JUR9021 – Internationalization, Transnational Law and Comparison

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Course content

This course provides interdisciplinary insight into the theory and practice concerning the globalisation of law and legal research.

Building on the long tradition of comparative law and method, the course explores how internationalisation requires new perspectives on the role and function of law and legal institutions and a new set of methodological tools. The course seeks to cover key literature and cutting-edge topics concerning the research front on internationalisation of law; while at the same time providing practical input for thesis writing. The course is designed to appeal to research fellows using a range of approaches to study legal phenomenon, whether doctrinal, philosophical, social scientific or humanities-based.

The first part of the course covers comparison. The tradition and debates within comparative law are traversed, especially its purposes and epistemology, with concrete examples from public law, private law and criminology. This is complemented by a focus on comparative method, which may be applicable in domestic law or any research design. The methodological discussion and reading covers research design (e.g., similar systems, hard case approaches), selection of cases, modes of comparison, and practical challenges.

The second part of the course concerns international law and the growing panoply of systems, institutions, courts and tribunals as well as the methods they employ. The course will focus on the cutting-edge issues in the theory and practice of international law as well as European law and role of international law in national law. It is largely assumed that participants have a basic understanding of the key principles of public international law (though some of the readings provide background). This part of the course will examine interdisciplinary approaches to studying international law, for example on the legitimacy and politics of international courts or conducting fieldwork on the role of international law. 

The third part of the course examines transnational law. It partly examines traditional transnational private law (e.g. conflicts of jurisdictions) but focus mostly on the rising role of largely private actors in creating and implementing legal standards. These actors include multinational corporations, world-wide federations (e.g., IOC), non-governmental organisations and adjudicative bodies created by non-state actors. The course examines the legal development, as well as its legal geography, legitimacy and politics and how many legal, criminological and socio-legal questions involve a strong transnational component.

The module is designed with a number of participatory components, which can include literature presentations, PH.D-related discussion, café walk and talk, and structured discussions.

Learning outcome

The course will provide:

  • Knowledge about the rising globalisation of law and its impact on different research fronts and research methods
  • Knowledge about the principle debates within comparative law and how to use comparative method in research
  • Knowledge about current issues in the theory and practice of international law and how to study international law in different research traditions.
  • Knowledge of the rise of transnational law and the increasing transnational dimensions within legal research.
  • The ability to reflect over changes in the globalisation of law, its methodological advances and challenges and an introduction to different methods, especially comparative method.
  • Introduction to methodological questions in relation to different legal systems.


If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates at the Faculty of Law. PhD candidates  from the University of Oslo should apply and register through Studentweb.


Teaching is structured in lectures and seminars, where participation is obligatory. Discussion and engagement by research fellows is strongly recommended. Research fellows obtain knowledge and competences as outlined above by individual studies of course literature and other course material, and by taking active part at the lectures and seminars.


The course gives 4 study points based on an evaluation of participation at the lectures and seminars as well as the research essay
In addition to obligatory participation in the seminars, students must in advance of the seminar write and submit the following texts:

  • A brief (1 page) description of the ph.d. project and its main research question (details will be given on the semester page)

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Literature List


1.    Rodolfo Sacco, ‘Legal Formants: A Dynamic Approach to Comparative Law (I)’, AJCL, 39(1) 1991.
2.    Gerard Dannemann, ’Comparative Law: Study of Similarities or Differences?’ in Mathias Reimann og Reinhard Zimmermann’ (red.), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law, (Oxford University Press, 2006).
3.    Giuditta Cordero-Moss, Limits to Party Autonomy in International Commercial Arbitration, Oslo Law Review (2014).


1.    Hugh Thirlway, The Sources of International Law  (Oxford University Press, 2014), ch 1.
2.    Samantha Besson, ‘The Legitimate Authority of International Human Rights’, in Andreas Føllesdal, Johan Karlsson Schaffer, and Geir Ulfstein (eds.), The Legitimacy of International Human Rights Regimes: Legal, Political and Philosophical Perspective(Cambridge University Press, 2014), 32–83.
3.    Martti Koskenniemi, 'Between Commitment and Cynicism'. Chapter 11 in The Politics of International Law (Hart Publishing 2011) 134-143.
4.    Anne Peters, 'International Legal Scholarship Under Challenge', Chapter 5 in International Law as a Profession (CUP 2017) 117-159.

