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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Advanced Issues in International Economic Law (LAWS11362)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is tailored for students who seek to acquire a thorough knowledge and critical understanding of contemporary issues in international trade and investment law. Each year, the lecturers will pick a range of topics from contemporary issues that have received heightened attention in the scholarship, the practice and the agenda of policy-makers.

Because this course builds on previous knowledge, it will not cover the basic elements of WTO and international investment law. It will instead centre upon pending cases, reform proposals, sensitive policy matters and unresolved legal issues.

Students will be required to read both primary and secondary sources in preparation for the seminars. It will be impossible to prepare for the seminars by doing a superficial reading of these materials, but students will need to critically think on these materials on the basis of the questions set in seminar handouts.

This course is designed to encourage and develop the use of transferable skills relating to the application of law to complex scenarios, critical judgement on the law and the formulation of legal/policy responses to complex questions. Students who succeed in this course will be well-positioned to handle international economic law in a professional manner.
Course description International Economic Law is in a state of constant development and adaptation. There are continuous changes in the applicable law: the proliferation of FTAs entering into force and the re-negotiation of commitments under the WTO and the existing BITs are changing the international legal landscape on trade regulation and investment protection. Moreover, the existing laws apply to an ever-changing reality and interact with other regimes of national and international law.

Lawyers who intend to do research or provide professional advice in this area must be able to go beyond textbook-knowledge of the underpinning disciplines and engage with unresolved legal issues and policy dilemmas.

This course aims precisely to expose the students to a range of 'liminal' problems in international trade and investment law. These problems can be critical for pending litigation, or can feature in the public debate over legal/institutional reforms and the global negotiation of international commitments. Some of the topics are eminently technical; others instead require a holistic awareness of the issues involved and a nuanced understanding of socio-economic realities.

Each week, the course will tackle a different contemporary topic, combining both substantive and institutional aspects of international trade law or/and investment law. Learning objectives and topics might vary each year. However, they will converge towards the development of specific transferable skills (see below).

Students enrolled in the LLM International Economic Law might want to consider taking this advanced course to further expand and deepen their knowledge and critical understanding of WTO law and international investment law.

Topics this year may include, but are not limited to:

* Brexit and International Law
* Renewable energy in the trade and investment regimes
* Comparative study of plain packaging disputes before trade and investment tribunals
* Liberalisation of financial markets: challenges and opportunities
* Trade wars
* Institutional diversity in the global economic order
* Market distortions and the benchmark problem
* The politicisation of appointments processes in trade and investment tribunals
* WTO-plus obligations in FTAs and their impact on the multilateral trading system;
* Updating trade and investment agreements: problems and processes
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites Students MUST also take: WTO Law (LAWS11267) AND International Investment Law (LAWS11131)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative Assessment Components:

4000 Word Essay (70%)
Oral Presentation (15 minutes) on the written essay delivered to the teaching staff (30%)

Feedback Each course within the School of Law includes the opportunity for you to participate in a formative feedback exercise or event which will help you prepare for your summative assessment.

The formative feedback event/s for this course will be a ┐Forward Feedback Session┐: This will be held after the distribution of (summative) assessment forms, with a view to providing students with general guidance on how to write a ┐good essay┐ in the context of this course. This will also be an opportunity for students to raise questions of clarification regarding both the essay questions and the applicable School marking criteria. This session will also serve the purpose of a ┐review┐ on the topics covered in the course, provided students have specific issues they wish to discuss further.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. identify unresolved aspects of international investment and trade law and seek a resolution thereof.
  2. criticise received knowledge and gauge the policy reasons in support or against a given construction of the law.
  3. Through the study of actual cases and the specific effort of exploring the resolution of pending controversies, students will be equipped with an advanced capacity to apply legal rules to specific circumstances, and to plan and assess litigation strategies.
  4. The observation of ongoing disputes and debates will provide students with a pragmatic approach. They will be able to assess the legal issues comfortably, without the support of secondary scholarship or clear judicial precedents.
Reading List
Reading lists will be prepared each year to adapt to the topics chosen. They will be available at least one week in advance of seminars.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

Navigate and apply international economic law. This includes the ability to assess and evaluate critically the IEL implications of past, current and future trade and investment policies and regulations of any country.

Appreciate, identify and assess the role of law in global society. This module probes and strengthens the students┐ ability to interpret the legal foundations and implications of global political, economic and social trends. To a reasonable extent, students acquire the habit of analysing the necessity of legal reforms and will be able to provide workable suggestions.

Use lawyering skills. Students are exposed to tasks and activities that hone their transferrable skills and prove useful in their career-path. These tasks include: parsing long documents, decoding scholarly commentary, engaging in legal hermeneutics, assessing litigation strategies, inferring general trends, weighing conflicting interests, arguing and pleading in public.

Think critically. Besides understanding and memorising materials, students are trained to question received knowledge. This is based on the study of advanced commentaries and primary sources, and on the discussion with the colleagues and the lecturers. The lecturers moderate the discussion so as to maximise the students┐ critical skills and take them at the borders of their zone of comfort.

Form personal views and share them with an audience. In-class participation is designed to encourage the formulation of personal ideas. The discussion format will support and train to confrontation and exchange of ideas. Clarity and incisiveness are crucial to fully benefit from in-class discussion (oral communication) and fare well in the assessment (written communication).
KeywordsWTO and FTAs,investment protection,CETA,TTIP,regulatory space,umbrella clauses,MFN,trade/
Course organiserProf Andrew Lang
Tel: (0131) 650 2921
Course secretaryMr Kevin Duckworth
Tel: (0131 6)50 2002
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