International LL.M. Curriculum
The program of study for the LL.M. in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law is specifically designed to provide lawyers actively engaged in reforms with the tools necessary to become more effective advocates and engineers of change in their home countries. The combination of courses is unique among LL..M programs in its focus and design. In order to graduate with an LL.M. degree, international students are required to take a minimum of 24 credit hours during the academic year. This includes the fall and spring semesters and the three-week January term.
Because of the highly specialized nature of the ONU LL.M program, all courses but one are mandatory. However, students are encouraged to take additional elective courses that fit their interests and schedules.
Fall Semester (12 hours of required courses)
American Legal System (3 credits)
Legal Issues in Transitional Democracies - Private Law (3 credits)
Comparative Constitutional Law (3 credits)
Comparative Administrative Law (3 credits)
January Term (2 hours of required courses)
International Criminal Law (2 credits)
Selected Topics in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law (2 credits)
Terrorism and Criminal Law (2 credits)
Spring Semester (8 hours of required courses)
Legal Issues in Transitional Democracies - Public Law (3 credits)
Competitiveness and Corruption (3 credits)
Rule of Law Seminar (2 credits)
Elective (required, 2 or more credits)
American Legal System (3 credit hours)
An introductory course providing an overview of a broad array of legal topics, from the U.S. Constitution and the doctrines and practice of federalism and separation of powers to the sources of American law and the fundamentals of the main branches of law.
Comparative Administrative Law (3 credit hours)
A study of the role of administrative law in different states with an emphasis on how the nations address common issues of the administrative state. Different approaches to the role of government agencies in both individual decision-making, such as licensing and adjudication, and rule-making or adoption of normative acts will be discussed. Topics will include the role of judicial review and legislative oversight of the bureaucracy, accountability of individual government officials, and rights of individuals within the bureaucracy.
Comparative Constitutional Law (3 credit hours)
Analysis of critical common elements of constitutional regimes and their variations. Constitutions of the United States and European Union states will be reviewed along with newly drafted constitutions of Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Issues addressed will include basic structures of government, separation of powers and guarantees of individual rights.
Competitiveness and Corruption (3 credit hours)
Study of the causes and consequences of corruption, the experience of various countries in reducing corruption, the reasons why anticorruption measures often fail, and ways to effectively combat corruption. Emphasis on the effect of free market and competition on reducing the level of corruption and discussion of ways to increase competitiveness, ensure property rights, develop businesses, and otherwise reduce conditions favorable to corruption.
International Criminal Law (2 credit hours)
Study of the prosecution of crimes with an international character in national criminal justice systems and the prosecution of international crimes in an international criminal justice setting. Focus on multinational criminal conduct in such areas as cyber-crime and financial misconduct as well as the International Criminal Court and international crimes such as genocide and crimes against humanity. Comparative analysis of procedural questions relating to jurisdiction.
Legal Issues in Transitional Democracies - Private Law (3 credit hours)
Treatment of critical issues for developing democracies relating to private law. Topics covered may include the business environment, investment, dispute resolution, property rights, employment and labor law, and other topics depending on specific class interests.
Legal Issues in Transitional Democracies - Public Law (3 credit hours)
Discussion of the critical issues for developing democracies. The class covers issues related to how developing democracies deal with their pasts and build their futures. Topics include accountability for gross human rights violations, truth commission, lustration, constitution drafting, legal and judicial reforms, election laws, and free market laws. Other topics will be considered depending on individual class interests.
Rule of Law Seminar (2 credit hours)
Preparation of a 25-page research paper devoted to a critical area of legal reform in the student’s home country. Topics will be selected in consultation with the instructor. Classroom sessions will provide opportunities for students to present their ideas and comment on those of other participants.
Selected Topics in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law (2 credit hours)
Concentrated treatment of particular issues or skills related to promoting democracy and the rule of law.
Terrorism and Criminal Law (2 credit hours)
An examination of international approaches to combating terrorism, including international organizations and treaties as well as customary international criminal law. The course utilizes a comparative approach to examine the manner in which a number of domestic jurisdictions attempt to address the issue of terrorism.
During the course of the year, there will be intensive one- or two-day weekend seminars conducted by prominent scholars and practitioners. These sessions will be designed to allow the students maximum interaction with a recognized international expert in an informal setting. Past weekend seminars included the following topics and speakers:
Court Management and Administration in the United States and Transitional Countries
Markus Zimmer, International Court Administration Consultant, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
The Integrity of the Ohio Elections Process and Ethical Restrictions on Office Holders and Public Employees
Former Ohio Governor Bob Taft (with Gordon Proctor, former Director, Ohio Department of Transportation), Columbus, Ohio, USA
The American Political and Legal Process
Former U.S. Senator and current Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine, Columbus, Ohio, USA
One-on-One with the Bridge Ogre: How to Get What You Need Without Paying the Bribe. Principles of Dissuasion in Government Extortion Situations
Bruce Horowitz, PAZ HOROWITZ Abogados, Quito, Ecuador
Transition from One Party Rule
Dr. Gustavo Vega-Canovas, El Colegio de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Women’s Rights in International Context
Professor Julie Mertus, American University School of International Service, Washington, DC, USA
Over the year, the international LLM students have the opportunity to closely observe the operation of governmental institutions in the local communities and the state of Ohio. There are field trips to Columbus, the state capital, for observation and discussion with the Supreme Court, state legislature, state bar association, and other government and non-governmental entities. Local city councils, county commissions, and trial and appellate courts provide insights into democracy at the grass-roots level.
During the spring semester, the international LLM students travel to Washington, D.C., for a weeklong study trip. They have meetings at U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of State, USAID, the World Bank, U.S. Institute of Peace, ABA Rule of Law Initiative, and other organizations. The meetings are arranged by the LLM program to enhance the students’ understanding of how democracy functions on the national level and advanced internationally.