London Curriculum

Bj 8
Notre Dame's London Global Gateway is located next to Trafalgar Square in central London. This photo of Trafalgar Square was taken from the roof of Fischer Hall, Notre Dame's academic building.

Courses in the London Law Programme are taught by a premiere global group of academics and practitioners composed of experts based in the United Kingdom and faculty in residence from Notre Dame Law School’s main campus. Students are able to satisfy certain requirements of the Law School curriculum and enroll in core courses while also benefiting from three pathways of study. Central to the curriculum is a comparative and international focus informed by the unique context of London as a city and unique legal market.       

Three pathways of study

  • International Commercial, Tax, and Intellectual Property Law

Students with an interest in structuring transnational licensing agreements and commercial sales may be particularly interested in this pathway of study. Students can select from comparative courses such as Comparative Antitrust Law, International and Comparative Intellectual Property Law, and EU focused courses such as European Civil and Commercial Litigation, European Union Data Privacy, and European Union Competition Law. Courses with an international law focus include International Trade Law, International Tax Law, and International Commercial Law. 

  • International Capital Markets and Corporate Law

Students with an interest in transnational mergers and acquisitions and investments may be particularly interested in this pathway of study. Students can select from the following courses with a cross border focus: Securities Regulation and Transnational Capital Markets, Banking Regulation and Banking Law, Transnational Mergers and Acquisitions, Foreign Investment Law, and Transnational Corporate Finance. 

  • Public International and International Human Rights Law

Students with an interest in how the intersection of business and human rights affects multinational companies, in the protection of human rights in Europe, and in the system of international law may be particularly interested in this pathway of study. Courses in human rights and international law include Public International Law, United Nations Human Rights Supervision, Jurisprudence of International Human Rights, International Human Rights: Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the UN, and European Human Rights Law. Students may also take specialized courses in International Environmental Law and Transnational Anti-Terrorism Law.

London Courses

LAW 74101 Business Associations

Studies American agency, partnership and corporate law. The first part of the course explores what makes a business entity a corporation, but includes consideration of other business forms such as sole proprietorships and partnerships. The second part of the course addresses the operation of the corporation, and considers internal and external forms of control and regulation. Both parts of the course emphasize the substantive law as well as compliance with statutory formalities such as are contained in the Delaware Corporation Code.

LAW 74401 Public International Law

The course aims to both provide a solid grounding on the general questions, structures and rules of international law and explore current themes, issues and challenges. The first part of the course will explore the fundamental building blocks of international law, constantly discussing how and to what extent these fundamentals are changing. For example, in the discussion of legal personality particular focus will be given to non-state actors and to human rights and self-determination; in the discussion of jurisdiction, particular focus will be made to states claiming and enforcing extraterritorial or even universal jurisdiction. The second part of the course will focus on specific legal regimes, institutions and challenges at the forefront of the development of international law. Special emphasis will be placed on how international law grapples with war and crime, in an era of non-state armed groups and individual rights and obligations. Finally, we will explore the challenges arising from the growth of investment law. The course will end with an assessment of the law of international organisations and the current shape and health of the most traditional of institutions, the United Nations.

LAW 74423 International Taxation

The course covers the structure, principles, rules and application of the U.S. international tax system. Specifically, it covers the rules that apply to U.S. and foreign entities and individuals engaged in cross-border operations and transactions.  Included are jurisdictional principles, the inbound and outbound regimes, income tax treaties, transfer pricing, foreign reporting requirements and the 2017 tax reform. U.S. international tax policy and likely future developments in the U.S. international tax system are also considered. 

The course will provide students with a strong understanding of the U.S. international tax system and how the system operates in practice. Students will understand the domestic and international legal, political and economic contexts of the system. In addition, they will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to explore and analyze it in greater depth.

LAW 74451 English Legal System

The aim of this course is to provide you with a basic introduction to the legal system so that you understand the sources of English law, the court structure, the tribunal system, civil and criminal procedure, in outline, legal aid and the personnel of the legal system: lawyers, judges, juries and magistrates. By the end of the course, you should also be able to critically evaluate elements of the legal system, to a level appropriate to graduate learning outcomes in the JD.

LAW 74522 European Civil and Commercial Litigation

This course will introduce the framework, procedures, law and practice which govern the litigation of civil and commercial claims between the United Kingdom and the current EU 27-member states and intra-EU civil and commercial litigation. It will also explore the legal framework which governs the law and practice of civil and commercial litigation with non-EU member states (including United States jurisdictions). The course will provide essential knowledge of UK and EU civil and commercial litigation rules for those who intend to practice with law firms in the United States advising clients who conduct business with the UK, EU member states and other European jurisdictions. Practical examples and case-studies will be used through-out the course to illustrate the application of the rules and practice for European commercial and civil litigation from the perspective of US-based claimants and defendants. Consideration will be given where relevant to the current processes in connection with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (‘Brexit’).

The course will provide a thorough and practical insight into the myriad of potential issues that any lawyer involved in civil or commercial litigation involving the UK and/or other EU member states should be aware of. During the course key areas including jurisdiction, choice of law, the rules on contractual and non-contractual obligations and the enforcement of US judgments, orders and arbitral awards in the UK and EU will be discussed.

