Florida State / College of Law / Academic & International Programs / International Law / Courses


Admiralty Law
A study of the law of the sea, including admiralty jurisdiction, maritime liens, limitation of liability, collision, towage, charter parties, and the rights of injured maritime workers and passengers.

PictureAsylum and Refugee Law

A study of both international and domestic legal standards regarding the treatment of refugees, torture victims and those seeking political asylum.  Asylum case law in the United States is examined, particularly for the ways in which it conforms to or contrasts with international refugee and human rights law.

China Trade Simulation

Chinese Law
This course provides an introduction to Chinese law, although it meets once a week in a seminar format in order to probe the themes of the course in as much depth as possible. Although the focus is on Chinese law, its tradition and evolution in the 20th century, the discussions and research assignment are aimed at a broader exposure, that is, to a legal system distinctive from that in the United States, and to the skills needed to research and analyze foreign law more generally. Topics include "How to Study Chinese Law," "The Historical Context," "Legislation," "Dispute Resolution," "The Judiciary and the Courts," "The Legal Profession," "Administrative Law" and "The Role of Law in Economic Development." The requirements of the course are regular attendance, participation in class discussion, and completion of a research paper of approximately 25 pages in length. If you seek to satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement with this paper, you must turn in at least one preliminary draft before spring break and respond to Professor Lee’s comments written on it. Where appropriate to the topic under discussion in class, you will be asked briefly to report on your research and how it relates to issues raised by that topic.

Comparative Law
An introduction to the characteristic features and functioning of non-common law legal systems, with emphasis on the civil law tradition. This course seeks to provide American lawyers with a basic framework for understanding foreign legal systems.

Comparative Constitutional Law

This seminar will explore selected topics in comparative constitutional law through readings of both scholarly articles and major foreign cases (in translation). The focus of the readings will be on non-U.S. systems, but throughout the course we will use the U.S. as a primary point of comparison. Topics will include: comparative federalism and separation of powers, appropriateness and methodologies for enforcing socio-economic rights in different contexts, and the links between domestic and international legal systems.

English Legal History (Oxford)
Discusses the initial courts; the emergence of the dominant royal courts, King's Bench and Common Pleas; the writ system and development of the pleading forms and the methods of proof used in trials. Considers tenures, the principal Real Actions for the recovery of land at Common Law and selected writs. Culminates in a consideration of the doctrine of estates. Briefly surveys future interests, perpetuities and the rise of uses and trusts.

European Union Law (Oxford)
An examination of the basic institutional and constitutional framework of the European Union and the fundamental legal principles that structure the internal market and the Union's external relations. The Union is studied comparatively as a legal system, as a fundamental modern legal development, and as the leading example of regional economic integration.

Foreign Relations Law
This course examines the constitutional and statutory doctrines regulating the conduct of American foreign relations. Topics include the distribution of foreign relations powers between the three branches of the federal government, the status of international law in U.S. courts, the scope of the treaty power, the validity of executive agreements, the preemption of state foreign relations activities, the power to declare and conduct war, and the political question and other doctrines regulating judicial review in foreign relations cases. Where relevant, we will focus on current events, such as the post-September 11 war on terrorism, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the clash between the federal government and the states over immigration.

Global Regulation of the Pharmaceutical Sector
Global sales of pharmaceuticals total more than $600 billion annually, with the United States constituting the world’s largest pharmaceutical market. This course addresses legal regulation of the pharmaceutical sector, from research and development to manufacturing and distribution. The principal focus is on U.S. law, including the FDA regulatory system. In addition, the course examines foreign regulation, such as the European pharmaceutical regulatory system, and the role of multilateral agencies, including the World Health Organization.

Human Rights and National Security

This course will consist of a broad based examination of the human rights legal and policy issues that have confronted the United States since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. A three credit course, it will also offer students the opportunity to satisfy the Florida State Law Upper Level Writing Requirement. Students in this course will acquire an understanding of the tensions inherent in pursuing the War Against Terror while still honoring human and civil rights, the role of international law in guiding U.S. law and policymaking, and the legal and judicial issues that have specifically arisen since 9-11.

Immigration Law
A course dealing with the rights and responsibilities of aliens and the issues involved in representing them before the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the courts.

Immigration Law Seminar

This is intended to be an advanced course in immigration law, covering specific topics in depth. Each student will make class presentations and will write a paper based on a topic arranged with the instructor. The basic statute is the Immigration and Nationality Act. Students must have had the basic course in immigration law. There will be no final examination.

International and Foreign Legal Research

A survey course of sources, methods and strategies needed for international and foreign legal research. The topics covered include secondary sources, treaties, custom and general principles, international jurisprudence, human rights law, foreign legal systems and various international legal research topics. Students will complete a research guide on a treaty chosen in consultation with their instructor.

International Aspects of Intellectual Property Law
An introduction to the characteristic features and functioning of non-common law legal systems, with emphasis on the civil law tradition. This course seeks to provide American lawyers with a basic framework for understanding foreign legal systems.

International Business Transactions
A detailed study of the structure of individual transnational business and commercial transactions, with an emphasis on three types of dealings: sales of goods, technology transfers and direct investment. Related issues involving dispute settlement and tax treatment also may be discussed.

