International Business Law
Full course description
This course will cover some of the very general principles of international business law that govern various commercial transactions at the international level. The objective of this course is to enable students to answer some crucial questions regarding international business and commerce, which includes, but are not limited to the following: What is the applicable law for the transaction? What are the responsibilities and liabilities of the parties involved? Who arranges the carriage contract and who is in charge of transporting the goods from one point to another? How does the buyer pay the seller? What happens in the event that something goes wrong?
To help the students answer these questions, this course will focus on the following subject matters: 1) international sale of goods and general contract terms; 2) carriage of goods by land and sea; 3) letter of credit as a payment mechanism; and 4) international commercial arbitration as one possible way for parties to resolve their disputes. In addition to these core issues, this course will also attempt to shed light on various business concerns (e.g. business ethics) and current events that is of relevance to this course.
Given that there is a limit to our meetings and teaching times, we acknowledge that there will be a limit to what we will be able to teach the students (without force-feeding the information to students, which we do not intend to). With this in mind, this course will NOT cover various subjects including but not limited to: 1) extensive history of business/commercial law; 2) carriage of goods by air or rail; 3) leasing and financing contracts; or 4) insolvency and insurance claims just to provide a handful of examples. Our aim will NOT be to simply cram as much information as possible, but to select the essential concepts, to go over them in some depth, and to instill sufficient knowledge for the students to be able to apply these concepts in a practical manner. While the students may not become absolute experts of IBL at the end of this course, the students will possess enough foundational understanding of the subject matter, which will equip them with the ability to build further atop this foundation on their own.
The bulk of the information that the students need to succeed in this course will be presented at the lectures every week. The knowledge that the students accumulate from the lecturers (plus the information covered in the weekly handouts and various other materials) will be applied in the tutorials each week by students solving a number of practical cases. Moreover, the tutorials will be student-centered and Socratic, which is to suggest that if the tutors notice students being silent for a prolonged period of time during the tutorials, the tutors reserve the right to invite those students to participate more actively.
Legal Memorandum (60%), Negotiation (30%), and Negotiation Strategy (10%). The Mock Trial/Arbitration and the Negotiation Strategy will be a group assessment that the students will NOT be able to resit. The weight of the assignments is subject to change depending on the preference of/voting of the students in the pre-course survey.
One of the overarching issues that this course will keep coming back to is the question of what impact these “international” laws (i.e. UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods) are having on the harmonization of the law at the international/European level. Each week, the students will see evidence to suggest that there is no such thing as the "uniform law of contract" that governs an entire commercial contract from start to finish. Therefore, the students will consider "International Business Law" as a fragmented network of laws, with different laws governing each part of the transaction. Having this fundamental understanding will allow students to start grasping this complex subject matter with a bit more ease. At the of the course end, the goal is for the students to be able to demonstrate a basic level of competence and knowledge for matters related to international business law.
The students will be given a choice in terms of what type of learning materials (i.e. reader, handouts, executive summaries, podcasts, vlogs etc.) they prefer to use before the course starts. Therefore, the course materials will consist of different formats and compositions depending on what the students wish for. Substantively speaking, the materials for each week (whatever type of format and composition the students vote for) will be designed to prepare them for the lectures, the tutorials, and the assignments. In addition, the course manual will provide a weekly list of recommended readings above and beyond the mandatory materials that the students will be strongly encouraged to follow.