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This subject examines the various roles played by lawyers within the international legal order, including as advisers, advocates, negotiators, settlers of disputes, and drafters of legislation, contracts and treaties. Within the integrated theoretical frameworks of legal ethics, professional regulation, comparative law, and public and private international law, students will explore the complex functions and responsibilities of ‘international lawyers’, meaning those operating in the following international contexts:
- private lawyers acting in cross-border contractual negotiations, cross-border transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, or cross-border disputes involving individuals or firms;
- private lawyers practising domestic law in foreign jurisdictions;
- lawyers in internationally focused non-governmental organisations and think tanks;
- government lawyers addressing international issues; and
- lawyers within the Secretariat of an international organisation.
The class will have the opportunity to hear from and interact with expert interlocutors on-site at a diverse range of governmental, intergovernmental, non-governmental and commercial entities, taking into account recent developments.
Intended learning outcomes
A candidate who has successfully completed this subject will:
- have an expert understanding of their future opportunities and obligations as a lawyer in a globalised world;
- have a specialist understanding of the integrated relationship between domestic and international laws, and the interaction between the laws of different countries, in the context of acting as a lawyer in an international environment;
- be able to clearly explain, reflect on and critique the various accountability mechanisms that govern the practice of law in an international context; and
- have advanced knowledge of key contextual factors influencing international lawyers from the perspectives of law, policy, politics, diplomacy, and management.
Students who successfully complete this subject will have developed the following skills:
- advanced written communication skills: essay-writing, writing short reports and announcements, writing professional emails to institutions and individuals, writing an extended piece of legal research;
- advanced oral communication skills: discussions, debates, question and answer sessions, introducing and thanking guest presenters;
- cognitive skills: critical thinking, problem-solving, analytical skills;
- professionalism: engaging in a thoughtful and professional manner with individuals and organisations in a range of international contexts;
- specialised capacities in information seeking and evaluation;
- writing and working in small groups;
- working with and in different institutional and national cultures; and
- complex and specialised legal research.
Last updated: 18 December 2020