Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

261.7 sec. 001 - Disputes with Sovereigns (Spring 2023)

Instructor: David William Bowker  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 1
Grading Designation: Credit Only
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


Th 6:25 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: Law 12
On 2023-03-09

F 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Law 12
On 2023-03-10

F 3:10 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Law 12
On 2023-03-10

Sa 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Law 12
On 2023-03-11

Sa 2:10 PM - 5:10 PM
Location: Law 12
On 2023-03-11

Course Start: March 09, 2023
Course End: March 11, 2023
Class Number: 32315
This course is open to 1Ls.

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 38
Waitlisted: 1
Enroll Limit: 40
As of: 08/24 11:03 PM

This course covers both national and international law concepts relating to the resolution of disputes with sovereign nations and their agencies and instrumentalities ... including how such disputes arise and how they are won, lost, or settled through diplomacy, negotiations, arbitration, litigation, coercion, and even armed conflict. Drawing upon legal history, theory, national and international law, cases, commentators, and lessons from practice, we will examine how--both as a general matter and in specific cases--the international legal order enables the peaceful resolution of such disputes through national and international courts, international arbitration tribunals, and other dispute resolution mechanisms.

We will begin with an overview of basic public international law concepts, including the legal status of sovereigns and their authority, rights, and duties vis-à-vis individuals, corporations, and other sovereigns. We will discuss different types of disputes that may arise with sovereigns, and which dispute resolution mechanisms are most effective in resolving particular types of disputes.

We will cover the most important categories of disputes with sovereigns, including international investment disputes, commercial disputes, breaches of contract, takings in violation of international law, denials of justice, treaty violations, torts (such as wrongful detentions, human trafficking, terrorism, and torture), the recognition and enforcement of arbitration agreements and award, and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. We will also address sovereign defenses to such claims, ranging from a lack of jurisdiction to sovereign immunity, the act of state doctrine, international comity, forum non conveniens, and the political question doctrine.

We will use case studies and examples from practice to examine where and how to litigate or arbitrate cases against sovereigns in national and international courts and tribunals.

The course will also cover bilateral investment treaties ("BITs") and investor-state arbitrations under the framework of the International Centre on the Settlement of Investment Disputes ("ICSID"), including key rights, duties, and theories of liability. We will also discuss sovereign-related disputes in other international venues, such as International Court of Justice, ad hoc and United Nations tribunals, and the World Trade Organization.

Finally, we will conclude with a discussion of what it is like to practice in the field of international disputes and what jobs and career opportunities are available to new lawyers with an interest in public or private international law.

Attendance at the first class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) will be dropped. The instructor will continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend or have prior permission of the instructor in order not to be dropped.

N/A; although any international law background is helpful, it is not necessary or required.

Exam Notes: (TH) Take-home examination
Exam Length: 4 hours
Course Category: International and Comparative Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Social Justice and Public Interest

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