International Law Courses

​​​​​​Learn more about International Law courses available to students, such as International Criminal Law and Immigration Law, as well as study abroad opportunities.

7432/Applied Human Rights

Students engage in research and advocacy on cutting-edge issues in international human rights law, working directly with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and inter-governmental organizations under the supervision of the professor.   The course has two components: a classroom component of two hours per week, and regular meetings with each student.  

302/Applied Human Rights Research

This is an advanced international human rights law course in which students engage in research on cutting-edge issues in human rights law and policy for non-governmental organizations and inter-governmental organizations under the supervision of the professor.

7441/China Field Study

This trip to China, which immediately follows the Comparative US-China Environmental Law class, enables students to experience environmental conditions in China and to meet leading Chinese environmental scholars and activists.

7426/Comparative Constitutional Law

Uses a comparison of the Spanish and the U.S. constitutional systems to introduce students to the study of comparative constitutional law.   We will compare and contrast the constitutional structures established by the two countries, the different procedures employed for constitutional review, and the different approaches to constitutional review and adjudication.

7407/Comparative Law: Comparative Legal Systems

Explores how different countries within the Western Legal Tradition understand sources of law, the relationship between codes and cases, and constitutional design, including questions of federalism, judicial review and balance of powers.  The course will study selected aspects of legal systems, focusing on France and Germany, with some discussion of "mixed" common/civil law jurisdictions (e.g. Louisiana, South Africa), as well as some aspects of the European Union.

7440/Comparative U.S.-China Environmental Law

An overview of the tremendous environmental challenges for the 1.3 billion people in China and the efforts to address them through law and regulation. After an introduction to the political and legal system and cultural background of the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, we will survey the basic regulatory schemes managing air quality, water resources and quality, natural resources, environmental impact assessments, and pending legislation concerning waste management and energy conservation.

303/Current Topics in International Law

This seminar will provide a vehicle for exploring "hot topics" in international law, with the specific focus shifting from year to year.

400/Environmental Law and Regulation in China

This course provides an overview of the tremendous environmental challenges for China's 1.3 billion people and the efforts to address them through law and regulation. After an introduction to the political and legal system and cultural background of the world's soon-to-be largest greenhouse gas emitter, we will survey the basic regulatory schemes managing air quality, water resources and quality, natural resources, environmental impact assessments, and pending legislation concerning waste management and energy conservation.

7445/European Community Environmental Law

The principles of European environmental law and techniques for environmental management with particular emphasis on nature conservation law, environmental impact assessment, integrated pollution control, waste management, climate change, and the enforcement of environmental law at EU and Member State levels.  

7413/European Union Law

Basic introduction to European Union Law. The major institutions comprising the European Union and their relative constitutiencies will be covered. Primary focus will be important "constitutional" decisions of the Court of Justice.

7414/European Union Law Trento

Optional component to European Union Law I taught in Italy during the semester break by European Union law experts at the University of Trento Faculty of Law.  Classes address selected topics in European Union law such as labor law, environmental law, criminal law and procedure, and non-discrimination law.    IMPORTANT:  This course entails a $300 administrative fee.   

208/European Union: Emerging Constitutional Law

This seminar offers students an opportunity to study the developments that have contributed to the dynamic growth of the European Union over the past half-century.  The course is taught in two components.  The first component, taught by an Italian law professor at VLS during January or February, is intended to provide the student with a basic background in European Union law (history, evolving institutional structure, key decisions, etc.).  Classes are scheduled during free periods, in the evenings, and/or on weekends to avoid conflicts with regularly scheduled classes.

7411/French Corporate Law

Taught by a French law professor (in English), this course address the substantive law and underlying policies of the law of French business corporations and the ways in which the law differs from U.S. corporate law.  This course is required for students in the dual degree program with the University of Cergy-Pontoise.

7410/French Legal Method

Taught by a French law professor (in English), this course provides an introduction the French law and legal system, and French legal methodology.

