Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chapter 8 (The State and Its Apparatus): From "Elements of Law" to "Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States"--Building an Introductory Course to the Legal Curriculum for the 21st Century

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

Since 2010, I have been posting on the development of a new course I have been developing for our first year law school students, "Elements of Law." The course originally had a quite modest objective--to introduce law students to legal research and reasoning through case law, statutory interpretation, and legal history, processes, and institutions. I chose to broaden its objectives within these specific parameters and development a framing and concepts course that would provide a deep foundation to law students on the legal system they were undertaking to study.
--Elements of Law 3.0: On the Relevance of a First Year Law Course Designed to Frame the Law School Curriculum).
--Developing a New Course--"Elements of Law"
--"Elements of Law" Course 2.0: A Framework Course for the U.S. Law Curriculum,
Grounded in the principles of the sociology of law, the course has morphed into an effort to introduce students to law as a self-referencing system with its own particular structures, premises, constraints and language, with its own logic and taboos and its own means of understanding the world. That systemicity (cf. Peter Checkland, Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, Chichester : John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 1999) is then a critical element in the way in which the legal system (in this case of the United States) interacts with the world, both as a legal and as a socio-economic-political actor. The course has also expanded from its original narrow and technical focus, to a broader focus on principles and the use of language and logic to build and operate a system of law. That broadening has made it possible to offer the course not just to first year law students, but also to graduate students in the social sciences and in international affairs, as a grounding in the legal systems that are important in their respective fields.

This and the posts that follow produces some of the materials I will be presenting to the class. I offer these materials in hopes that they may prove of use and that you might share comments, perspectives and suggestions as I develop those materials on this site. Thanks.

This post includes a draft of the first Chapter of Part II-- Hierarchies  of Law and Governance; Sources and Uses, Chapter 8 (The State and Its Apparatus).
 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Atlantic Council and Developments in the Movement Toward a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

I have been writing about the years long efforts by the United States to develop an alternative global trade architecture around its twin efforts, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). See HERE for a useful perspective. For the TTP see, "The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Japan, China, the U.S. and the Emerging Shape of a New World Trade Regulatory Order".

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

The Atlantic Council provides some useful information on the sometimes slow and convoluted path that is the route toward an alternative to the WTO represented by the TTIP. The Atlantic Council's board is listed here

 This post includes some links and discussion recently provided by the Atlantic Council focused on current developments in trans-Atlantic trade.

 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Paper Posted: "From Guiding Principles to Interpretive Organizations: Developing a Framework for Applying the UNGPs to Disputes that Institutionalizes the Advocacy Role of Civil Society"


(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)


I have been  considering the important issues that face international actors--states, civil society and enterprises, as the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (2011) evolves.   See HERE, HERE, and HERE.  I have been particularly concerned with what I have come to consider the part of the Guiding Principles that might benefit from more sustained attention--the so-called 3rd remedial rights pillar of the Guiding Principles.   

I am coming to believe that just as the first pillar focuses on the state and its duty to protect, and the second pillar focuses on enterprises and their responsibility to respect human rights, so the third pillar ought to focus on the individual, and civil society and their  role (in their representative capacity).  That focus ought to recognize individuals  both as object of state duty and enterprise responsibility, but more importantly, as actors in control of their role in the remedial processes, which they ought to have a hand in shaping.  It ought, as well, to recognize civil society actors in their critical institutional roles as advocates and monitors of the system of business and human rights. Civil society is central to actualizing the stakeholder roles of individuals in their participation in the evolution of the Guiding Principles and in their efforts to invoke the systems for the protection of the rights of individuals and to secure compliance by states of their duty to protect, and by enterprises of their responsibility to protect human rights. But this re-focus requires the establishment of more robust mechanics that might be used to develop those webs of interpretive opinion fundamental to the deepening of the Guiding Principles in their application to the contextually driven activities they were meant to help guide.


The abstract follows with links to the essay.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Three Views of Election Reform in Hong Kong and the One Country-Two Systems Policy




(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)


The issue of voting reform in Hong Kong has produced a lively debate about the nature of the relations between the governments in Beijing and Hong Kong and the nature of the political system and the possibilities of political reform in Hong Kong.  The South China Morning Post has been running some commentary about the issues, including the somewhat notorious issue of student political action through the Occupy Central movement.  

Thousands of students from two dozen schools in Hong Kong skipped classes Monday to protest "dictatorial" control by the Chinese central government over the territory's election rules.

Students began a weeklong boycott with a rally on the campus of Chinese University of Hong Kong, where they demanded that Beijing withdraw its election reform plan and issue an "apology to the Hong Kong people." (Joanna Chiu, DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR reprinted at Philly.co., Sept. 23, 2014)

At the same time, indications from the central government suggest a determination to more closely manage Hong Kong from Beijing (e.g.,Beijing to take a more active role in Hong Kong's affairs, hints Xi Jinping, South China Morning Post, Sept. 23, 2014). And indeed, the "One Country Two Systems" Policy may be undergoing transition in light of the State Council's recent White Paper: "The Practice of the "One Country, Two Systems" Policy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region."

