Friday, June 17, 2016

Call for Paper Proposals: ASIL Research Forum

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) is seeking submissions of scholarly paper proposals for the ASIL Research Forum to be held at ASIL Academic Partner University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, Washington on November 11-12, 2016.

The Research Forum, a Society initiative introduced in 2011, aims to provide a setting for the presentation and focused discussion of works-in-progress from across the spectrum of international law. Please note that - in addition to academics - private practitioners, government attorneys, international organization representatives, and non-government lawyers are frequently selected to present papers based on the abstracts they submit.

Papers may be on any topic related to international, comparative, or transnational law and should be unpublished at the time of their submission (for purposes of the call, publication to an electronic database such as SSRN is not considered publication). Interdisciplinary projects, empirical studies, and jointly authored papers are welcome. Multiple submissions are welcome, but authors will only be selected to present on a single abstract, including co-authored papers.

 For full instructions and to submit a proposal, visit the ASIL website. Submissions are due by 12 noon ET on Monday, July 11, 2016.


June 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ISIS is Committing Genocide Against Yazidis

The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) [also known as ISIL and Da'esh] is committing genocide against Yazidis that amounts to crimes against humanity and war crimes, a United Nations-mandated human rights inquiry reported this week. “Genocide has occurred and is ongoing,” Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, emphasized in releasing the report They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes against the Yazidis. “ISIS has subjected every Yazidi woman, child or man that it has captured to the most horrific of atrocities,” he said in a press statement issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Under the Commission's mandate, the report focuses on violations committed against Yazidis inside Syria, where it found that thousands of women and girls are still being held captive and abused, often as slaves. The Commission also examined how the terrorist group forcibly transferred Yazidis into Syria after launching its attacks on northern Iraq's Sinjar region on 3 August 2014. The information that was collected documents evidence of intent and criminal liability of ISIS's military commanders, fighters, religious and ideological leaders, wherever they are located, the Commission said.

The findings are based on interviews with survivors, religious leaders, smugglers, activists, lawyers, medical personnel, and journalists, as well as extensive documentary material, which corroborate information gathered by the Commission.

“ISIS has sought to erase the Yazidis through killings; sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and forcible transfer causing serious bodily and mental harm; the infliction of conditions of life that bring about a slow death; the imposition of measures to prevent Yazidi children from being born, including forced conversion of adults, the separation of Yazidi men and women, and mental trauma; and the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families and placing them with ISIS fighters, thereby cutting them off from beliefs and practices of their own religious community,” according to the report.

ISIS separated Yazidi men and boys older than 12 years old from the rest of their families, and killed those who refused to convert, in order to destroy their identity as Yazidis. Women and children often witnessed these killings before being forcibly transferred to locations in Iraq, and thereafter to Syria, where the majority of captives remain, the Commission found.

Mr. Pinheiro stressed that there must be no impunity for crimes of this nature, recalling States' obligations under the Genocide Convention to prevent and to punish genocide. The Commission repeated its call for the Security Council to urgently refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, or to establish an ad hoc tribunal to prosecute the violations of international law committed during the non-international armed conflict.

The Commission further noted that, with no path to international criminal justice available, it is likely that the first such prosecution of ISIS crimes against the Yazidis will take place in a domestic jurisdiction. It is essential, that States enact laws against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the Commission stated.

(adapted from a UN press release)

June 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kenya High Court Justice Finds that Anal Exams Do Not Violate Human Dignity or Privacy

Homosexual acts in Kenya are punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Justice Mathew J.A. Emukule of the Kenyan High Court in Mombassa has just dismissed a legal challenge to anal exams administered by the Kenyan Police to find people who may have violated the law. The judge dismissed claims that anal exams were a form of discrimination and that the exams were tantamount to torture. The AP News Agency reports that the judge found "no violation of human dignity, right to privacy, and right to freedom of the petitions."

Anal probing is an outdated 19th century practice that has been condemned as torture by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, who stated in a January 2016 report that: “In States where homosexuality is criminalized, men suspected of same-sex conduct are subject to non-consensual anal examinations intended to obtain physical evidence of homosexuality, a practice that is medically worthless and amounts to torture or ill-treatment.” U.N. Doc. A/HRC/31/57, at 10, para. 36 (citing CAT/C/CR/29/4).

The two men will appeal the Mombassa High Court ruling finding that anal exams do not violate human dignity or the right to privacy. Their trial for allegedly having gay sex will reportedly continue.

Click here to read more about the case from the BBC.

And click here for a report from Pink News that discusses where else these discredited tests are practiced.

The High Court of Kenya has jurisdiction to hear all criminal and civil cases as well as appeals from lower courts.

Decisions of the High Court of Kenya are appealed to the Court of Appeal of Kenya, which is established under Article164 of the constitution of Kenya and comprises a maximum of 30 Judges who elect a President from among themselves. The Court of Appeal is decentralized and currently has six registries  (Nairobi, Mombasa, Nyeri, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret).

Further appeals may be had to the Kenya Supreme Court, which has appellate jurisdiction over appeals from the Court of Appeal and any other court or tribunal as prescribed by national legislation. Appeals to the Kenyan Supreme Court can only be head as a matter of right where the case involves interpretation or application of the Constitution or a matter certified by the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal as a case that involves a matter of general public importance. The Supreme Court may review a certification by the Court of Appeal and either affirm, vary, or overturn it.