Transnational Law

1.    Gralf-Peter Calliess, Law, Transnational, Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 35/2010.
2.    Gregory Schaffer, Transnational legal process and state change, Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Spring 2012), pp. 229-264.
3.    Fabrizio Cafaggi, ‘New Foundations of Transnational Private Regulation’, Journal of Law & Society 38(1) (2011), 20-49.
4.    Ton Van den Brink, 'The Impact of EU Legislation on National Legal Systems: Towards a New Approach to EU-Member State Relations', Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies, 19(2017) pp. 211-235
5.    Michael Blauberger & Susanne K. Schmidt, ‘The European Court of Justice and its political impact’, West European Politics, 40(4), (2017), 907-918.

Reflections on Methods and Internationalisation

1.    Eve Darian Smith, ‘Introduction: sociolegal scholarship in the twenty-First century’,  Laws and Societies in Global Contexts: Contemporary Approaches (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Ch. 1.
2.    Malcolm Langford, ‘Interdisciplinarity and Multimethod Research’, in B.A. Andreassen, H.O. Sano and S. McIernet-Lankford 8eds.), Human Rights Research Methods, (Edward Elgar, 2017), Ch. 8.

Additional, recommended reading

•    Rodolfo Sacco, ‘Legal Formants: A Dynamic Approach to Comparative Law (II)’, AJCL, 39(1) 1991.
•    Michel Rosenfeld and Andras Sajo, ‘Introduction’, The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law (OUP, 2012).
•    Isabel Crowhurst & May-Len Skilbrei, ‘International comparative explorations of prostitution policies: lessons from two European projects’, Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research (2018). 
•    Keith C. Culver and Michael Giudice, Legality’s Borders: An Essay in General Jurisprudence (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), chapter 1.
•    B.S. Chimni, Third World Approaches to International Law, International Community Law Review, vol 8, 2006, 3–27.
•    Luis Eslava, 'Istanbul vignettes: observing the everyday operation of international law', London Review of International Law (2014) 3-47.
•     Diane Otto, The Exile of Inclusion: Reflections on Gender Issues in International Law Over the Last Decade, Melbourne Journal of International Law, 10(1) 2009.
•    Andrea Bianchi, ‘Constitutionalism and Global Governance’, in International Law Theories: An Inquiry into Different Ways of Thinking (Oxford University Press, 2016), 44–71.
•    Andrea Bianchi, International Law Theories: An Inquiry into Different Ways of Thinking (Oxford University Press, 2016).
•    Anne-Marie Slaughter and Steven Ratner, ‘Symposium on Method in International Law’, American Journal of International Law, 93, 1999, 291-302,
•    Andenæs, Mads & Fairgrieve, Duncan (2015). Courts and Comparative Law: In Search of Common Language for Open Legal Systems, In Mads Andenæs & Duncan Fairgrieve (ed.), Courts and comparative law.  Oxford University Press.  ISBN 978-0-19-873533-5.  Kapittel 1.  s 1 - 32 
•    Matti Koskenniemi, “The Fate of Public International Law: Between Technique and Politics”, Modern Law Review, 70(1), 2007, 1-30.
•    Richard Collins and Alexandra Bohm, ‘International Law as Professional Practice’, Jean d'Aspremont, Tarcisio Gazzini, André Nollkaemper, and Wouter Werner (eds.), International Law as a Profession (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), ch. 3.
•    Nienke Grossman, Harlan Cohen, Andreas,Follesdal, and Geir Ulfstein, Legitimacy and international courts - a framework, in  The legitimacy of international courts (Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 1-40
•    Abbott and Sindal, ‘The Governance Triangle: Regulatory Standards Institutions and the Shadow of the State’, in W. Mattli and N. Woods (eds.), The Politics of Global Regulation (Princeton University Press, 2009), 44-88.

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