille Catholic University School of Law in France, will teach a new course on international investment, and also will teach International Trade.

Students in International Investment will learn how international law is implicated in the protection of foreign direct investment (FDI), and examine related international case law with special emphasis on the investment chapter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The seminar will cover the intellectual and historical framework of the economic, political, and legal ideas underpinning the architecture of FDI protection, study the relevant international legal framework, discuss the case law, and look at particular substantive issues that arise from investment arbitration, the preferred and specialized method of international investment dispute settlement.

"International law is implicated and utilized in the promotion and protection of foreign direct investment,” says Puig de la Parra. “This new seminar will explore how international law may be used in the legal and diplomatic challenges regarding cross-border investment and the specialized methods of investment dispute settlement."