This post includes three quite distinct views of the issue and provide a very useful window on the complexities of the issues and the politics of electoral reform in Hong Kong. In the first, "Lessons in Life,"Surya Deva, an associate professor in the School of Law at City University of Hong Kong, suggests that students boycotting classes in Hing Kong in support of democracy can benefit form the experience as it gives them an important lesson in experiental learning. The second, "Champions of Beijing Camp Losing the Public Opinion War on Political Reform," by Albert Chen King-hon, a Hong Kong political writer, suggests that out of touch leaders have failed to effectively sell the pending changes and have contributed to popular discontent by badly handling the situation. The last, "No Benefit for Hong Kong if Election System stays the Same," by Bernard Chan, a member fo the Executive Council, argues that so-called pan democrats are acting out of anger and failing to see the value of the proposed changes.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chapter 7 (Law Beyond Law ― Social Norms, Contract Communities, and Disclosure Regimes): From "Elements of Law" to "Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States"--Building an Introductory Course to the Legal Curriculum for the 21st Century


(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

Since 2010, I have been posting on the development of a new course I have been developing for our first year law school students, "Elements of Law." The course originally had a quite modest objective--to introduce law students to legal research and reasoning through case law, statutory interpretation, and legal history, processes, and institutions. I chose to broaden its objectives within these specific parameters and development a framing and concepts course that would provide a deep foundation to law students on the legal system they were undertaking to study.
--Elements of Law 3.0: On the Relevance of a First Year Law Course Designed to Frame the Law School Curriculum).
--Developing a New Course--"Elements of Law"
--"Elements of Law" Course 2.0: A Framework Course for the U.S. Law Curriculum,
Grounded in the principles of the sociology of law, the course has morphed into an effort to introduce students to law as a self-referencing system with its own particular structures, premises, constraints and language, with its own logic and taboos and its own means of understanding the world. That systemicity (cf. Peter Checkland, Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, Chichester : John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 1999) is then a critical element in the way in which the legal system (in this case of the United States) interacts with the world, both as a legal and as a socio-economic-political actor. The course has also expanded from its original narrow and technical focus, to a broader focus on principles and the use of language and logic to build and operate a system of law. That broadening has made it possible to offer the course not just to first year law students, but also to graduate students in the social sciences and in international affairs, as a grounding in the legal systems that are important in their respective fields.

This and the posts that follow produces some of the materials I will be presenting to the class. I offer these materials in hopes that they may prove of use and that you might share comments, perspectives and suggestions as I develop those materials on this site. Thanks.

This post includes a draft of Chapter 7 (Law Beyond Law ― Social Norms, Contract Communities, and Disclosure Regimes).
 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund: Recommendations from 2010, 2012 and 2014 regarding the companies Repsol S.A. and Reliance Industries Limited


This Press Release from the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund Global:

Today, the Council on Ethics for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global has published three recommendations regarding Repsol S.A. and Reliance Industries. The companies were partners in a joint venture which was conducting oil exploration activities in Block 39 in the Peruvian Amazon. Block 39 is located in an area which is thought to overlap the territories of indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation.

On 1 December 2010 the Council on Ethics recommended the exclusion of the companies Repsol YPF (now Repsol S.A) and Reliance Industries Limited from the Government Pension Fund Global. In the Council’s view, the exploration activity undertaken by the companies in Block 39 would increase the risk that any indigenous peoples who may be living in voluntary isolation within the block would come into contact with outsiders, leading to potentially serious consequences for these peoples’ life, health and way of living. This would constitute an unacceptable risk of the companies contributing to serious and systematic human rights violations.

On 25 May 2012, the Ministry of Finance requested that the Council on Ethics update its recommendation of 1 December 2010. The Council concluded that the grounds for exclusion were still present.

On 3 April the Council on Ethics revoked the recommendation to exclude the companies from the Fund. Repsol had informed the Council that the company had entered into an agreement to sell its share in the joint venture and confirmed that there is currently no ongoing activity in the block. The foundation on which the recommendation on exclusion was built is therefore no longer present.

The Council’s recommendation not to exclude the companies was submitted to the Ministry of Finance before the Ministry had made a decision on the previous recommendation to exclude them. The Ministry has taken note of the Council’s recommendation.

The recommendations are available in English and Spanish HERE.

The Council's 2014 recommendation follows. The most interesting part of the opinion is that the Council continues to hold its position that contact with indigenous peoples which seek to remain isolated may constitute an unacceptable risk of contributing to violations of human rights sufficient to merit exclusion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chapter 6 (Law Articulated by Regulatory Agencies: The Administrative Function): From "Elements of Law" to "Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States"--Building an Introductory Course to the Legal Curriculum for the 21st Century

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

Since 2010, I have been posting on the development of a new course I have been developing for our first year law school students, "Elements of Law." The course originally had a quite modest objective--to introduce law students to legal research and reasoning through case law, statutory interpretation, and legal history, processes, and institutions. I chose to broaden its objectives within these specific parameters and development a framing and concepts course that would provide a deep foundation to law students on the legal system they were undertaking to study.
Grounded in the principles of the sociology of law, the course has morphed into an effort to introduce students to law as a self-referencing system with its own particular structures, premises, constraints and language, with its own logic and taboos and its own means of understanding the world. That systemicity (cf. Peter Checkland, Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, Chichester : John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 1999) is then a critical element in the way in which the legal system (in this case of the United States) interacts with the world, both as a legal and as a socio-economic-political actor. The course has also expanded from its original narrow and technical focus, to a broader focus on principles and the use of language and logic to build and operate a system of law. That broadening has made it possible to offer the course not just to first year law students, but also to graduate students in the social sciences and in international affairs, as a grounding in the legal systems that are important in their respective fields.

This post produces some of the materials I will be presenting to the class. I offer these materials in hopes that they may prove of use and that you might share comments, perspectives and suggestions as I develop those materials on this site. Thanks.

This post includes a draft of Chapter 6 (Law Articulated by Regulatory Agencies: The Administrative Function).