Laws that criminalize sexual acts between consenting adults violate rights to privacy and non-discrimination under international human rights law. The Global Commission on HIV and the Law also determined that sodomy laws facilitate the spread of HIV/AIDS. In Caribbean countries with sodomy laws, for example, almost one in four men who have sex with men is HIV-positive; in Caribbean countries without sodomy laws, the rate is only one in fifteen men. The U.N. Human Rights Committee and other human rights mechanisms have urged states to repeal sodomy laws since the Committee’s 1994 landmark opinion in Toonen v. Australia, which found that sodomy laws violate the right to privacy.  At least seventy-six nations still have laws that criminalize and harass people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender expression.

Mark E. Wojcik


June 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pontifica Universidad Javeriana of Colombia Wins WTO Moot Court Competition; Queens' University of Canada is the Runner-Up

Law students from around the world gathered in Geneva from 7 to 11 June for the final oral round of a competition involving simulated World Trade Organization panel proceedings organized by the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA), with the support of the WTO and its legal divisions. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia, emerged as the winner, with the team from Queen’s University, Canada, the runner-up.

The ELSA Moot Court Competition is a simulated WTO dispute involving exchanges of written submissions and adversarial hearings before panelists on international trade law issues. This year teams of interested students from all over the world sent in written submissions of a fictitious case dealing with subsidies for the production of renewable energy equipment and for the purchase of renewable energy, written by Professor Andrew Lang of the London School of Economics.

After the regional rounds in Germany (Passau), Canada (Kingston), Singapore, South Africa (Grahamstown) and Czech Republic (Brno), the best 20 teams came to Geneva to plead in the Final Oral Round. Teams drawn from 16 countries on six continents (Africa, Asia, Australia, North and South America, and Europe) competed against each other at a level similar to what might be seen in an actual WTO dispute. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia, emerged as the winner, with the team from Queen’s University, Canada, the runner-up. Congratulations are also due to the semi-finalists from National Taiwan University, Chinese Taipei, and KU Leuven, Belgium, as well as to all the teams that participated in the event in Geneva.

The competition included students of diverse backgrounds working hard to produce high-quality legal arguments on cutting-edge issues of WTO law. The Final Oral Round is an opportunity for them to meet their fellow students from all over the world but also to see trade law in action and to see all the opportunities available for a career in trade law. It is one of the aims of the competition to encourage and develop the next generation of WTO experts.

The WTO has been a technical sponsor and partner in the ELSA competition on WTO law since its inception 14 years ago. This is an example of the WTO’s broad support for capacity building focusing not just on government officials but also on students and academics who can take WTO law into the future. The WTO sends legal experts on technical assistance missions to act as panelists in the regional rounds. WTO staff members also advise ELSA on the academic aspects of running the competition and are integral in planning the Final Oral Round held in Geneva.

During the week participating students not only competed against the top teams from around the world but met with practitioners in law firms, delegations and the WTO Secretariat. Students were also able to participate in the British Institute on International and Comparative Law’s annual conference on WTO law which was held simultaneously with the moot court.

WTO staff members from several divisions of the Secretariat volunteered in the organization of the event and shared their experiences with young students. Colleagues from the Legal Affairs, Rules, and Council and Trade Negotiations Committee divisions, the Appellate Body Secretariat, and the Office of the Director General assisted in all aspects of the moot court.

It is not only the WTO Secretariat that sees the value in the ELSA moot court on WTO law. Private law firms (Van Bael & Bellis, King & Spalding, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, Mayer Brown, Sidley Austin, Steptoe & Johnson, and Whtie & Case),  the Society for International Economic Law (SIEL), and the World Trade Institute all made contributions towards sponsoring the global competition. Furthermore the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Akin Gump, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL), along with several local sponsors, all made significant contributions towards the smooth running of the African Round. Academic institutions provided support by offering prizes to the winning teams (the World Trade Institute, the Graduate Institute and IELPO at the University of Barcelona) and by hosting the preliminary rounds of the finals (the Graduate Institute). The entire trade law community embraces the value of this competition.

The Grand Final took place on Saturday 11 June with a Final Bench of distinguished panelists chaired by Appellate Body member Ricardo Ramirez-Hernandez. Deputy Director-General Karl Brauner served as the Master of Ceremonies and handed out the prizes. The winning team was announced by Aegyoung Jung, Legal Advisor to the Director-General.

(WTO Press Release)


June 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Five-Day Workshop on International Trade and Public Health: Applications Invited to Attend

The World Trade Organization Secretariat, in collaboration with the Secretariats of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), will hold a five-day workshop on Trade and Public Health in Geneva from 17 to 21 October 2016. Applications for this year’s workshop can be made until 22 July 2016.
For more information click here.



June 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

MINUSCA Warns of a Deteriorating Security Situation in the Central African Republic

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has expressed deep concern at the deteriorating security situation in Ngaoundaye, Ouham Pende Prefecture, in the west of the country following attacks and retaliation between groups backed by Christian militias and herders supported by Muslim fighters, since 10 June.

Houses have been burnt and properties looted in the fighting. The violence has caused significant displacement of the civilian population to the parish of Ngaoundaye, as well as to neighbouring Cameroon.

Issuing a statement, the Mission called on the armed groups and affiliated movements to put the interests of civilians above any other consideration. It also reiterated its readiness to find a solution to the crisis, related to the issue of seasonal migration, in collaboration with the Central African Republic (CAR) Government and the actors involved.