International Criminal Law
This seminar will explore the international law that governs criminal behavior that transcends national borders. The seminar will cover general issues of accountability, the concepts of terrorism, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It will examine questions of command responsibility and superior orders, as well as the nature and scope of the current war on international terrorism. It will also examine current institutional mechanisms of international criminal law, such as the Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the new International Criminal Court. Finally, it shall address the issues of amnesties for gross human rights violations and the duty to prosecute.

International Dispute Resolution

An advanced study of the resolution of private and public international disputes through litigation arbitration and other techniques.

International Environmental Law
This is a problem-oriented course focusing on issues including marine pollution, transboundary movement of hazardous waste, climate change, biodiversity, the relation of population and the environment, and other global and transboundary environmental problems. This course is usually offered every other year.

International Human Rights Law
This problem-oriented course is designed for students seeking a general understanding of the subject as well as for students wishing to acquire specific skills for personal involvement in the promotion of International Human Rights, whether in government service or private practice.

International Tax
A study of the federal income tax laws and international tax treaty provisions that apply to transactions that cross international boundaries.

International Trade Law & Policy
An examination of the international trading system, its economic underpinnings and its regulatory structures. Primary emphasis is placed on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, both as a fundamental constitutive document and as a set of rules governing such matters as subsidies, dumping and escape clause actions. The course also reviews issues of U.S. constitutional law relevant to the conduct of international economic relations.

International Trade Simulation
A "first-of-its-kind," the class matches Florida State law students, representing a U.S. corporation, with students at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade, representing a Chinese company, in business negotiations. Although the students' negotiations are only simulations using the Internet, those at both ends gain valuable international business experience.

Jessup International Law Moot Court Course

This course begins by providing a basic introduction to international law and research. When the Jessup Problem is released in late September, the class divides into teams to prepare memorials for their team. The class culminates in November with the intramural oral competition to choose the Florida State College of Law Jessup Team. The four-person team is chosen based both on the written memorial and the oral argument, and the winning team continues during the Spring semester to represent Florida State Law in the regional and international competitions.

Law of the Sea
Surveys the international law of the sea including jurisdiction, navigation, environment, natural resources and boundary delimitation. The response and role of the United States in evolving international law and the domestic legal framework for ocean policy development are also surveyed.

Laws of War

This seminar investigates whether and how the laws of war constrain different actors. It provides a historical overview as well as an exploration of the different purposes of the laws of war. The seminar covers the means and methods of war as well as protection of civilians and issues surrounding prisoners of war. It also addresses such  issues as the scope of liability during conflict; the differing constraints over international and non-international armed conflict; terrorism and the future of humanitarian law; as well as the environmental regulation of conflict.

National Security Law

This course is an introductory examination of U.S. national security law. We will study questions relating to the exercise of military force, the conduct of intelligence operations, and the detention of enemy combatants. In considering those questions, special attention will be paid to (1) how to allocate decision-making authority among the President, the Congress, and the courts; (2) how to strike the proper balance, substantively, between security and liberty, and, procedurally, between secrecy and transparency; and, (3) how to reconcile domestic law and policy objectives with international obligations and norms. We will be guided by domestic sources of law — the Constitution and such statutes as the National Security Act, the War Powers Resolution, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the USA PATRIOT Act, and the Military Commissions Act — and by international sources of law as well — the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions.

Public International Law
An introduction to a wide range of legal and policy issues centered around the relationships among nations and the role of law in world order. Problems studied include the nature and sources of international law, the existence and activities of states, the status of individuals and associations within the international legal system, and issues of war, development and environmental protection.

Selected Topics in International Law
This seminar considers topics from the jurisprudence of international law to current issues as diverse as the law of war and terrorism, the development of international criminal law, the rule of law in emerging democracies and legal issues arising from the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to China. Students have the opportunity for in-depth research in specialized issues of international law.

Seminar on the Law of China

This course provides an in-depth introduction to Chinese law.  The focus is on Chinese law, its tradition and evolution in the 20th century. The discussions and research assignment are aimed at a broadening exposure to a legal system distinctive from that in the United States, and at developing  the skills needed to research and analyze foreign law more generally.

War and Intervention

In this seminar we will study the legal, ethical and political aspects of war and intervention. The first part of the seminar will cover the history of war and various theoretical frameworks used to explain it: just war theory, realism and pacifism. The second part of the seminar will explore the current international law regarding the use of force, with a special emphasis on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. We will discuss the notion of aggression, self-defense and humanitarian intervention under customary and UN Charter law, including pertinent resolutions of the UN Security Council. Finally, time permitting, we will conduct an introductory survey of the laws of war as established in the Geneva Convention. Students must read the assigned materials, participate in class, and write a paper on a topic related to the seminar. The final grade will be based on these factors.

War Crimes Tribunals

This seminar is a critical examination of international human tribunals relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity (including genocide), involving a comparison of the post-World War II Nuremberg trials and more recent trials such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), special courts in Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Iraq. Attention will also be given to the new International Criminal Court (ICC), as well as alternatives to criminal tribunals (e.g., amnesty; truth and reconciliation commissions).