Briefings from eminent international law judges, plus meetings at Lebanon tribunal, conclude our 2018 Global Governance Summer School

From left, at the Peace Palace, Georgia Law’s Global Governance Summer School students Saif Ahmed, Mills Culver, Bryant Oliver, Maddie Neel, Frances Plunkett, Brooke Carrington, Hanna Karimipour, and Caroline Harvey

THE HAGUE – Briefings from two eminent international law judges anchored the conclusion of our 2018 Global Governance Summer School (prior posts).

This morning, students heard from Sir Christopher Greenwood, a Briton who serves as a member of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal. Though a presentation accented by anecdotes, he explained the history of US-Iran relations that led to establishment of the tribunal in 1981, the work of the tribunal over the last several decades, and its pending cases.

The presentation by Judge Greenwood, who had served from 2009 until early this year on the International Court of Justice, followed presentations at the latter court yesterday afternoon.

Most notably, the Honorable Joan Donoghue of the United States, one of the ICJ’s 15 permanent judges, spoke yesterday with students, both about the melding of the common and civil law systems in the court’s procedures and about the challenges of judging in the international context.

Also at the ICJ, Julia Sherman, a Judicial Fellow who works with Judge Donoghue, provided a tour of the ICJ’s headquarters, the 105-year-old Peace Palace. Sherman led students through the life cycle of an ICJ case, and also gave overviews of some recently decided ICJ cases.

Our summer school had started yesterday at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, where representatives of the various court organs spoke to students. They included: Kirsten Calhoun, a Legal Officer in Chambers, who gave an overview of the tribunal’s history and mandate, as well as an introduction to the applicable law; Peter Koelling, Chief of the Registry’s Court Management Services Section; TJ Adhihetty, Trial Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor, who walked students through the prosecution’s case in Prosecutor v. Ayyash et al., focusing on call data records; and Marie-Pier Barbeau, Legal Officer in the Legal Advisory Section of the tribunal’s Defence Office, and Jason Antley, Associate Legal Officer representing the interests of defendant Salim Jamil Ayyash, who discussed the challenges of representing the named defendants in absentia.

The Global Governance Summer School having come to and end, some students began or continued Global Externships, while others traveled in Europe before returning to the United States.

Professor Bruner compares UK, US business practices in new “Research Handbook on Fiduciary Law”

Christopher M. Bruner, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has just published “Opting Out of Fiduciary Duties and Liabilities in U.S. and U.K. Business Entities.” It appears as a chapter in a 2018 Edward Elgar volume, entitled Research Handbook on Fiduciary Law, and edited by D. Gordon Smith, Dean and Glen L. Farr Professor of Law at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School,  and Andrew S. Gold, Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law.

Here’s the SSRN abstract for Bruner’s contribution:

This chapter explores the extent of contractual freedom to opt out of fiduciary duties and liabilities in U.S. and U.K. business entities, including the U.S. corporation, general partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, and limited liability company, and the U.K. limited company, general partnership, limited partnership, and limited liability partnership.

Discernible commonalities emerge from this comparative analysis. Notably, corporate law readily permits reducing liability exposure for breaches of duty in each jurisdiction, yet provides only quite limited capacity to carve back at the substance of the duties themselves. Meanwhile, unincorporated entities in each jurisdiction offer substantially greater latitude to limit the duties themselves, in some cases resulting in purely contractual business relationships.

Yet substantial differences are also apparent. U.S. corporate law permits greater insulation from liability exposure, and U.S. unincorporated entities generally provide clearer and more extensive latitude to eliminate default duties of loyalty and care outright (particularly in Delaware). One cannot comprehensively declare that U.S. law universally deviates further from the “fiduciary” governance paradigm, however, because the U.K. limited liability partnership has gone further by providing an entity form in which no such general default duties apply at all.

The analysis raises some complex comparative questions, and the chapter closes with brief reflections on why such trends, commonalities, and divergences may have arisen.

Professor Cohen’s AJIL essay on “Multilateralism’s Life-Cycle” at SSRN

Harlan Grant Cohen, the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law, has posted a chapter entitled “Multilateralism’s Life-Cycle,” which will appear in a forthcoming issue of volume 112 of the American Journal of International Law.