The Mission has reaffirmed its determination to provide stability and security in the country and protect the freedom of movement of the communities. In the wake of the violence, the security apparatus has been strengthened in the region and peacekeepers have been placed between the belligerents.

The Mission also noted that it is ready to provide all necessary support to conduct investigations to identify the instigators of the unrest who must be held accountable for their acts and be brought to justice.

More than three years of civil war and sectarian violence have displaced thousands of people in the CAR amid continuing clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian. The UN recently reported an upsurge in violence, in particular last September and October, committed by armed elements.

(UN Press Release)

June 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Iran Institutes Proceedings at ICJ Against United States



ICJIran instituted proceedings yesterday against the United States at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) pursuant to a 1955 bilateral Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between the two States.  Iran alleges that the United States has violated this treaty by wrongfully designating Iran as a State sponsor of terrorism, which has resulted in Iranian assets and entities being subjected to multiple enforcement actions in U.S. courts. Iran takes the position that the United States' actions fail to recognize the separate juridical status of certain Iranian entities, results in discriminatory treatment, and fails to accord Iran and Iranian entities the immunity to which they are entitled under the treaty and customary international law.  Iran requests that the Court order the United States to (1) take no steps which are inconsistent with the treaty, (2) respect Iran's immunity; (3) respect the juridical status of Iranian companies; and (4) pay reparations to Iran.

For more information, see this ICJ press release.


June 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Call for Submissions: ASIL Midwest Works-in-Progress Conference

ASIL-Midwest, an interest group of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) is co-sponsoring its third scholarly works-in-progress conference with ASIL Academic Partner University of Wisconsin Law School, on September 23-24, 2016. The event will take place at the law school, located in Madison, Wisconsin. The goal is to create a friendly, open conversation about works in progress and to foster a Midwestern United States international law community. To that end, the workshop will include both full drafts and early works in progress.

Those interested in presenting at the conference should send a 500-word abstract to ASIL-Midwest Co-Chair Milena Sterio at Cleveland State University of Ohio by Friday, July 15, 2016. Please also include a sentence about the stage the paper is expected to be in by September (e.g., reasonably complete draft, early work in progress, etc.). Papers may address any topic in international law, and this Call for Submissions is open to everyone in the international legal community.  However, preference will be given to ASIL members who are also members of the ASIL-Midwest Interest Group.  Paper presenters will be asked to circulate their drafts (or a summary of the project if it's early stage) to workshop attendees no later than September 9, 2016.  

Those interested in serving as a commentator for a paper should also send an email to Professor Milena Sterio by July 15. Commentators will be asked to prepare five to eight minutes of comments on one of the papers. Those interested in presenting should let it be known if they are willing to serve as commentators as well. All University of Wisconsin faculty, staff, and students may attend for free. Participants who are not ASIL members or University of Wisconsin affiliates will be required to pay a $40 registration fee (includes workshop and meals) for the conference. All meals will be provided, but participants are responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses.

For any questions, please contact ASIL-Midwest Interest Group Co-Chairs, Cindy Buys at Southern Illinois University School of Law or Milena Sterio at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.


June 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Art Restitution, Preservation of Cultural Heritage, and the Human Right to Identity

The John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law has pubilshed its annual symposium issue on the topic of Art Restitution, Preservation of Cultural Heritage, and the Human Right to Identity. Here are the articles (with links).

The Destruction of Cultural Heritage: A Crime Against Property or a Crime Against People?, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 336 (2016)
Patty Gerstenblith

From Tragedy to Triumph in the Pursuit of Looted Art: Altmann, Benningson, Portrait of Wally, Von Saher and Their Progeny, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 394 (2016)
Donald Burris

Where Are We and Where Are We Going: Legal Developments in Cultural Property and Nazi Art Looting, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 435 (2016)
Thomas Kline

Cultural Plunder and Restitution and Human Identity, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 460 (2016)
Ori Soltes

NAGPRA and Its Limitations: Repatriation of Indigenous Cultural Heritage, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 472 (2016)
Kevin Ray

Illusory Borders: The Myth of the Modern Nation-State and its Impact on the Repatriation of Cultural Artifacts, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 486 (2016)
Lubna El-Gendi

Beyond the Destruction of Syria: Considering a Future in Syria and the Protection of the Right to Culture, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 522 (2016)
Sarah Dávila-Ruhaak


Amber Tears and Copyright Fears: The Inadequate Protection of Cultural Heritage in the United States, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 543 (2016)
Ingrida Latoza

The Art of Food Placement: Will the U.S. Follow Germany's Lead in Copyrighting Artistic Food Placement?, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 565 (2016)
Julianna Walo

Let It Go? A Comparative Analysis of Copyright Law and Enforcement in the United States of America and China, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 584 (2016)
Kevin Fleming

Cultural Heritage & New Media: A Future for the Past, 15 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 604 (2016)
Ann Marie Sullivan

Hat tip to Prof. Maureen Collins and the Editorial Board of the John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law


June 12, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Condemning the Terror Attack in Istanbul

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the terrorist attack in the centre of Istanbul, which claimed the lives of at least 11 people and injured dozens more. “The Secretary-General hopes that the perpetrators of this despicable terrorist attack will be swiftly identified and brought to justice,” said a statement attributable to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson. The explosion was reportedly caused by a car bomb targeting a police bus, according to the statement.

