“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.

Global migration topic of 2-day AILA event our alumna’s helping organize

On behalf of a member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, we’re pleased to announce an upcoming event:

The American Immigration Lawyers Association Global Migration Section  will host a conference entitled “Global Immigration in a Protectionist World” June 20-21, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Panel topics include: the future of immigration law from a global perspective, running a global practice, consular processing, European Union immigration directives in light of Brexit, cybersecurity, and global mobility options for LGBT clients.

Alumna and Council member Anita E. J. Ninan (above), who is Of Counsel at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Atlanta and Advocate, Bar Council of Delhi, India, serves on the conference committee for this group – which, she writes, is

“the global outbound immigration section of AILA and includes foreign attorneys and legal practitioners as its members.”

Registration (early bird rates end May 10) and further details here.

Amid UK Brexit furor, Consul General stresses Ireland’s solidarity with EU

“Ireland will be committed to the European Union for the long term.”

stephens2That pledge formed the core message of “Ireland, the European Union, and Brexit,” the talk that Shane Stephens, the Irish Consul General in Atlanta, delivered yesterday to students at the University of Georgia School of Law. (Sponsoring were Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, along with the university’s Willson Center for Humanities & Arts and School of Public & International Affairs.) Stephens, who represents Ireland throughout the southeastern United States, continued:

“The European Union is a massively successful peace process, first and foremost. It brought the countries of Europe so close that another war like the 1st and 2d World Wars cannot happen again. It expanded peace, prosperity, and democratic principles. That’s been good for Europe, and good for the world as well.”

The diplomat’s fiercely pro-EU stance contrasts with the current political climate in Ireland’s eastern neighbor and former colonizer – the United Kingdom, where, on June 23 of this year, British voters opted to leave the EU by a margin of 52% to 48%. Brexit hit a snag last week, when Britain’s High Court ruled that only Parliament has the power to take leave from the EU. But that decision awaits appeal to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom; Stephens’ talk proceeded on the assumption that leave eventually would occur.

“Anticipation of Brexit already has had a huge impact in Ireland and the United Kingdom,”

he explained. By way of example, he noted that the value of the pound sterling has plummeted, and that has made Irish crops more costly, and so less desirable, in the British marketplace.

stephens1Stephens predicted that the UK would retain some relationship with the EU, but said its contours would depend on negotiations between the two. Given the anti-immigration sentiment that helped propel “Leave” to victory, a sticking point may be the free movement of workers. Stephens said:

“This is one of the core principles of the EU, one of the things that makes the EU great, in my view.”

(Driving home the point was Mise Éire/I am Ireland, the brief Irish government video that he showed, which reveals diversity in the Irish polity.) Stephens said he expected access to Europe’s single market to remain contingent on acceptance of the freedom of movement, yet surmised that “pragmatic” negotiations might produce a solution to this disagreement.

Brexit poses opportunities as well as challenges for Ireland, Stephens noted. Ireland’s status as a “market-oriented” European country is likely to increase. Its already enjoys strengths in financial technology, pharmaceuticals, and the software industry, with giants like Google having significant presence on the island. In Stephens’ words:

“Ireland is a place where people are happy to work.”

“Tension in globalization”: Professor Harlan G. Cohen on Britain’s EU vote

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Among the University of Georgia experts offering comments on “Brexit,” the June 23 referendum by which Britons voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 52% to 48%, is Professor Harlan G. Cohen.

Cohen, whose expertise includes global governance, foreign affairs law, and trade law, said:

“After the Brexit vote, the one thing that’s predictable is that we’re facing a long period of uncertainty. Yesterday, everyone knew what the rules were. While the rules don’t change today, no one knows what the rules will be in in three months or two years. The terms of trade in goods and services between the U.K. and the rest of the EU, the rights of U.K. citizens to work, to health care, and to travel in other EU countries, intelligence sharing between the U.K. and the other EU governments, and the regulation of any number of industries in the U.K. are now open to debate at home and subject to negotiations abroad. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union lays out a process for withdrawal but subjects everything to negotiation between the U.K. and the other 27 member states. No one can know today where exactly those negotiations will lead.

