Recent International Law Research and News at Berkeley Law

This has been a great year for international and comparative law at Berkeley Law. For a look at what our faculty and students have done, click here.

To learn about our international law events for Spring 2014, click here.


In the News:  Prof. Kate Jastram on “Climate Refugees Could Catch World’s Courts Off Guard”

Kate Jastram quoted in Law 360 (December 13, 2013):

Nevertheless, [Temporary Protected Status] is little more than a deportation deferral. University of California Berkeley School of Law professor Kate Jastram noted that the U.S. is unlikely to open it up for people who aren’t currently in the country because of the “pull factor” that could draw would-be refugees like a magnet. But for those people who have found their way onto U.S. soil, it could provide some relief as well as momentum for a policy change. “I don’t know that it would work as a legal strategy, but it’s a recognition in U.S. law that an environmental disaster could be a reason to at least defer deportation,” Jastram said.

To read the full article, click here.


Mariel Bird (JD ’15) Awarded 2014 Miller Institute-ASIL Student Fellowship

In order to promote student engagement with international law, the Miller Institute sponsors a fellowship program in the Fall to cover the registration and travel expenses for a Berkeley Law student to attend the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law in the Spring of the following year.

We are pleased to announce that the 2014 Student Fellowship has been awarded to Mariel Bird (JD ’15). Mariel worked as a Judicial Intern at United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and is currently a participant in ASIL’s Women in International Law Mentoring Program. She hopes to use the trip to Washington as an opportunity “to engage with members of the international law community” and “to connect with individuals from a diverse set of international law backgrounds.”

Berkeley Law is an Academic Partner of the American Society of International Law (ASIL).


Professor Saira Mohamed Awarded Townsend Fellowship

Saira Mohamed was awarded a fellowship with the Townsend Center for the Humanities for her research on deviance in international criminal law. The Fellowship seeks to further the research of the recipients and to enable faculty and graduate students within the humanities to interact with colleagues in other disciplines.

She was one of four assistant professors throughout the campus who were awarded the fellowship for 2013-2014.



UN official calls for assistance to Palestinian refugees in Syria


Filippo Grandi, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), stressed the need for humanitarian action to support Palestinian refugees affected by the conflict in Syria in a lecture sponsored by the Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law at Boalt Hall on November 4.

photos by Alex Turney for The Daily Cal


New Article on Privacy in Europe

Professors Kenneth Bamberger and Deirdre Mulligan, Faculty Directors of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, have just published “Privacy in Europe: Initial Data on Governance Choices and Corporate Practices” in the George Washington Law Review (Volume 81, 2013). This article provides some of the critical information necessary for the current debates on privacy regulation and reform in the European Union.

This project was funded in part with support from the Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law.


Samia Hossain (’14) Wins IHL Monograph Contest

Berkeley Law student Samia Hossain (’14) won a $10,000 cash prize for a paper she entered in the Richard A. Clarke National Scholarly Monograph Contest. The paper, which assesses the legality of President Obama’s counterterrorism targeted killing program, took second place in the competition organized by the Center for First Amendment Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Hossain wrote the paper last year in her International Humanitarian Law class taught by Miller Institute Faculty Co-Director Kate Jastram.

To read her article, click here.


Building Ties: Berkeley-Brazil

Miller Institute Faculty Co-Director Kate Jastram participated in two human rights conferences in Brazil in August 2013, lecturing on international law and the use of force at the University Centre in Brasilia (UniCEUB), and at the University Centre of the State of Para (CESUPA) in Belem. Her analysis focused on Brazil’s proposal to the Security Council on “Responsibility While Protecting,” an argument that the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect, currently much debated in the context of Syria, should include heightened protection for civilians beyond that accounted for in the general law governing armed conflict.

While in Brasilia, she also met with Deputy Attorney General Arnaldo Sampaio de Moraes Godoy and the Director of the Attorney-General’s International Department, Boni de Moraes Soares, to discuss the U.S. and Brazil’s contrasting responses to migrants and asylum seekers from Haiti.