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 for this essay by Professor Cohen, an expert in global governance and member of the AJIL Board of Editors:

Does multilateralism have a life-cycle? Perhaps paradoxically, this essay suggests that current pressures on multilateralism and multilateral institutions, including threatened withdrawals by the United Kingdom from the European Union, the United States from the Paris climate change agreement, South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia from the International Criminal Court, and others, may be natural symptoms of those institutions’ relative success. Successful multilateralism and multilateral institutions, this essay argues, has four intertwined effects, which together, make continued multilateralism more difficult: (1) the wider dispersion of wealth or power among members, (2) the decreasing value for members of issue linkages, (3) changing assessment of multilateral institutions’ value in the face of increased effectiveness, and (4) members’ increased focus on relative or positional gains over absolute ones. Exploring how each of these manifests in the world today, this essay suggests that current stresses on multilateralism may best be understood as the natural growing pains of an increasingly mature set of institutions. The open question going forward is what form the next stage of development will take. Will strategies of multilateralism continue or will they be replaced by smaller clubs and more local approaches?

Hague briefings at ICC, Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and ICJ launch 2017 Global Governance Summer School

At the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, front from left: Ana Morales Ramos, Legal Adviser; Hossein Piran, Senior Legal Adviser; Kathleen A. Doty, Interim Director, Dean Rusk International Law Center; David Caron, Tribunal Member; and Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann. Back row, students Nicholas Duffey, Lyddy O’Brien, Brian Griffin, Wade Herring, Jennifer Cotton, Evans Horsley, Casey Callaghan, Kristopher Kolb, Nils Okeson, James Cox, and Ezra Thompson.

HAGUE – Briefings at key international law institutions here have highlighted the initial leg of the Global Governance Summer School led by the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center.

Our students’ journey began with a visit yesterday to the International Criminal Court Permanent Premises (left), a tile-and-ivy structure, located in dunelands not far from the North Sea, that opened just 18 months ago. Accompanying them were Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann and our Center’s Interim Director, Kathleen A. Doty, both of whom will lecture at the summer school next week.

Outlining the work of the Office of the Prosecutor were the Prosecutor’s Senior Legal Adviser, Shamila Batohi, and Legal Assistant, Annie O’Reilly (right), with whom Associate Dean Amann works in her capacity as the Prosecutor’s Special Adviser on Children in and affected by Armed Conflict. Topics included case selection and specific cases, complementarity and state cooperation, and the role of the prosecution in relation to other organs of the court.

Then Leiden Law Professor Dov Jacobs, a Legal Assistant in Defense at the ICC and member of the defense team for Laurent Gbagbo, the former Ivoirian President now on trial before the court. Shifting from the theoretical to the practical and back again, he spoke about the nature and challenges of international criminal justice, particularly as it relates to the defense function before contemporary bodies like the ICC.

The journey continued today with a morning briefing at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, an international organization established by treaty 36 years ago as a means to settle disputes arising out of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. It comprises 3 Americans, 3 Iranians, and three members from other countries. Offering a fascinating dialogue on the history and operations of the tribunal were Dr. David Caron, a U.S. member of the tribunaland an international law professor at Kings College London, and Dr. Hossein Piran, Senior Legal Adviser at the tribunal.

(It was a treat to learn that one of Dr. Piran’s professors was the late Gabriel N. Wilner, who founded our European summer study abroad during his long tenure on the Georgia Law faculty. Holding the professorship named after Wilner is Georgia Law Professor Harlan Cohen, who will lecture in this summer school next week, along with Leuven Law Professor Jan Wouters and others.)

The afternoon brought us to the Hague’s Vredepalais (left), or Peace Palace, built in the early 1900s to house international institutions that would foster pacific, rather than warlike, settlements of disputes.

Leading discussion on one of those institutions, the International Court of Justice set up under the 1945 Charter of the United Nations, was Dr. Xavier-Baptiste Ruedin (right), Legal Adviser for Judge Joan E. Donoghue. Topics ranged from provisional measures, like those recently issued in a case involving India and Pakistan, to jurisdiction via advisory opinion (including one soon to arrive at the court, following yesterday’s U.N. General Assembly vote) or contentious case.

A question common to all 3 visits was the role of such institutions – and international law more generally – in the governance of global affairs. We’ll continue to seek answers next week, when our Global Governance Summer School moves to Belgium for classroom seminars and an experts conference with our partner institution, KU Leuven’s Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies.

