Georgia Law Professor Kent Barnett compares administrative law approaches at conference in Poland


Pleased today to welcome a contribution from Kent Barnett, J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law. Professor Barnett concentrates his teaching and scholarship in the areas of contracts law, consumer law, and administrative law—including comparative approaches. He contributes the post below on his recent collaboration with European counterparts on the panel above, at a conference in Poland.

In what may come as a surprise for many American administrative law scholars, the world extends beyond Washington, D.C.

These scholars rarely consider comparative approaches to administrative law or debates in other legal systems. Perhaps they can be forgiven because of the ever-increasing complexity of domestic administrative law. But as conservative and liberal political and judicial factions contest an increasing number of longstanding tenants of domestic administrative law, comparative inquires may prove more useful and timely than ever.

I confirmed this intuition recently, when I accepted an invitation to participate in a conference concerning “Judicial Deference in Competition Law,” sponsored by the Centre for Antitrust and Regulatory Studies at the University of Warsaw this month. Taking part in a panel that considered general aspects of deference law, I discussed my research into the theoretical and doctrinal foundations of how American courts defer to administrative agencies’ determinations. My co-panelists—Drs. Mira Scholten and Rob Widdershoven, both professors at the Netherlands’ University of Utrecht—discussed deference in European Union courts or theoretical models for understanding deference in most legal systems.

Most of the legal models (whether of the EU, national European courts, or U.S. courts) follow similar paths when approaching how and whether to defer to agencies. In many instances, the terminology differs or the boundaries for similar doctrines may vary slightly. But in the main, these disparate legal systems have largely reached consensus on certain matters: deference to factual findings for technical matters and deference to discretionary decisions.

But my interactions with scholars in Poland confirmed that the European model has some striking differences from the American system—differences that inform two current debates:

► One difference, as numerous panelists mentioned during the conference, is that European models distinguish between civil and “criminal” punishments. “Criminal” matters are significant agency actions, such as large fines, which require significantly more judicial oversight. American law, in contrast, does not meaningfully distinguish between insignificant and significant agency actions against regulated parties. Perhaps doing so, however, would assuage growing concerns over U.S. regulatory agencies’ ability to fine regulated parties or deprive them of necessary business licenses, especially when regulated firms demonstrate good faith attempts at regulatory compliance.

► A second difference is that European courts do not defer to agencies’ interpretations of law. American courts, on the other hand, defer under the well-known Chevron doctrine to agencies’ reasonable interpretations of ambiguous statutory provisions. The European experience suggests that whatever Chevron’s constitutional or statutory demerits, deference to agency legal interpretations is not inevitable. Instead, it is a chosen policy or jurisprudential choice whose benefits or demerits support or cut against it.

In short, the conference represents but the beginning of comparative conversations that U.S. administrative scholars can and should have to inform debates about domestic administrative law.

Visiting Scholar Piotr Uhma Delivers Lecture on International Law and Democracy

IMG_2095Last week, Georgia law faculty, students, and friends from other departments were treated to a lecture by Dr. Piotr Uhma, Visiting Research Scholar at the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Uhma presented his new paper, completed while in residence at the Center, What democracy is the value of international law? In it, he focuses on the linkages between democracy and international law, explores the shape of democracy in the context of a changing international order, and the issue of non-liberal democracy. In particular, he discussed Poland’s recent political changes and what they mean for democracy and the rule of law.

Uhma serves as a lecturer in international law and postdoctoral researcher at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Kraków University, located in Kraków, Poland. He formerly held multiple posts with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and worked as Director of the Legal and Corporate Communications Office of the Polish Electric Power Grid company, PSE Operator S.A. He has been visiting at the Center during the spring 2018 semester.

Visiting Scholar Piotr Uhma, Lecturer in International Law at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Kraków University

pu_pic3Piotr Uhma, a legal scholar from Poland, is now in residence as the spring 2018 Visiting Scholar here at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law. He joins us from the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Kraków University, located in Kraków, Poland, where he serves as lecturer in international law and postdoctoral researcher.

Uhma will continue his research on Cultures of International Law: A Security and Human Rights Perspective. Professor Harlan G. Cohen will serve as his Georgia Law faculty sponsor.

His visit continues our Center’s long tradition of hosting, for brief or extended stays, scholars and researchers whose work touches on issues of international, comparative, or transnational law. Details and an online application to become a visiting scholar here.

Uhma earned his doctorate in law from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. His dissertation on “Law creating resolutions of the UN Security Council” examines the differences between the UNSC resolutions through their law-creating effects. He also holds a Postgraduate Diploma of Company Law from the Law School of Warsaw University and a Masters of Law from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He is the co-founder and President of the European Institute Pro Futuro Europae.

Prior to entering academia, Uhma served as a Senior Good Governance Advisor in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Skopje, and a Senior Human Rights Officer in the OSCE, Mission in Kosovo. He also worked as Director of the Legal and Corporate Communications Office of the Polish Electric Power Grid company, PSE Operator S.A. and performed various consultancy and public speaking assignments in places such as Prague, Sydney, Jakarta, Strasbourg, Vienna, Amman, Nairobi, Denver, Seoul and Pamplona.

Polish law students & practitioners invited to free webinar this Monday on LL.M. study at Georgia Law

Law students and lawyers in Poland are invited to take part in a free webinar regarding postgraduate study at the University of Georgia School of Law. It’s set for 16:00 CET on Monday, March 13, and will focus on our Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, a one-year offering for foreign-trained lawyers.

As detailed in this Education USA Poland Facebook post, our partner in this outreach effort, the free webinar will be hosted by Laura Tate Kagel, our Center’s Director of International Professional Education. This outreach follows on Dr. Kagel’s visit to Warsaw  last April.

Details on how to join the webinar here. Details about Georgia Law’s LL.M. degree here.

Eastward bound, to meet potential LLMs in Prague, Warsaw, Budapest

Law students, lawyers, and legal academics in the Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic will soon have the opportunity for talk with a Dean Rusk International Law Center staffer about pursuing a degree at here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

logo-colorNext week, Laura Tate Kagel, our Center’s Director of International Professional Education, will take part in American universities fairs in Prague, Warsaw, and Budapest, sponsored by EducationUSA, an arm of the U.S. Department of State.

llm_coverShe’ll be on hand personally to discuss the career benefits and special advantages of earning the Master of Law, or LL.M., degree at Georgia Law. (See prior posts about our current LLM students, as well as our hundreds of LLM alums, here.)

Interested persons may show up at the times and places below. And feel free to e-mail Dr. Kagel at lkagel[at]uga.edu in order to assure one-to-one meeting – or to correspond, in the event you’re unable to attend one of the fairs.

Monday, April 18, Prague: 15:00-18:00 at the Alchymist Hotel, Tržiště 19, Prague 1

Wednesday, April 20, Warsaw: 12:00-15:30 at the University of Warsaw Library, BUW, ul. Dobra 55/66, Warsaw

Friday, April 22, Budapest: 15:00- 19:00 at the Budapest Marriott Hotel, Apaczai Csere Janos u. 4. Budapest 1052

Hope to see you there!