“More broadly, the Brexit vote highlights the long-recognized tension in globalization. Increasingly, the things we want cannot be achieved and the problems we face cannot be solved by one country alone. They can only be achieved or solved through cooperation and coordination. But as we move key decisions to more regional or global levels, it becomes harder for people to feel that their voice is really being heard, that they really have a say in the rules defining their lives. When those global or regional decisions are controversial, as many EU decisions have been, those who disagree and feel left out are less likely to see the decisions as legitimate. In a modern globally interconnected world, the regulation we need is in constant tension with the governance we want. And it’s not clear that tension can be resolved. There are ways to manage this tension, which many people will be revisiting after the Brexit vote, but their effectiveness is limited.”

His remarks add to the reflections by a Georgia Law student who is a summer Global Extern in London; her thoughts here. (photo credit)

 

“London had fallen”: Brexit reflections from a Georgia Law Global Extern

It’s our pleasure today to publish this post by Shirley Kathryn Griffis (below right), a member of the Georgia Law Class of 2017. Katie, as she’s known, spent Spring 2016 as  in our study abroad at Oxford University, and then began her second summer as a Global Externship Overseas in the London law firm Maples Teesdale. Reflecting on last week’s “Brexit” vote, Katie writes:

KatieThe first thing I thought on Friday morning was, “this can’t have happened.” It was a sentiment shared by almost all of my colleagues at Maples Teesdale’s London office, where I am spending my summer Global Externship Overseas. Together, we spent Friday morning pulling up articles, dusting off our United Kingdom constitutional law practice guides, and sharing legal theories on how the Brexit vote might be undone. It seemed that through the 51.9% to 48.1% vote to leave the European Union, London had fallen.

And we were in denial:

“The referendum is not legally binding.”

“Parliament can override.”

“Scotland won’t accept this. They can block it.”

“Cameron didn’t invoke Article 50, there’s still a chance.”

“Did you see the petition for the second referendum? Three million signatures! This won’t stand.”

The mood in London quickly turned from denial to anger when Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the results of the referendum must be respected, and the members of Parliament largely agreed. I chimed in with other voices from London on social media, asking how this could have happened. The feeling in London is that there is so much to be angry about that it is hard to know where to start, and whom to blame. Londoners started circulating a secessionist petition, there was a rally in Trafalgar Square to show solidarity with Europe, and everyone is talking about immigrating to Ireland.

London has a long way to go before accepting the reality of Brexit. The financial markets are reeling. The pound has plummeted, hitting a 31-year low in just four hours, and four major companies—Prudential Insurance, HSBC, BT and Royal Bank of Scotland—announced they were considering major staffing changes to include relocation or mass downsizing. As the financial capital of the United Kingdom, most major businesses in London have structured themselves to operate in accordance with European Union law and procedure. It is for this reason that London’s “stay” vote was 70% in favor—the European Union is vital to the survival of London’s economy.

FlagsThis is my second summer working for Maples Teesdale in London. I have always envisioned myself returning to London to practice after I graduate from the University of Georgia School of Law, but I worry now about whether that will be a possibility. It’s still uncertain what jobs, even industries, are safe, and how long the current financial crash will continue. I stand by my colleagues here in London, hoping that no matter how far London falls, it won’t take long at all to get back up and carry on.

Today in Brussels, from an alum & member of our Dean Rusk Council

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David Hull, a member of our Dean Rusk International Law Council, today published his thoughts about this morning‘s terrorist attacks in the city with which he 1st became acquainted as a Georgia Law summer study abroad student in the early 1980s: Brussels, Belgium.

A partner and specialist in European Union law at the firm of Van Bael & Bellis, David wrote in the Atlanta legal paper, Daily Report, that he tends to be “sanguine” about bad news, but added that these attacks hit very “close to home,” even in “their sheer randomness.”

He expressed concern about “a tendency to conflate the refugee crisis with the terrorist threat,” and “hope that a settlement can be reached in Syria in the near future and a more stable situation achieved in the Middle East generally.” Both, he concluded, require “leaders with courage and vision to find workable and lasting solutions to unprecedented challenges.”

Our thoughts are with David, his family, and the many other members of the Georgia Law community in and around Belgium, a country with which we’ve partnered since the early 1970s.

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.