625 Readings in Non-State Law

When we talk of law, we usually refer to official law: state law, federal law, European Union law, perhaps international law. But most law in the world is non-official (non-state) law: Islamic law, customary law, codes of conduct, arbitral awards, standard contracts, and so on and so forth. Many of these laws are not usually taught in law school (at least not as law), but they play an important role in the contemporary legal landscape.
The course will address the phenomenon of non-state law from a mixed perspective of comparative law, legal theory and legal doctrine. Comparatively, we will look at a number of such nonofficial laws as examples, from commercial law, human rights, and other areas. Theoretically, we will look at existing definitions of law and ask whether they are adequate for these phenomena. We will also discuss the idea of legal pluralism, a theory of multiple laws (state and non-state) that coexist. Doctrinally, we will look at how such non-official law is treated in the law. Can it be applied through a conflict-of-laws analysis? And if not, are there other ways in which it becomes applicable?
The course does not have any prerequisites. In the choice of examples we look at, student input can be taken into account. Requirements of the course include class participation and a series of short papers.

Credit / No credit course

There are 10 seats available in this course and priority will initially be given to 3Ls and LLMs.

Course Areas of Practice
Course Type
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.