“Judicial Federalism in the European Union,” new article by Professor Wells

Professor Michael Lewis Wells, who holds the Marion and W. Colquitt Carter Chair in Tort and Insurance Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published an article comparing judicial practice in Europe and the United States. Entitled “Judicial Federalism in the European Union,” it appears at 54 Houston Law Review Winter ​697 (2017).

The manuscript, which forms part of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper Series at SSRN, may be downloaded at this SSRN link.

Here’s the abstract:

This article compares European Union judicial federalism with the American version. Its thesis is that the European Union’s long-term goal of political integration probably cannot be achieved without strengthening its rudimentary judicial institutions. On the one hand, the EU is a federal system in which judicial power is divided between EU courts, of which there are only three, and the well-entrenched and longstanding member state court systems. On the other hand, both the preamble and Article 1 of the Treaty of Europe state that an aim of the European Union is “creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.” The article argues that central government courts and member state courts are not fungible. In close cases, the latter are more likely than the former to favor the member state’s interests. The EU’s approach to judicial federalism, with its heavy reliance on member state courts, will retard the political integration envisioned by the Treaty. The article develops this thesis by comparing EU judicial federalism with the American variant, which differs from the EU system in two key respects: First, most issues of EU law are adjudicated in the member state courts. In the U.S., a network of lower federal courts adjudicates many federal law issues. Second, the U.S. Supreme Court reviews state court judgments that turn on issues of federal law. The Court of Justice of the European Union does not review member state judgments, even on issues of EU law. The article argues that these aspects of the federal system in the U.S. were indispensable to achieving and maintaining national unity. If the EU aspires to a similar level of political integration, their absence may prove to be a significant obstacle.

Professor Wells publishes review of book on torts harmonization in Europe

Professor Michael Lewis Wells, who holds the Marion and W. Colquitt Carter Chair in Tort and Insurance Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has posted “Harmonizing European Tort Law and the Comparative Method: Basic Questions of Tort Law from a Comparative Perspective” at SSRN. The review of a book by a Viennese torts scholar is forthcoming in volume 9 of the peer-reviewed Journal of Civil Law Studies.

The manuscript, which forms part of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper Series at SSRN, may be downloaded here.

Here’s the abstract:

This is a book review of Basic Questions of Tort Law from a Comparative Perspective, edited by Professor Helmut Koziol. This book is the second of two volumes on “basic questions of tort law.” In the first volume, Professor Helmut Koziol examined German, Austrian, and Swiss tort law. In this volume Professor Koziol has assembled essays by distinguished scholars from several European legal systems as well as the United States and Japan, each of whom follows the structure of Koziol’s earlier book and explains how those basic questions are handled in their own systems.

This review focuses on Professor Koziol’s ultimate aim of harmonization, and on the contribution of these essays to that project. Harmonization of tort law across the member states is not just a matter of working out answers to such questions as the content of the liability rule or whether non-pecuniary harm should be recoverable. Harmonization raises an issue of European Union federalism. That question is not explicitly addressed in either volume, yet the value of the project, and prospects for its success, turn on the answer to it. I argue that Professor Koziol has not made a convincing case for EU displacement of member state tort law.

International courts studied in new volume co-edited by Professor Cohen

Harlan Grant Cohen, the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has just posted at SSRN “Introduction: Legitimacy and the Courts”, the opening segment of a forthcoming  Cambridge University Press volume. Institutions treated in subsequent chapters include the International Court of Justice, the World Trade Organization, the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, and the European Court of Human Rights.

Cohen co-edited the forthcoming essay collection, entitled Legitimacy and International Courts, with Baltimore Law Professor Nienke Grossman, Deputy Director of her law school’s Center for International and Comparative Law, and two Oslo Law professors who co-direct that university’s PluriCourts project, Andreas Føllesdal and Geir Ulfstein.

The “Introduction” manuscript, which forms part of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper Series at SSRN, may be downloaded here.

Here’s the abstract:

Legitimacy and International Courts examines the underpinnings of legitimacy, or the justification of the authority, of international courts and tribunals. It brings together an esteemed group of authors, noted for both their expertise in individual courts, tribunals, or other adjudicatory bodies, and their work on legitimacy, effectiveness, and governance more broadly, to consider the legitimacy of international courts from a comparative perspective. Authors explore what strengthens and weakens the legitimacy of various different international courts, while also considering broader theories of international court legitimacy. Some chapters highlight the sociological or normative legitimacy of specific courts or tribunals, while others address cross-cutting issues such as representation, democracy, independence and effectiveness.

This Introduction surveys some of the key contributions of this volume and distills some of the lessons of its varied chapters for the legitimacy of international courts. Parts II and III are largely conceptual in approach, exploring what legitimacy means for each and all of the courts. Part IV takes a more functional approach, exploring how various factors internal or external to particular courts have contributed to those courts’ normative or sociological legitimacy. Part V provides thumbnail summaries of each the chapters that follow.

Learning law on both sides of Atlantic: Join Georgia Law at Oxford Spring 2017

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Learning in London: Georgia Law at Oxford Spring 2016 students with Professor-in-Residence James Smith and Kit Traub (JD 1988), Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs (acting), U.S. Embassy

Over the last decade, more than a hundred U.S. students have enriched their legal studies through Georgia Law’s offering of a semester-long experience the University of Oxford, one of England’s most venerable institutions. Providing 12 credits over the course of about 15 weeks, Georgia Law at Oxford is one of the few such semester-long opportunities among U.S. law schools.

According to Georgia Law Professor Joseph Miller, Director of Georgia Law at Oxford:

“The Oxford program is deeply engaging and rewarding. I remember my time there in Spring 2013 so fondly, and I continue to hear from alums of the program about how much they grew and learned in Oxford, one of the world’s ultimate university towns. It’s filled with life and living history, side by side.”

Applications are welcome for Spring 2017. Interested Georgia Law students are encouraged to attend one of 2 information sessions next week, to be held on Monday, March 14, and Wednesday, March 17; interested students from other law schools should contact Professor Miller, getmejoe[at]uga[dot]com, for information about attending as a University of Georgia visiting student.

The exciting Spring 2017 curriculum will be led by professors from both sides of the Atlantic:

Chapman_head► Georgia Law Professor Nathan Chapman (right) will be the Georgia Law professor in residence in Spring 2017. He’ll teach 2 courses, for a total of 7 units:

►► Comparative Constitutional Law: The course will survey the historical and philosophical origins of constitutionalism, with a special emphasis on the development of the liberal constitutional tradition associated with Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man. The bulk of the course will explore the different structures, procedures, and rights provisions in a variety of contemporary constitutional systems (including treaty-based systems such as the European Union). A special concern will be legitimacy and methods of constitutional change.

►► The History of the Common Law: Using the excellent textbook by Langbein, Lettow Lerner, and Smith, this course will survey the development of the common law, courts, and legal profession in England and the United States, giving special emphasis to the ways that the common law and legal practice have diverged in England and American in the past 200 years. The course will conclude by comparing how the practice of law is structured and regulated in both countries today.

enchelmaierTN► Joining Professor Chapman will be Oxford Law’s Stefan Enchelmaier (left), Professor of European and Comparative Law. His 2-unit course, EU Economic Law, will examine the economic components of European Union law.

► Rounding out the curriculum will be a 3-unit Supervised Research Tutorial, modeled on the format of the renowned Oxford tutorial and taught by an array of Oxford Law faculty. Small-group meetings will be devoted to planning or revising the research paper that each student will complete during the semester, on a topic of comparative or international law.

Details and application here.