Extending his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishing those injured a speedy recovery, the Secretary-General stressed that the UN stands in solidarity with the people and Government of Turkey at this difficult time.

(Adapted from a UN press release)

June 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ICC Prosecutor Tells Security Council that the Quest for Justice in Sudan is Far From Being Realized

More than a decade has passed since the situation in Darfur, Sudan, was referred to her Office, yet the victims' quest for justice is still far from being realized and they continue to be subjected to grave crimes and suffering, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) told the United Nations Security Council today.

“Sadly, my Office's countless appeals to you for action to address the persistent failure of Sudan to comply with its international obligations have not been heeded,” said ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, adding that the Council has been “equally consistent in its conspicuous silence over Sudan's non-compliance with its resolutions.”

Presenting her twenty-third report to the Council on the situation in Darfur, the Prosecutor stressed that such inaction by the Council has emboldened the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, to continue traveling across international borders despite the fact that two arrest warrants have been issued against him by the Court.

Moreover, she said that the Council's failure to act in response to 11 findings of non-compliance issued by ICC judges has equally emboldened States, both parties as well as certain non-parties to the Rome Statute, not only to facilitate Mr. al-Bashir's travels to their territories, but to invite and host him.

“A reasonable observer cannot be faulted for asking: how many more such findings must be rendered by the Court to spur this Council into action?” the Prosecutor said.

She emphasized that such an evolving trend risked setting an “ominous precedent,” which, unless redirected, will not bode well for similar genuine efforts aimed at bringing those responsible for mass atrocities to justice.

“Above all, such nonfeasance has emboldened some States to publicly express pride in disregarding the Council's authority,” she said, which should be a matter of great concern to all.

Ms. Bensouda also said it is imperative for the Council to fully appreciate and embrace its inter-institutional relationship with the Court within the framework of the Rome Statute, adding that once a ruling of non-compliance has been referred to the Court, pursuant to article 87.7 of the Rome Statute, it was duty-bound to act.

“The Council cannot and must not remain silent and non-responsive on such judicial findings which are, after all, inherently linked to the resolution referring the situation of Darfur to my Office,” she stressed.

The Prosecutor also urged the Council to give due consideration to the proposal tabled by New Zealand calling for a structured approach in dealing with the Court's findings of State non-compliance. She noted that informal interactive dialogue between the Council and her Office would also enable the two to generate proposals on strengthening their existing relationship.

“This is the least we can do to re-assure the victims of Darfur that they have not been forgotten; that both this Council and my Office are fully engaged and committed to finding solutions that ultimately ensure accountability and by extension bring peace and stability to Darfur,” she said.

Ms. Bensouda also emphasized that Sudan's failure to cooperate with the Court amounts to non-compliance, and included of Security Council resolution 1593 (2005). In that vein, she said the failure of non-States parties to cooperate in the arrest and surrender of suspects was a “complete disregard” for the resolution.

Despite such challenges, her Office is continuing its investigations, with a view to deliver justice to the victims of grave crimes under the Rome Statute in Darfur.

That work, however, was complicated by obstacles including a lack of access to Sudan's territory, resource constraints and non-execution of the long-outstanding arrest warrants, which have all contributed to the slow progress in investigations, Mr. Bensouda said.

The Prosecutor went on to say that she shares the Council's deep concern at the increased violence and insecurity in Darfur, as well as the significant increase in the number of internally displaced persons since 2014, and the restriction of humanitarian access to conflict areas where vulnerable civilian populations reside.

A significant increase in aerial bombardments and ground attacks had resulted in more than 400 civilian deaths and destroyed up to 200 villages, Ms. Bensouda noted. In addition, she said that 107 incidents of sexual crimes against women had been reported, resulting in 225 victims.

The Prosecutor also underlined that the continuation of military attacks in Darfur by the Government of Sudan must be halted, adding that in her Office's assessment, the arrest and surrender of Mr. al-Bashir and others accused in the situation in Darfur may assist in stopping such crimes.

“In conclusion, this Council must no longer tolerate the continuing deteriorating humanitarian situation in Darfur; the continued non-cooperation of the Government of Sudan, and in particular, the refusal of Sudan to arrest and surrender suspects within its territory into the custody of the Court,” Ms. Bensouda said.

“It is within the powers of the Council to reverse these trends through concrete action and resolve,” she added.

(UN Press Release)

June 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Global Legal Skills Awards

The first Global Legal Skills Awards were presented in 2012 in San Jose, Costa Rica, at the Seventh Global Legal Skills Conference. The most recent awards were presented in May 2016 at the Eleventh Global Legal Skills Conference, held at the University of Verona Department of Law. Here is a cumulative list of GLS Award Winners from 2012 to 2016. Winners are from Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

GLS Award Winners

Individual Winners

This category recognizes individuals around the world who have made significant contributions to the promotion and improvement of global legal skills.