209/Immigration Law

This course will provide a review and problem-based analysis of US immigration law. We will cover the basics of immigration law; family and employment-based immigration categories;citizenship issues, grounds of inadmissibility/deportability; detention; removal and relief from removal. Special emphasis will be placed on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and humanitarian relief under asylum law and under the Violence Against Women Act

7417/Intergenerational Rights and Climate Change

A research and writing seminar about the doctrines, principles, and rules of law designed to ensure or facilitate the rights of present and future generations to protection from harms resulting or likely to result from global warming.

7444/International and Comparative Environmental Law

In the international arena, students study treaties that may provide remedies for harm caused to humans and to natural resources by activities such as transporting oil in tankers, burning fossil fuels, and exporting hazardous substances. They also study many efforts to prevent harm rather than to remedy it.  Comparative law issues range from how similar, environmentally based disputes between private parties might be resolved in a wide variety of legal and social systems, to a detailed comparison of environmental legislation in two federal systems and their member states-the U.S.

7416/International Business Transactions

Using a problem-solving method, this course provides a practice-based introduction to private cross-border transactions, such as purchase/sale of goods; licensing of intellectual properties; and investment of capital in foreign countries in a service business.

214/International Criminal Law

This course will explore International Criminal Law, broadly defined to include criminal issues that arise in the international setting and international issues that arise in the context of national criminal law.

4217/International Environmental Law

This course addresses the nature, content and structure of international environmental law.  The course commences with an introduction to international environmental problems, together with basic principles of international law and environmental regulation.  Specific topics include global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion, exports of hazardous substances, transboundary pollution, trade and environment, and development and environment.

7421/International Environmental Law and Policy

Provides an overview of the structure and basic principles of international environmental law and policy. The course considers the challenge of addressing global environmental problems; the regulatory limitations of U.S. law; and the basic structure and principles of international environmental law. The course examines in detail the structure of the Montreal Protocol regime  and covers other areas, including treaties related to climate change, biodiversity and wildlife protection, and the intersection of international trade and the environment.

7424/International Human Rights

This seminar provides an introduction to international human rights law and procedures. It examines what are "human rights" and explores the law of treaty interpretation, how human rights law is incorporated into domestic legal systems, and the role of international governmental organizations, international and regional courts, and non-governmental organizations in protecting human rights. Students gain experience in researching international law and in international legal analysis.

7450/International Investment Arbitration and the Environment

Covers particular themes where human rights, environmental, and investment law interact, such as the right to health, due process and denial of justice, property rights and expropriation, and stabilization clauses and positive human rights obligations. The course places special emphasis on ongoing negotiations, as well as on investment, human rights, and environmental cases decided by international tribunals.

225/International Law

This course provides an overview of the international legal system, with particular emphasis on how international law is made and enforced, whether by states, or states acting through international organizations or treaty bodies.  It also deals with the relationship between international law and domestic law, primarily in the U.S. but also in other countries.  Finally, the course considers areas of substantive international law, including the use of force, international human rights, and international environmental law.

7491/International Law Topics

Classes offered under this designation explore special areas of interest, including newly developing areas of law, or specialties of visiting faculty and fellows. Students should consult registration information specific information on classes presented under this title.

7428/International Regulation of Trade

An introduction to the field of international trade regulation.  Focused primarily on the interpretation and application of key provisions of the major trade treaties falling under the jurisdiction of the World Trade Organization, the course also examines arbitral decisions interpreting and applying provisions of separate bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade treaties such as NAFTA.

7446/International Trade and the Environment

Examines the intersection between trade liberalization and environmental protection. The course addresses protection of natural resources through unilateral trade-based measures, the legality of multilateral environmental agreements employing trade measures, utilization of science-based trade tests, and environmental impacts of foreign investment liberalization. .