Cohen publishes article on political question doctrine in wake of Zivotofsky

Harlan Grant Cohen, the Gabriel N. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published an article examining the U.S. political question doctrine in light of recent Supreme Court litigation in Zivotofsky, which arose out of the request by U.S. citizens that their child, born in Jerusalem, be issued a passport designating “Israel” as the child’s birthplace. Entitled “A Politics-Reinforcing Political Question Doctrine,” Professor Cohen’s article appears at 49 Arizona State Law Journal 1 (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:

“The modern political question doctrine has long been criticized for shielding the political branches from proper judicial scrutiny and allowing the courts to abdicate their responsibilities. Critics of the doctrine thus cheered when the Supreme Court, in Zivotofsky I, announced a narrowing of the doctrine. Their joy though may have been short-lived. Almost immediately, Zivotofsky II demonstrated the dark side of judicial review of the separation of powers between Congress and the President: deciding separations of powers cases may permanently cut one of the political branches out of certain debates. Judicial scrutiny in a particular case could eliminate political scrutiny in many future ones.

“A return to the old political question doctrine, with its obsequious deference to political branch decisions, is not the answer. Instead, what is needed is a politics-reinforcing political question doctrine that can balance the need for robust review with the desire for robust debate. The uncertain boundaries between the political branches’ overlapping powers create space for political debate. Their overlapping powers allow different groups to access the political system and have a voice on policy. Deciding separation of powers questions once-and-for-all can shut off those access points, shutting down political debate. A politics-reinforcing political question doctrine preserves the space in the political system for those debates by turning the pre-Zivotofsky political question doctrine on its head. Whereas the pre-Zivotofsky political question suggested abstention when the branches were in agreement and scrutiny when they were opposed, a politics-reinforcing political question doctrine suggests the opposite, allowing live debates to continue while scrutinizing political settlements. In so doing, it brings pluralism and politics back into the political question analysis, encouraging democracy rather than deference.”

Georgia Law Professor Larry D. Thompson, Independent Compliance Monitor in VW fuel emissions matter

A University of Georgia School of Law professor is overseeing compliance reforms by Volkswagen AG, following the global automaker’s recent sentencing in a criminal case arising out of its fuel emissions tests.

The professor is Larry D. Thompson, holder of the  John A. Sibley Chair of Corporate and Business Law and a member of the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, teaches Corporate Responsibility, White Collar Crime Business Crimes. He is also Counsel at Finch McCranie LLP in Atlanta. His distinguished career includes service as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and as General Counsel of PepsiCo.

Thompson was named Independent Compliance Monitor in the VW matter in April, pursuant to a settlement by which a U.S. District Court judge in Detroit accepted VW’s plea to three felony counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States by engaging in wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act; obstruction of justice; and importing merchandise via false statements. VW agreed to a fine exceeding $4 billion, and also to oversight by the Independent Compliance Monitor.

At the time, the company issued the following statement, by Hiltrud Werner, Board Member of Integrity and Legal Affairs, from its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany:

“Volkswagen welcomes the appointment of Larry D. Thompson to this new position, and we intend to cooperate fully with his important work.”

Since then, Thompson has assembled the team of lawyers he will lead in this work.

Georgia Law alumnus Robert Dilworth co-authors article on SEC rules

Developments at the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission are the focus of a lead article that a distinguished University of Georgia School of Law alumnus has co-authored for a leading securities law journal.

The alum, Robert J. Dilworth (JD 1982), is Managing Director and Associate General Counsel at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch in New York at Bank of America / Merrill Lynch, representing the firm’s global over-the-counter equity derivatives business. His co-authors on the SEC article are two attorneys at Morrison & Foerster LLP: Julian E. Hammar, Of Counsel in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office, and David B. Lichtstein, Associate in New York.

Their article is entitled “The SEC’s Long-Awaited Security-Based Swaps Rules May Be Approaching,” appears (behind paywall) in vol. 50, no. 7 of The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation. The article concerns timing and sequencing related to anticipated SEC rules pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Referring as well to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, the abstract states:

“The SEC has proposed all of its major Title VII rules regulating the security-based swaps market. The authors discuss the current status of this and related rulemakings, the relief the SEC has granted, and the provisions of the rules. They then turn to the timeline for implementation in view of the new administration, preparation for required registration of security-based swap entities, and business conduct standards for registered entities. At each point, they compare the SEC’s approach with that of the CFTC.”