Prof. Jastram’s trip was at the invitation of Prof. Dr. Marcelo Dias Varella of the University of Brasilia, who was a Visiting Scholar at Berkeley Law in Fall 2012.

Prof. Kate Jastram and Prof. Dr. Marcelo Dias Varella


Kate Jastram Is New Faculty Co-Director of Miller Institute

Kate Jastram (’87) has been named as the new Faculty Co-Director of the Miller Institute.  The new faculty director of will work to “create more opportunities for Berkeley students to enter international law.” She also wants to “provide a strong platform for the fantastic research and teaching that goes on here.”

Prof. Jastram replaces fellow faculty member Andrew Guzman, Associate Dean for International and Advanced Degree Programs, who is guiding the law school’s online education initiative.

For an article on the new director, click here.

jastram 2014


In the News: Profs. Kate Jastram and Leti Volpp on “Covert immigration program disproportionately affecting Muslims”

Kate Jastram and Leti Volpp quoted in The Daily Journal (August 22, 2013):

Congress has said, ‘Here are the rules for naturalization. You go out and implement these rules,'” said Kate Jastram, a UC Berkeley School of Law professor who studies immigration law, “and it appears that they have essentially handed over a large part of their authority in this realm to the FBI.” “It’s harmful in my view to the USCIS,” she added, “because in a sense they’ve deprived themselves of their statutory authority.”

“It would certainly seem that the kind of delays documented in the report – some stretching for longer than a decade – for reasons that are not disclosed to the applicants, who have then no opportunity to rebut, would constitute a deprivation of due process,” said Leti Volpp, another UC Berkeley immigration law professor.


Farewell to David Caron

The Honorable G. William and Ariadna Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law joins the rest of Berkeley Law in bidding a fond farewell to our dear friend and colleague David Caron. Professor Caron was one of the founding faculty directors of the Miller Institute and was instrumental in its success over the years.

We congratulate him and wish him all the best in his new position as Dean of the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London.

Release of Miller Institute Annual Report 2012-2013

The Miller Institute has just released its annual report for the academic year 2012-2013.

To read the report, please click here.



New Publication from Professor Katerina Linos

linos book montageThe Oxford University Press has just published the new book by Professor Katerina Linos, The Democratic Foundations of Policy Diffusion:  How Health, Family, and Employment Laws Spread Across Countries.  According to Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School:  “When do one nation’s reforms — of health care, anti-discrimination, and other domestic programs — influence policies in another?  In this pathbreaking work, Katerina Linos uses opinion polls, case studies, and rigorous statistical analysis to show policies moving across 18 Western democracies, even when domestic leaders claim indifference or opposition to foreign models.  Anyone interested in domestic or international politics would benefit from this powerful research to examine how ideologies, economic conditions, and local politics affect domestic choices.”

For more information on the book, including other reviews, please click here.



Professor Andrew Guzman’s New Book Reviewed in Washington Post

guzman climate change book montageProfessor Andrew Guzman‘s new book, Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change (Oxford University Press) received an excellent review in the Washington Post.  Juliet Eilperin praises his “clear-eyed assessment of the costs involved in various policy responses” to climate change.

To read the review, please click here.

For more information, including an interview with Professor Guzman, please click here.



Professor Andrew Guzman Receives Faculty Chair

Professor Andrew Guzman, Jackson H. Ralston Professor of Law and Associate Dean of International and Graduate Programs, was among the six Berkeley Law professors who received faculty chairs on May 1 during a ceremony at the University Club inside Memorial Stadium. Nominated by a committee of faculty colleagues, the professors were honored for their scholarly achievements and teaching excellence.

Guzman’s scholarship underscores the impact of international law lacking both the tools for coercive enforcement and a legislative body. “My work has sought to shed light on how states make promises to one another and the ability to solve problems through those promises,” he said. “Why would the act of making a promise alter the behavior of a state? Why would other states ever change their own behavior in reliance? Perhaps most importantly, how much help can international law provide as we try to respond to the world’s most important problems?

For an article on the new faculty chairs, click here.

