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.

240.3 sec. 001 - Freedom of Information: Comparative & International Perspectives (Spring 2024)

Instructor: Lisa J Reinsberg  
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 - 9:05 PM
Location: Law 10
On 2024-01-18

F 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Law 10
On 2024-01-19

F 3:10 PM - 6:10 PM
Location: Law 10
On 2024-01-19

Sa 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Law 10
On 2024-01-20

Sa 1:30 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Law 10
On 2024-01-20

Course Start: January 18, 2024
Course End: January 20, 2024
Class Number: 33537

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 22
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 35
As of: 04/20 11:56 PM

Law graduates working in the defense of human rights or the environment, in the corporate sphere, or in government will require an understanding of when a governmental or private actor has a duty to disclose information, the source(s) of that obligation, and how courts balance competing interests such as individual privacy or national security. More than 120 countries have adopted freedom of information (FOI) laws recognizing a right to access documents and other data of public interest. International treaties also enshrine this right, including in the areas of human rights and environmental protection, and it has arguably reached the status of a customary norm. But, these standards are not uniform and each contains important limitations, exceptions, and procedural requirements. Additionally, a growing body of law and litigation seeks to criminalize or otherwise prevent disclosure of certain information, such as through strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs).

This course provides an introduction to the rights and duties connected to freedom of information, through an examination of the variations in FOI norms at the national, regional, and international levels. Students will gain an understanding of how FOI obligations apply to governmental and corporate actors, including with regard to their internal workings and the information they generate. We will also discuss important areas of contention, such as whistleblower protection, discovery of social media content, disinformation, and individual access to information on abortion.

The course instructor, Lisa Reinsberg, is a practicing international human rights lawyer and graduate of Georgetown Law (J.D.) and Berkeley Law (LL.M.). She founded and directs the International Justice Resource Center, which has provided guidance on international human rights protections to advocates around the world since 2011. In addition to teaching international law courses, Lisa’s prior experience includes positions at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, International Organization for Migration, Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, and nongovernmental organizations providing legal representation to migrants and asylum seekers, people in prison, and survivors of torture. She is currently completing a Visiting Researcher stay with the Menschenrechtszentrum (Human Rights Center) at the University of Potsdam in Germany, where her research is focused on the rights of human rights defenders, including with regard to access to information.

We also have special academic rules for these condensed courses:
-Students must attend each course session and cannot attend any course session remotely (even for illness or emergency situations).
-The Registrar’s Office will drop a student who does not attend each course session.

Due to the condensed nature of this course, in-person attendance at all course sessions is mandatory. Absences cannot be excused for any reason, including illness or emergencies. The Registrar’s Office will drop any student who misses a session.

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.

Exam Notes: (TH) Take-home examination
Exam Length: 3 hours
Course Category: International and Comparative Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Litigation and Procedure
Social Justice and Public Interest

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