210/Intl Business Transactions

his course provides a practice-based introduction to private cross-border transactions. Using a problem-solving method, it will proceed step-by-step through three main types of international business transactions: purchase/sale of goods; licensing of intellectual properties; and investment of capital in foreign countries in a service business.  We will use treaties as well as law from different countries to solve problems arising in each transaction.

215/Intl Environmental Law & Policy

This course provides an overview of the structure and basic principles of international environmental law and policy.  The first part of the course considers the challenge of addressing global environmental problems in an anarchic system, the regulatory limitations of U.S. law, and the basic structure and principles of international environmental law.  The second part of the course examines in detail the structure of the Montreal Protocol regime as a model of modern environmental agreements.

230/Intl Regulation of Trade

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the rapidly developing field of international trade regulation.  We begin by examining the World Trade Organization, the dispute resolution mechanism employed by the WTO to handle international trade disputes, and the interpretation and enforcement of the various international trade treaties - GATT, GATS, TRIPS, and TRIMS - that fall under the WTO's jurisdiction.

7437/Introduction to Chinese Law

This course is intended to provide an introduction to contemporary Chinese legal system and institutions in historical and comparative perspective. The main part of the course is devoted to a study of various important areas in the legal development of the PRC, including the legislature, sources of law as compared to the civil and common law system, the legal profession and the judiciary, administrative law, the criminal justice system, dispute resolution, and the efforts and challenges of addressing environmental degradation in China and energy problems through law.

232/Law of International Organizations

Disaster relief, climate change adaption, controls on shipping emissions, human rights gains and setbacks, curbs on illegal and unreported fishing, development assistance, nuclear inspections, peacekeeping:  this partial list only begins to suggest the range of activities that connect the world's 190+ countries in a web of institutions to regulate matters of common concern.

7412/Law of the European Union

Provides a basic introduction to the institutional architecture and jurisprudence of the European Union, with special focus on key treaty provisions and important judgments of the European Court of Justice.

7429/Law or International Organizations

Focuses on the law of treaty-based intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), including their constitutive laws, the laws governing their internal functioning, and the "laws" they promulgate in the form of binding and nonbinding agreements and regulations. The course examines the United Nations and its specialized agencies as well as other other IGO in diverse fields.

7430/Spanish Constitutional Law

An introduction to the study of comparative law that provides students with an opportunity to compare the Spanish and the American approaches to constitutional law.   The seminar focuses on similarities and differences in constitutional structure, methodology, and values.  Students attend lectures by leading Spanish legal scholars at VLS and at the University of Seville in Spain.

7402/Study Abroad Seminar: Canadian Legal System

Designed to increase study abroad opportunities for students, the specific content taught at VLS is based on the Canadian Legal System.

405/Trade and the Environment

This course is an up-to-the-minute, in-depth treatment of the intersection and frequent clash between two areas of policy and law, both of which are intended to promote human welfare and sustainable development: trade liberalization and environmental protection. The course addresses cutting-edge questions in the field, including protection of natural resources through unilateral trade-based measures, the legality of multilateral environmental agreements employing trade measures, utilization of science-based trade tests, and environmental impacts of foreign investment liberalization.

7438/Transnational Issues in the Practice of Law

Examines the broad range of transnational  issues that practitioners can expect to encounter in their law practices, such as international contracts, importing, exporting, inbound and outbound foreign investment, business immigration, protection of intellectual property, international aspects of criminal and family law, international enforcement of judgments, arbitral agreements and arbitral awards, and ethics.

380/Transnational Issues in US Law & Practice

This course examines the broad range of transnational  issues that 21st century practitioners can expect to encounter in their law practices, including international contracts, importing, exporting, inbound and outbound foreign investment, business immigration, protection of intellectual property, international aspects of criminal and family law, international enforcement of judgments, arbitral agreements and arbitral awards, ethics and much more  This 2-credit course meets once per week for a double period, and the student's grade is based 40% on a paper and 60% on an 8-hour takehome exam.