Accueil > Complex legal tools


Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 54

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to contemporary theoretical debates in the law, with particular emphasis on issues surrounding legal reasoning. What exactly is a legal argument? Are there forms of public regulation which are not “law”? How determinate is a legal rule? How can structural bias in the law be detected? What is specific about judicial decision-making? What does judicial style reveal about judicial power? Is economic analysis of the law helpful? Issues explored cover comparative methodology and epistemology, and run to strands of critical legal thought including feminist, queer and critical race studies. Importantly, the course is also designed to show how these different types of legal thought and argument can be used in practice. To prove this point, hypothetical cases will be used in class, preparing for a final Moot contest in which students will be encouraged to develop their argumentative skills in fact and law, as if in a trans- or supra-national forum.


  • MA, Megan (Doctorante contractuelle)
  • MUIR WATT, Horatia (Professeur des Universités à Sciences Po)

Pedagogical format

Emphasis will be put on finding and formulating arguments in law and fact in the context of hypothetical cases. The format is designed to prepare students to take part in the final Moot contest.

Course validation

The course will be validated on the basis of continuous assessment (exercices handed in class over the term and class participation) - 100 % of the final grade.


One required reading weekly (report, article, judicial decision) for discussion in class. Students will be required to come to class prepared, having studied the compulsory readings. These are deliberately limited, so as to allow — realistically — for proper preparation. Over the term, teach student is required to hand in three practical exercises or hypotheticals, one of which will be made available each week and will be worked on in class.

Required reading

  • Duncan Kennedy - Form and Substance in Private Law Adjudication - 89 harv. L. Rev. 1685 (1976)
  • R. Wai, "Transnational Liftoff and Juridical Touchdown: The Regulatory Function of Private International Law in an Era of Globalization", 40 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law (2002), p. 209-274
  • Saskia Sassen, "De-Nationalized State Agendas and Privatized Law-Making", in K. H. Ladeur, Public Governance in an Age of Globalization, Ashgate, 2004
  • H. Muir Watt, « La Fonction économique du droit international privé », Revue internationale de droit économique, 2010/1 (t. XXIV, 1)
  • Katherine Franke, "Gendered Subjects of Transitional Justice", 15 Colum. J. Gender & L. 813, 2006

Additional required reading

A.M. Capron & M.J. Radin, "Choosing Family Law over Contract Law as a Paradigm for Surrogate Motherhood", The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Volume 16, Issue 1-2, pages 34–43, March 1988.