PUBLISHED:April 28, 2011

Four new faculty books focus on diverse aspects of international and comparative law

Four members of the Duke Law faculty — George Christie, Laurence Helfer, Jonathan Wiener, and Jerome Reichman — have recently published books relating to international and comparative law and transnational relations.

In Philosopher Kings? The Adjudication of Conflicting Human Rights and Social Values (Oxford University Press, 2011), George Christie, the James B. Duke Professor of Law, examines how different legal systems attempt to balance the rights of free expression and privacy. “These areas offer a good illustration of the differences between continental methods of reasoning and common law methods of reasoning,” says Christie. “Suppose you had a law that was common to both common law countries and civil law countries. Would you get the same sorts of results?”

In Human Rights and Intellectual Property: Mapping the Global Interface (Cambridge University Press, 2011) Professor Laurence Helfer and co-author Graeme W. Austin of Melbourne University and Victoria University of Wellington, examine the tensions that arise when rights and intellectual property law intersect, such as the right to health and patented medicines and the right to education and copyrighted materials. “There is a tradeoff between incentivizing creation and access to the fruits of creativity,” says Helfer, the Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law. “We are not anti-IP, but we recognize that the existing systems are misaligned or mis-structured to achieve human rights ends.”

Along with a team of transatlantic legal scholars, scientists, and experts in specific areas of risk and regulation, Professor Jonathan Wiener undertook a multi-year examination of comparative risk regulation in the United States and Europe. The project involved what may be the most comprehensive and methodologically rigorous comparative study of relative precaution in risk regulation conducted to date, says Wiener, Duke’s Perkins Professor of Law, professor of public policy, and professor of environmental policy. He is the co-editor of The Reality of Precaution: Comparing Risk Regulation in the United States and Europe (RFF Press/Earthscan, 2011, with Michael. D. Rogers, James K. Hammitt, and Peter H. Sand eds.)

Shortly before the publication of Global Matters, Professor Jerome Reichman’s book, Using Intellectual Property Rights to Stimulate Pharmaceutical Production in Developing Countries – A Reference Guide, was published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Co-authored with Christoph Spennemann, a legal expert in UNCTAD’s Intellectual Property Unit’s Division on International Investment and Enterprise, the reference guide furthers Reichman’s lengthy examination of the connections between intellectual property and international trade law, as well as his innovative scholarship on ways to facilitate access to essential medicines in the world’s poorest countries. Reichman is Duke’s Bunyan S. Womble Professor of Law.

Professors Christie, Helfer, and Wiener spoke with Global Matters about their books.