LAW 74821 Jurisprudence

The class covers a broad range of theories and theorists in the philosophy of law. The focus is on developments in the 20th century through to today, but we will also take a historical view, studying ancient and medieval thinkers who raised many of the same questions considered by modern legal philosophers. One objective of the course is to acquire an understanding of how philosophical study of law has developed over the years, including familiarity with the views and approaches of philosophers such as Plato, Aquinas, Jeremy Bentham, HLA Hart, Ronald Dworkin and John Finnis. Another objective is to gain proficiency in thinking philosophically about law, and the ability to formulate clear propositions and defend them, within the various topics taken up. These topics include, among others, the authority of law (What is the basis and extent of the obligation to obey the law? When, if ever, is civil disobedience justified?); the legitimate aim and reach of law (Should law be grounded on moral judgment? Should lawmakers seek to improve the moral character of citizens?); the relationship between the content of law and its validity (Are seriously unjust laws truly laws? Are they a proper basis for judicial decisions?); and the relationship between the content of law and interpretation or application of law (Is law just what judges say it is? Is law just a prediction of what judges will in fact do?).

LAW 74251 Comparative Federalism

This course will be wide-ranging in orientation, addressing the constitutional law of federalism from a comparative perspective. A particular case study will be devolved government in the United Kingdom which will be compared to federal systems around the world.

The course will take a historical, theoretical and empirical approach to the subject of federalism, seeking to draw out what is meant by the federal idea of government over time. We will address commonalities that can be identified across federal systems, and also the differences in theory and practice that have emerged within federal systems around the world.

LAW 74407 Comparative Law

The comparative law course will have two key parts. First, the method and theory of comparative law: in this part the course will explore and critique the extensive literature on what comparative law is, what it should be and how to do it. Included here will be analysis of how comparative law relates to legal history, sociology and other related disciplines. This section will show how appropriate use of comparative law can prevent three mistakes: that a common rule across jurisdictions must result from common needs, that a common or similar rule has been adopted solely on its merits in the market place of ideas and that a rule which has flourished in more than one place can be explained by the circumstances of only one time and place.

The second part of the course will turn to substantive comparative law. Examples will be drawn widely, including from the English and Welsh, French, German, with reference to other systems in passing. The principles and concepts of comparative law will be tested out primarily in one field, private law, with a focus on the law of tort. Materials will be provided in English and the original languages, no foreign language skills will be required

LAW 74433 International Trade Law

The purpose of this course is to offer an understanding of (1) the history and the functioning of the WTO as an international organization, and with particular focus on the WTO dispute settlement system but also consideration of some of the novelties regarding dispute settlement introduced by preferential trade agreements, as well as some of the challenges facing the organization; (2) the main obligations under trade agreements (and especially the WTO treaties), with particular emphasis on market access, the underlying principles of national treatment and most favored nation treatment, the balancing between trade and non-trade interests, and the relationship between the different agreements; (3) an understanding of the position of WTO law in the wider context of international law.

LAW 74252 Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights

This course investigates the foundations of human rights, both in morality and international law. It begins with an inquiry into the historical lineage of human rights, examining contrasting views that see them as moral standards that were acknowledged even in ancient times with those that conceive of them as fairly recent (1970s) inventions. Topics covered next include: (1) the nature of human rights, in particular whether they are universal moral rights or instead political norms with a specific political role (such as triggering intervention or acting as benchmarks of political legitimacy). The UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights will be treated as a case study for comparing these different (‘orthodox’ v  ‘political’) views; (2) the lively recent debate on the rival possible groundings of human rights: in personhood, basic needs, a plurality of human interests, our inviolability as members of the moral community, our relationship to God, as well as theories that reject the need for grounding as outmoded; (3) how human rights are related to other considerations, such as common goods, and whether they conflict among themselves and how such conflicts are to be resolved; (4) whether human rights are inherently ‘ethnocentric’ or ‘parochial’ to the West, and the implications of the answer to this question for a human right to democracy. With this background in the moral theory of human rights, the last third of the course focuses on international human rights law, with special attention to (1) what makes human rights law distinctive as a domain of law; (2) the legitimacy and effectiveness of international human rights law, with a special focus on whether it can bind sovereign states; (3) norms of international human rights law considered as customary norms, norms of jus cogens, and sources of minimum core obligations; (4) the relationship between international human rights law and humanitarian intervention, on the one hand, and criminal prosecution, on the other, in the case of gross human rights violations; and (5) the question whether international human rights law has in recent years “overreached” and how this relates to the populist and authoritarian backlash against such law.

LAW 74125 Mergers and Acquisitions

We will cover federal regulation and state law litigation in hostile takeovers, including proxy battles.  The classes on non-hostile acquisitions will focus on the importance of due diligence and negotiation together with regulatory and other issues involved in an acquisition.  There will also be a discussion of comparative and different approaches to takeover regulation and insider dealing in the United States and England.

Students will have the opportunity to learn from practitioners in the field in the form of guest lectures, in particular on the topics of transactional due diligence, negotiation of acquisition agreements and regulation of insider dealing.