  • Dr. Amrtia Bahri, Head of Global Legal Skills and Common Law Program, ITAM University, Mexico, in recognition of her demonstrated commitment to the promotion of global legal skills. [2016 Winner]
  • Prof. Heidi Brown, New York Law School (New York, USA), was recognized for her work with students to reduce extreme fear of public speaking and increase performance in classrooms, oral arguments, and client-centered legal skills activities. [2014 Winner]
  • Prof. Juli Campagna, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University (New York, USA) and Adjunct Professor of Law, Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Mexico), was recognized for developing English Immersion Training Programs and for exceptional devotion to meeting the needs of international students around the world. [2014 Winner]
  • Dean Marion Dent, ANO Pericles, Moscow, Russian Federation, was recognized for her work in higher education in Russia and for her work to bring the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition to Russia. [2014 Winner]
  • Prof. Laurel Currie Oates, Seattle University School of Law, in recognition of her demonstrated commitment to excellence in global legal skills education, including work in Afghanistan and Africa. [2016 Winner]
  • Prof. Robin Palmer, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, in recognition of his demonstrated commitment to excellence in global legal skills education in South Africa and New Zealand [2016 Winner].
  • Dr. Shelley Saltzman, Associate Director for Curriculum and Assessment and Senior Lecturer for the American Language Program (ALP) at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies (New York, USA), received the Global Legal Skills (GLS) Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Legal Skills Education for 25 years of innovation. [2015 Winner]
  • Prof. Mimi Samuel, Seattle University School of Law, in recognition of her demonstrated commitment to excellence in global legal skills education, including work in Afghanistan and Africa. [2016 Winner]
  • Elena Trosclair, Associate Professor, Ural State Law University, Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation, was recognized for her dedication to teaching English to law students in the Russian Federation and for promoting scholarship in global legal skills. [2015 Winner]

Scholarship and Book Awards

This category recognizes exceptional books and articles that advance the teaching of global legal skills, including new casebooks and texts for lawyers and law students.

Law Firms and Other Institutional Winners

This category recognizes companies, professional associations, law firms, and other organizations around the world that give special support for global legal skills. The names of persons accepting these law firm and institutional awards are in parentheses.

  • Arias and Muñoz, Costa Rica (José Antonio Muñoz F.), was recognized for innovative skills training for its lawyers and in thanks for its active support of holding the Global Legal Skills Conference in Central America. [2012 Winner]
  • BarWrite and BarWrite Press, New York, USA (Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher), for the company's early and thoughtful recognition of the special bar exam preparation needs needs of lawyers and law students from other countries. [2014 Winner]
  • Fondazione Floresta Longo, Catania (Sicily), Italy (Prof. Antonino Longo), in recognition of its dedicated commitment to improving the quality of legal services by teaching global legal skills to lawyers and law students. [2015 Winner]
  • Lawbility Professional Language Program, Zurich, Switzerland (Jean-Luc Delli), in recognition of its innovative programming, publications, and demonstrated commitment to excellence in global legal skills education. [2016 Winner]
  • The Legal Writing Institute Global Legal Writing Skills Committee (Professors Cara Cunningham of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and Sammy Mansour of the Michigan State University College of Law), was recognized for its support and active encouragement of global legal skills. [2014 Winner]

Law School Winners

This category recognizes law schools around the world that give special attention to and support for global legal skills.

  • Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey, Mexico, was recognized for its innovative educational leadership in requiring its graduates to have taken classes in three languages, for successfully bringing the Global Legal Skills Conference to its first international destination, for hosting the GLS Conference two times in Mexico, and for other efforts to promote the study of Legal English and comparative law. [2012 Winner]
  • Pacific McGeorge School of Law was recognized for innovations in its legal research and writing program that introduce students to cross-cultural awareness, comparative law, and international law. [2015 Winner]
  • University of Verona Department of Law, Italy, in recognition of its demonstrated commitment to excellence in global legal skills education and in appreciation of hosting the 2014 and 2016 Global Legal Skills Conferences. [2016 Winner]

Nominations for the 2017 GLS Awards, which will be presented during the 2017 Global Legal Skills Conference, can be submitted to Professor Mark Wojcik at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.


June 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

SALT Teaching Conference at The John Marshall Law School

The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) will hold its 2016 Teaching Conference in Chicago at The John Marshall Law School. The conference, "From the Community to the Classroom: Teaching and Advancing Social Justice," will be held on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1, 2016.

Proposals for the SALT Teaching Conference are due by June 15, 2016. Click here for more information.

Additionally, the 10th Annual Junior Faculty Development Workshop organized by LatCrit, Inc. and SALT will be held on Thursday, September 29, 2016. The Faculty Development Workshop is intended to familiarize junior faculty with Lat Crit and SALT and to support faculty in their scholarship, teaching, and service.


June 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summary of the 11th Global Legal Skills Conference in Verona, Italy

GLS-11 Closing PhotoThe eleventh Global Legal Skills Conference was held in Italy on May 24-26, 2016 at the University of Verona Department of Law (Universitá di Verona Dipartimento di Scienze Giuridiche). GLS-11 had more than 130 presenters and attendees from 16 countries.

The GLS-11 Conference opened with welcomes from the Conference Co-Chairs, Professor Stefano Troiano (University of Verona Department of Law) and Professor Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School, and founder of the GLS Conference Series). Welcomes were also made by the GLS-11 Conference Program Co-Chairs, Professor David Austin (California Western School of Law in San Diego) and Professor Lurene Contento (The John Marshall Law School). Professor Lidia Angeleri (University of Verona Delegate for Internationalization), Professor Maria Caterina Baruffi (University of Verona Department of Law), and Professor Stefano Fuselli (University of Verona College of Law) also extended greetings to attendees at the opening session.

