Course Descriptions


Professor Susan Tiefenbrun

This course examines the global human rights movement that grew out of World War II and how international human rights laws, instruments and institutions respond to human rights violations.  International human rights include civil and political rights, economic rights, social and cultural rights, women’s rights and children’s rights.  These rights are reflected in legal norms, political contexts, moral ideas, international relations, and foreign policy.  This course uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the laws and policies of international human rights as applied to all individuals in general and to women in particular.  The course reviews applicable international human rights laws, instruments, U.N. treaty organs, regional and international tribunals, and the role of NGOs in the human rights movement.  The course analyzes state and international policies, practices, and attitudes in order to understand the causes and consequences of discrimination and abuse perpetrated on individuals.  Gender justice and the empowerment of women to facilitate full enjoyment of their human rights, accountability, and enforcement are a central themes of the course.  Special attention is paid to the universal crime of sex slavery, human trafficking, and rape as a weapon of war in the development of massive human rights violations.  The prevalent use of children as soldiers is also examined.  Students analyze the rules and standards of contemporary human rights as expressed in states’ constitutions, laws, practices, international treaties, customs, court decisions, investigative reports, and recommendations of international institutions, and governmental and non-governmental actors in order to understand the ongoing development of international human rights laws.


Professor Ben Templin

Global intellectual property law is one of the core issues for international business attorneys. This course studies the international systems for establishing trademark, copyright and patent rights. Within that context, the course will consider the roles of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as the various multilateral and bilateral agreements that exist, including but not limited to the TRIPS Agreement. The patchwork of intersecting treaties that relate to intellectual property rights has led to an increase in litigation in recent years over international patents, trademarks, and copyrights. This course examines recent cases with an emphasis on preparing students for the practice of law. Students do not need a background in technology or intellectual property to take this course.


Professor Maurice Dyson

This course serves as both an introduction to European tort law and as a comparative inquiry into especially thorny areas of U.S. tort law.  First, we will gain a basic understanding of the nature of the tort law systems in three European countries (France, Germany, and England), focusing especially on standards for intent, negligence, strict liability, and liability for defective products.  Then, we will examine more deeply, and from a comparative perspective, how these three European legal systems have sought to resolve a number of specific issues that remain especially contentious in U.S. tort law.  Examples of the types of specific questions covered in the course include: whether liability should attach for not providing assistance in emergency situations (the “no duty to rescue” rule); the extent of the privilege of self-defense (the “no duty to retreat” rule); liability for stand-alone emotional distress; liability for wrongful conception (birth); liability for children; and liability for the mentally incapacitated.


Professor Steve Berenson

As the forces of globalization progress, all practicing family lawyers need to become international lawyers.  The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the growing web of international law sources that they are likely to encounter in the practice of family law.  Topics covered will include recognition of foreign marriages and divorces, mail-order marriages, international child-custody disputes and abductions, international child-support enforcement, and international adoptions.  Focus will be placed upon problems from actual practice in addition to theoretical understanding.