LAW 74386 English Legal History

This course will look at the following topics:

What is Legal History? A visit in a time machine to eleventh century Westminster.

The legal system under the Anglo Saxons. The Norman Conquest. feudal land law, the King and the Curia Regis. The position of the Church. Reforms of Henry I.

The development of the common law in the eleventh century following the civil war under King Stephen. Massive reform and development with centralisation under Henry II.

Reaction under King John. Magna Carta. The development of Parliament under Henry III. The forms of action created as society moves from an agricultural to a mercantile economy.

The Barons revolt. Edward I's Parliaments. Equity and the rise of law reporting through the year books. Rise of the legal profession in the 14th century.

Weak monarchy in the fifteenth century. The Wars of the roses. Rise of Parliament.

The rise of the Tudors in the sixteenth century and their use of Parliament in Henry VIII's Great Matter. Henry's Imperialism and the relative decline of common law and equity.

The new settlement under Elizabeth and the rise of the middle classes especially the increasing importance of the legal profession. Development of the law to cover new commercial situations.

The seventeenth century and the Stuart monarchy. Major clash between James I and the senior Judiciary. Equity's rise and the use of Conciliar justice.

The Civil War and the Commonwealth. The Restoration Settlement and the growing supremacy of Parliament. The Glorious Revolution. The law under Queen Anne. A look at the criminal law and the South Sea Bubble.

The Eighteenth Century and the Four Georges. Criminal law's development and reform. The loss of the American colonies and the growth of the USA and its legal systems. Growing differences between the two jurisdictions

LAW 74410 UN & Human Rights

The course will review the principles and practice of United Nations human rights supervision by guiding students to critically interrogate the available evidence concerning the effectiveness of four United Nations mechanisms mandated to supervise the implementation of the human rights obligations assumed by States.  The course will guide students in their assessment of the mandates, working methods and outcomes of Human Rights Council, the human rights treaty bodies, the Special Procedures mandate system and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

Particular attention will be paid to the supervision of the performance of selected countries including the United States, Myanmar, Burundi and Sri Lanka. There will be an opportunity for students to attend and observe sessions of one or more of these international supervisory mechanisms at work in Geneva, Switzerland.

LAW 74435 International Arbitration

This course will introduce international commercial, investor-State and State-to-State arbitration.  Arbitration is one of the oldest forms of dispute resolution, but it has grown in importance in tandem with the spread of globalisation.  It is now the most favoured form of international dispute resolution.  During this course, we will consider why arbitration works so well to resolve international disputes.  

In particular, we will study the complex legal framework within which international arbitrations take place and the principal treaties that support that framework.  These include the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958 (the “New York Convention”) and the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States of 1965 (the “ICSID Convention”).  The New York Convention imposes an obligation on national courts around the world to recognize and enforce international commercial arbitration agreements and awards.  The ICSID Convention establishes a sui generis legal regime for the resolution of disputes between foreign investors and host States.  

We will also study the procedural aspects of international arbitration, which are characterized by neutrality, confidentiality, party autonomy and flexibility.  These characteristics, along with the enforceability of arbitral awards, are the keys to international arbitration’s popularity and success.

LAW 74459 EU Law

The European Court of Justice said in 1963: “The Treaties establish a new legal order of international law, for the benefit of which the states have limited their sovereign rights, albeit within limited fields, and the subjects of which comprise not only Member States but also their nationals. Case 26/62, Van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen [1963] ECR 1.

In the first part of this course we shall examine the nature of this legal order, given expression in the concepts of direct effect and supremacy, and of its relationship with that of the Member States, the decision-making process and functions of the institutions, the sources of law, general principles of Union law and the implementation of Union law at a national level.

LAW 74103 Banking Regulation

To provide an introduction to European banking regulation (both EU and UK) and the basics of banking litigation in the UK.

EU banking regulation gives effect to the decisions made by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, of which both the USA and the UK are members. The banking regulation part of the course will compare the approaches used by the EU and UK regulators, both of which are distinct from those of financial service regulators in the USA. The banking litigation part of the course will focus principally on English law, looking at how English courts decide cases involving banks and exploring the reasons why English law is the preferred law for many financial services contracts.

LAW74436 Comparative Methodology: Contract Law

This course will be case-oriented, using a learning by doing approach to comparative law. In each session, we start with a scenario taken from the case law of the courts around the world and raising a highly topical issue of contract law. Students work with materials from different jurisdictions, allowing them to solve the case under different legal systems. The materials (code provisions, court decisions and — where appropriate — extracts of academic writing) represent the current state of the law in different European jurisdictions and, for example, the USA, Canada, or China. They further include the Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG), the Principles of European Contract Law and the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts. 

The first step will be to solve cases with the different sources. The second step is to analyse and compare the solutions and to try to discover if any common principles exist across borders for the raised issue. Where the solutions diverge, we analyse their respective pros and cons and discuss which of the solutions might be the most appropriate to solve the problem at issue, from a comparative and an international perspective. The topics cover contract conclusion, remedies in case of non-performance, the law applicable to cross-border contracts, and jurisdiction in international contract cases