The GLS-11 Conference was supported by the cooperation of many other organizations and entities. Professor Bob Brain, Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, gave welcoming remarks on behalf of various AALS Sections with leaders attending the GLS Conference. Professor William B.T. Mock gave welcoming remarks on behalf of the American Bar Association Section of International Law. Other supporting organizations included the American Society of International Law, the International Law Students Association (which organizes the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition), Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers, and the Teaching International Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association.

Professor Kim Holst, Immediate Past Chair of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, introduced the opening plenary speaker, Professor Charles Calleros, who had arranged for Ivan Caburlon, a flamenco guitarist from Verona, to help give instructions on classical flamenco dance rhythms. The unsuspecting audience joined in the exercise, which reminded participants how disorienting first semester legal writing courses can be to new students.

The next days of the conference offered thirty different panels and roundtables with speakers from around the world. Speakers and participants came from Austria, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Other speakers who had been expected from Russia and Singapore were unfortunately unable to attend the conference. The full schedule of speakers and topics can be viewed by clicking here. Persons interested in any particular topic can contact speakers directly for more information about their presentations.

Verona Arena and OrganizersThe opening conference reception was held in Piazza Bra in Verona, directly across from the Arena, the Roman amphitheater built in the first century and still in use. (Adele gave a concert in that theatre during the week of the GLS Conference.) The law school reception featured singer Daniela Austin and an exceptional jazz quartet. American singer Mark Campbell also made a surprise guest appearance to entertain the audience. Reception attendees also received a special conference gift of hand-painted candle-holders.

GLS Awards were presented during the conference to individuals and organizations that have made substantial contributions to the promotion and development of global legal skills education. Award recipients this year were Dr. Amrita Bahri (Mexico), Professors Laurel Oates and Mimi Samuel (United States), Professor Robin Palmer (New Zealand), Legal English book authors Alison Riley and Patricia Sours (Italy), the Lawbility Professional Language Program (Switzerland), and the University of Verona Department of Law (Italy). Prior winners of GLS awards presented the 2016 GLS Awards, which have become global award to recognize innovation and excellence in legal skills education. A cumulative list of the GLS Award Recipients can be found by clicking here.

The speaker in the closing session was Professor David Austin (California Western School of Law), whose popular and entertaining presentation introduced the intersections of law, literature, and art in medieval Padua and served as a prelude to the post-conference day trip to explore the city that Shakespeare described in The Taming of the Shrew as a “nursery of arts.”

Participants visited the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, the world’s first botanic garden, the second oldest law school in Europe, the classroom where Galileo taught for more than a decade, the historic surgical operating theatre in the medical school of Padua, the medieval law courts of Padua, and one of the most important masterpieces of Western Art -- the magnificent frescos of the Scrovegni Chapel painted by Giotto between 1303 and 1305. A farewell dinner in Rovolon in the romantic Euganean hills completed the day.

This was the second time that the GLS conference had been held in Verona, Italy. Other GLS conferences have been held in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Mexico, and Costa Rica. The next GLS conference will be held in 2017, with a location and dates still to be announced.

Members of the GLS-11 Program Committee (Comitato Scientifico) included Professors Paolo Butturini (University of Verona), Juli Campagna (Hofstra University), Kimberly Holst (Arizona State University), William B.T. Mock (The John Marshall Law School), and John Thornton (Northwestern University). The GLS-11 Communications Officer was Tommaso Lecca of the University of Cagliari in Sardinia. Student volunteers from the University of Verona Department of Law assisted with registration and ensured that all of the conference participants could fully enjoy the conference.

June 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lawbility of Switzerland is a Winner of a 2016 Global Legal Skills Award

Lawbility GLS 2016The Swiss firm Lawbility, based in Zurich, was named among the winners of a 2016 Global Legal Skills Award, presented on May 26, 2016 at the University of Verona Department of Law as part of the 11th Global Legal Skills Conference.

Lawbility is a firm that offers specialized courses in Legal English, courses on practical legal skills, and preparation for bar examinations. In 2013 it also published The Legal English Manual which, as many of the award nominators noted, is "an indispensible tool for teaching legal English in Switzerland."

The Legal English Manual published by Lawbility was co-authored by four lawyers and Legal English teachers: Alison Wiebalck, Clemens von Zedwitz, Richard Norman, and Kathrin Weston Walsh. The book covers 14 specific areas of law and has been well received by reviewers, course participants, and students who speak English as a second language.

The GLS Award was signed by the Co-Chairs of the GLS Conference, Professor Stefano Troiano of the University of Verona Department of Law (pictured at left), and Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School, who was the founder of the GLS Conference Series. The award was accepted by Lawbility's founder, Jean-Luc Delli of Switzerland. The award was presented to him by a previous GLS Award Recipient, Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher of New York, who is the President and Founder of BarWrite and BarWrite Press.

Other winners of GLS awards presented at the University of Verona Department of Law in May 2016 were:

The full list of GLS Award Recipients is available by clicking here.

The next GLS Awards will be presented in 2017.


June 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Laurel Oates and Mimi Samuel are Winners of 2016 Global Legal Skills Awards

Professors Laurel Oates and Mimi Samuel of Seattle University School of Law are winners of 2016 Global Legal Skills Awards that were presented on May 26, 2016 at the 11th Global Legal Skills Conference in Verona, Italy. They have promoted global legal skills around the world by conducting training programs in Afghanistan, India, Uganda, South Africa, and elsewhere.