(l-r) Profs. Mark Gergen, Leti Volpp, Gillian Lester, Andrew Guzman, and Holly Doremus


Lauren Groth (’11) Wins ASIL’s Francis Lieber Award

Lauren Groth (’11) is the 2013 recipient of the Francis Lieber Prize for her article on “Transforming Accountability: A Proposal for Reconsidering How Human Rights Obligations Are Applied to Private Military Security Firms” (Hastings International and Comparative Law Review 35:29, 2012). The Prize is awarded annually by the American Society of International Law‘s Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict to an author 35 years or younger for outstanding scholarship in the field of the law of armed conflict.

Lauren will be clerking for 2013-14 with Judge Richard Paez on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She was an Associate Attorney and member of the Litigation Department of Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, DC. Lauren holds a J.D. with International Law Certificate from Berkeley Law, where she was Notes Editor of the California Law Review. Prior to law school, she pursued an M.A. in International Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


Berkeley Law Students Travel to Jordan for Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project

Three members of the Berkeley Law chapter of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) returned from the organization’s annual delegation to Amman, Jordan at the end of March. IRAP helps Iraqis in danger because of their work with the US government during the Iraq War resettle in the United States. The organization has chapters at many law schools around the country, including the one at Berkeley Law. After participating in IRAP for their entire law school careers, Courtney Bowman (‘13), Robert Landicho (‘13), and Matthew Pelnar (‘13) were eager to take part in the annual IRAP delegation so they could meet their clients who had fled Iraq for Amman. Thanks to the generous support of the Miller Institute, all three were able to attend.

While in Amman the Berkeley students met with clients, visited various refugee assistance organizations, and took part in client intake. The students also attended meetings at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Jordan, the principal organization processing visa applications for refugees seeking to enter the United States. The trip was both productive and valuable – the students not only got to meet their clients face-to-face, they also enhanced their knowledge about the issues facing Iraqi refugees and networked with contacts that are helpful to IRAP and its clients.


Miller Institute Support for Student Travel to ASIL Annual Meeting

In Fall 2012, the Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law established the Miller Institute-American Society of International Law Student Fellowship to fund the participation of a Berkeley Law student to attend the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington, DC in April 2013.  The inaugural Fellowship was awarded to Remi Moncel, first-year Berkeley Law Student and Dean’s Fellow.  To read Remi’s comments on this invaluable opportunity to meet with and learn from the most prominent scholars and practitioners in the world, click here.

Remi’s travel support was just one of the benefits of the Miller Institute-ASIL Student Fellowship.  Berkeley Law is an Academic Partner of ASIL. As such, the Miller Institute is able to provide one Berkeley Law student with a complimentary one-year membership in ASIL, which Remy is using to “learn from leading scholars with a view to exploring the various facets of international law in the three main areas of practice I am considering: academia, international institutions, and practice.”

Students interested in applying for the 2014 Student Fellowship should refer to the Fellowship page.

Holly Dranginis (’13) Awarded 2013 Helton Fellowship

holly dranginis--editedHolly Dranginis (’13) was one of the recipients of the 2013 Arthur C. Helton Fellowships, sponsored by the American Society of International Law. Fellowships are awarded every year to current students or recent graduates to pursue in-country field work and research on significant issues involving international law, human rights, humanitarian affairs, refugee and asylum law, and related areas.

With support from the National Security Archives, Holly will promote transparency and accountability in Sierra Leone, evaluating the new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by gathering declassified documents as evidence for human rights claims.



New Publications from Berkeley Law’s International Law Faculty

Berkeley Law’s faculty continue to break new ground in research and publications on international law. Works from Kenneth Bamberger, Richard Buxbaum, Kate Jastram, Deirdre Mulligan, Jamie O’Connell, and Harry Scheiber exemplify the tradition of engaged scholarship and innovative inquiry nurtured at Berkeley Law. Subjects include a comparative study of corporations and privacy practice in the European Union and the United States; the continuing litigation surrounding German bonds issued during the Weimar Era; a legal history of reparations in 20th-century Europe; the legal status of Haitian refugee children in Guantanamo; the impact of political developments after the Arab Spring; and the institutions and regions of ocean governance.

For more information on these articles, including their abstracts, click here.