Professor Laurel Oates was the Director of Seattle University’s Legal Writing Program until 2012. She was a co-founder of the Legal Writing Institute, helped establish the LWI newsletter known as The Second Draft, and helped organize and host seven national LWI conferences, including the 1984, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 conferences. She is the co-author of five books, including The Legal Writing Handbook, which is now in its sixth edition, and Just Research, Just Memos, Just Briefs, Just Writing, and a Practice Book.

During the last seven years, Professor Oates has taught workshops on legal writing in Afghanistan, Botswana, China, India, South Africa, and Uganda and has hosted programs for both students and lawyers in South Africa. In June 2007, Professor Oates received the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.; in October 2009 she received the Marjorie Rombauer Award for Contributions to the Teaching of Legal Writing. In October 2012 she received the Tom Holdych Award for Meritorious and Transformational Service. And now in 2016, she is also a recipient of a Global Legal Skills Award.

Mimi Samuel GLS 2016Mimi Samuel is an Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills and Associate Director of the Legal Writing Program at Seattle University School of Law. She embraces opportunities to work with law students, lawyers, and judges around the world. In 2003, she taught the foundations of the American legal system to Russian law students at Far Eastern National University in Vladivostok. In 2007, Professor Samuel and Laurel Oates conducted a series of workshops in India, Uganda, and South Africa. She also co-organized the Conference on the Pedagogy of Legal Writing for Academics in Nairobi, Kenya, which brought academics from the U.S. together with academics from East Africa. At the end of the conference, the participants decided to form a new organization ("APPEAL") dedicated to promoting the teaching of legal writing and the exchange of information among academics in the U.S. and Africa. Professor Samuel was the first U.S. co-president of that organization. Professor Samuel has also taught in Seattle University’s Global Justice Advocacy Program in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The GLS Awards were signed by the GLS-11 Conference Co-Chairs, Professor Stefano Troiano of the University of Verona Department of Law (where the conference was held) and Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago (the founder of the GLS Conference Series). The awards were presented to Professors Oates and Samuel by two prior GLS award winners, Professor Hether Macfarlane of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in California (in the photo, she is the one holding the award for Mimi Samuel) and Professor John Thornton of the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in Chicago.

Other winners of GLS awards presented at the University of Verona Department of Law in May 2016 were:

  • Dr. Amrita Bahri (Mexico)
  • Professor Robin Palmer (New Zealand)
  • Professor Alison Riley (United Kingdom/Italy)
  • Professor Patricia Sours (United States/Italy)
  • Lawbility Professional Language Program (Switzerland)
  • University of Verona Department of Law (Italy)

Click here for more information about the GLS Awards and to see the full list of award recipients.


June 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Professor Robin Palmer of New Zealand Receives a 2016 Global Legal Skills Award

Palmer New ZealandProfessor Robin Palmer, Director of Clinical Legal Studies at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, received a 2016 Global Legal Skills Award at the 11th Global Legal Skills Conference in Verona, Italy. He had been nominated for the award by Professor Chris Gallavin, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, College of Humanities and Social Science at Massey University in New Zealand.

Before becoming a Professor of Law at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Professor Palmer was the Director of the Institute for Professional Legal Training (IPLT), affiliated to the University of KwaZulu-NataI, Durban, South Africa. He is also a practicing barrister (advocate).

Professor Palmer has been involved in numerous high-profile cases, including as defense counsel in the 'Trust Feed' trial, in which the existence of apartheid hit squads was conclusively proved. From 2006 to 2012, he was the lead specialist prosecutor of the 'Life' case, where international brokers, local hospital groups and surgeons were prosecuted for illegal organ trafficking. He has also run various training courses and consultancies for the UNDP, UNODC, OSI, OSISA, the Commonwealth, USAID, GIZ, DFID, EU, the IBA, and other organizations in diverse fields from 1995 to the present, including justice reform, legal aid, constitutional development and good governance projects in various African, Asian and East-European countries. He was a member of the International Bar Associaiton Human Rights Institute's Task Team into money laundering, tax havens, and poverty from 2012 to 2013. He was the lead consultant in the UNODC expert group meeting on private/public security cooperation Vienna. He initiated, and run a postgraduate diploma course in forensic investigation at the University of KwazuIu-Natal in South Africa since 2000, and is currently specializing in transnational and international criminal law, corruption issues, and legal sector reform. He has a special interest in developing and implementing generic general and specific legal skills, ranging from reasoning, oral, writing and negotiation skills, to applied court skills and the utilization of new technology in the law.

His nomination letter noted that Professor Palmer has developed simple, straightforward methods to train specialized legal skills, such as trial advocacy and clinical law skills such as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, statement-taking, letter , report and brief writing, and file management. His trial advocacy system is contained in his short book, Basic Trial Advocacy Skills (with co-author Professor David McQuoid-Mason, who wrote the ethics chapter), which has been used by law and other faculties in Africa since 2000. It's only one of seven books that he wrote or edited. After this particular book was circulated at the conference of African Chief Justices in Zambia in 2009, the publisher printed a special edition for judges and the book was distributed to the courts of most of the countries in Africa.

In 2012, Professor Palmer (with Professor David McQuoid-Mason) published for Open Society, Institute (Budapest) a well-received comprehensive African Law Clinician's Manual, with detailed, step-by-step guidelines, which has been distributed in hard copy and e-book format to over 60 countries. Professor Palmer has also edited, and was the main author, of a practical guide to the Law of Evidence in South Africa for Oxford University Press, and is currently completing the companion volume on Criminal Procedure. He was also co-author on two other books for Oxford University Press: A Practical Guide to Civil Procedure (2003; 2 ed: 2009; 3 ed 2016), and Criminal Law (2012; 2 ed 2015).

He was also the moderator and editor of a detailed practical International Criminal Justice syllabus, published by the Institute of Security Studies, which has been distributed free of charge to most African law schools. He also recruited a team of authors in New Zealand, and as editor and main contributing author, is currently preparing a detailed, skills-based book, The New Zealand Clinical Legal Studies and Internships Handbook (publication in August 2016- Thomson-Reuters).

OK, so he's basically amazing in the scope and impact that his publications have had in Africa and New Zealand. But he's also involved heavily in reforming legal skills education.

He has long advocated a more robust approach to the use of new technology in legal proceedings (especially where it can assist to avoid miscarriages of justice). For example, following up on the inclusion of a chapter written by him on the topic in the Evidence book, he and a research team were awarded a grant by the New Zealand to investigate the scientific validity and possible legal application of Brain-scan (EEG) technology (so-called 'brain-fingerprinting). Part of the project is the development on new skills protocols to ensure acceptable investigative and legal standards.

The GLS award was signed by the GLS Conference Co-Chairs, Professor Stefano Troiano of the University of Verona Department of Law (pictured at left) and Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School (pictured at right). The award was presented by Professor Anthony Winer of Minnesota, a prior recipient of a Global Legal Skills Award for his book on International Law Legal Research. Professor Palmer is pictured (above right) holding the award.

More information about the Global Legal Skills Awards is available at


June 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 3, 2016


WEDThis Sunday, June 5, is World Environment Day.  The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) has chosen to highlight the illegal trade in wildlife this year and is launching its "Wild for Life" campaign to raise awareness and stop trafficking in wildlife.


Earlier this week, 70 dead tiger cubs were discovered in a Buddhist temple in Thailand, along with tiger skins, talismans and other wildlife parts. Representatives from UNEP and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) have said those circumstances represent only a “tiny proportion” of the extent of an illegal trade in wildlife that is pushing species to the brink of extinction. In a joint press release, the agencies stated: “Indeed, only around 4,000 tigers are left in the wild. . . Until the illegal trade in wildlife is stopped, we are only likely to see more of these types of situations.”

The press release continued, “The illegal trade in wildlife, estimated to profit criminals to the tune of billions of dollars annually worldwide, comprises everything from the lucrative trade in tiger parts in East Asia to ivory from poached African elephants. . . .It undermines our environment, economies, communities and security.”

UNEP and UNODC also noted that action against the illegal wildlife trade has become a high global priority, with the UN General Assembly adopting a resolution in July 2015 urging all countries to make this a serious criminal offense.

Moreover, they said, the second UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) held in Nairobi, Kenya, last month reaffirmed the urgency of stepped-up efforts to combat wildlife crime through concrete actions at national and international levels.

Southeast Asian nations are also taking notice, with the last Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime adding wildlife trafficking to the list of priority transnational crimes.

“The commendable action by Thailand’s authorities, coordinated by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, highlights the need for constant vigilance by wildlife law enforcement authorities to the threat posed by traffickers,” said UNEP and UNODC.

The agencies also recalled that in April 2015, Thai customs confiscated more than three tons of African elephant ivory, the second-largest seizure in the country’s history. Also in 2015, Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office was among Asia-Pacific organizations honoured by UNEP for its role in combating wildlife crime.

To learn more, visit the World Environment Day website.


June 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dr. Amrita Bahri is a Winner of a 2016 Global Legal Skills Award

Bahri GLS 2016Dr. Amrita Bahri, an Assistant Professor of Law at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, was a winner of a 2016 Global Legal Skills Award, presented at the University of Verona Department of Law during the 11th Global Legal Skills Conference. The award was signed by the GLS Conference Co-Chairs, Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and Professor Stefano Troiano of the University of Verona Department of Law, and was presented by a previous GLS Award Winner, Prof. Antonino Longo of Catania, Sicily.

The award was given to encourage and support the Global Legal Skills Program at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México in Mexico City.


June 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Global Legal Skills Awards Presented to Alison Riley and Patricia Sours

Riley-Sours 2016 GLS AwardsProfessors Alison Riley and Patricia Sours received special Certificates of Achievement in Global Legal Skills Education at the 2016 Global Legal Skills Conference held last week in Verona, Italy. The two authors received the Global Legal Skills Awards in recognition of their contributions to global legal skills education through years of dedicated teaching and through the publication of two co-authored books, Legal English and the Common Law and Common Law Legal English and Grammar: A Contextual Approach.

The Global Legal Skills Awards were presented to Professors Riley and Sours in Verona, Italy at the University of Verona Department of Law during the Eleventh Global Legal Skills Conference. The awards were signed by the GLS Conference Co-Chairs, Professor Mark Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and Professor Stefano Troiano of the University of Verona Department of Law. The award presenters were two prior GLS Award Winners, Professor Juli Campagna of the Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law in New York and Professor John Thornton of the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in Chicago.

More information about the GLS Awards is available by clicking here.


June 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)