Loyola University Chicago


Course Descriptions


Comparative and Ethical Lawyering for the Rule of Law (3 credits)

This course will develop the students' key knowledge and skills required to provide effective advice and assistance in a country with a culture and a legal system different from the culture and legal system in which students received their legal educations. The course will examine and compare the main elements of particular relevance to rule of law assistance work in each of the three major world legal systems: common law, continental civil law and Islamic law and the typical institutional frameworks adopted to organize each of these legal systems. It will also explore customary law sources in developing countries and how they are integrated in a formal way into modern legal systems and/or applied in practice. The course will also provide practical examples of successes and failures of cross-system rule of law assistance efforts attributable to success or failure to manage differences in legal systems and culture and explore relevant strategies for success. Finally, the course will encourage students to consider the ethical dimension of cross-system advising in settings, whose culture and value systems differ in fundamental ways from the advisor. 


History, Theory and Practice of Law for Development (3 credits)

This course will examine the roots of academically-oriented rule of law work in the 1960s and the earlier theoretical work upon which it was based and follow the development of the field to date with a double focus on theory and practice of rule of law initiatives undertaken in the setting of international development assistance programs. This course will also examine alternative change models to which rule of advisors can refer in their engagement with counterparts and in the conception of development of rule of law-related strategies.  In this context the course will examine the complex relationship between development and the state of the rule of law and examining recent research, which provides insights into that relationship.  Alternatives for the sequencing of reforms will be considered in order to provide the students with the ability to devise a further range of alternatives for policy implementation in real settings. The course will also examine the tools, which are currently employed in rule of law assistance and consider how to devise strategies for their most efficient deployment in light of relevant research.


Thesis Research and Writing on the Rule of Law (3 credits)

This course is designed to assist students in developing the techniques of scholarly legal research and writing in relation to rule of law development. The methods and skills that will occupy this course are designed to achieve two objectives. The primary objective is that students will be able to apply scholarly research and writing skills which will help them conduct in depth research on their thesis topics and to develop a proposal for writing the LL.M. thesis. A secondary purpose is that students will acquire writing and research skills that can also be used in practice involving policy and legal advice. In keeping with the focus on development issues, substantial emphasis in the course will be made on socio-legal and empirical legal research methodologies.

This course is also designed as a foundation for PLAW 251: Rule of Law Thesis Supervision and Completion which prepares students to work with their individual thesis supervisor while preparing the thesis paper. In addition to preparing students to be able to write scholarly legal prose on law and development topics, the course will help students develop methods for ensuring that all of their writing reflects specific consideration of key issues such as: target audience, appropriate research methodologies required to support writing on specific topics, and documentation of sources. Students will have an opportunity to develop their skills in these areas through short writing assignments and online class discussions. The professor will provide students comprehensive feedback on the submissions required under these assignments, on their basic research and on the development of their thesis proposals.


Theory and Practice of Assessments in Rule of Law Advising (3 credits)

This course will provide students with the knowledge and skills required to undertake the assessments of needs, the crucial lynchpin required for the design of specific rule of law initiatives. As this aspect of rule of law work requires the performance of tasks, which are generally outside the experience and training of law graduates, students will be provided with a new set of research and analytic tools and methodologies from outside their field. While concentrating on examples from the legal and justice sector, these tools will include interviewing skills, use of data from existing sources, the generation of new data, the design and conduct of reliable surveys, the use and interpretation of statistical data and the drafting of the assessment documents themselves. The course will relate closely to the courses on Comparative and Ethical Lawyering for the Rule of Law and the International Development Architecture, insofar as assessments will require analysis and description of the state of the target country's legal system, the functioning of law-related institutions, including the courts, the financing of the legal system and issues related to access to justice.


International Development Architecture (3 credits)

This course will prepare students to provide development law advice (or advice that is legal in nature and is intended to advance international development objectives) by clarifying the workings of the architecture of international development. It will examine how different international actors (public and private), and different mechanisms for governing economic relationships between developed and developing countries can influence domestic legal and policy reform. The course will consider Rule of Law (RoL) programming as one mechanism amongst others that lawyers can use in pursuing international development objectives.

The course will begin with a review of the approaches development law matters by the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions, international financial institutions, and the WTO. In doing so, it will explore the role and operational realities of such organizations within the international development architecture. The course will then open the investigation beyond development-oriented public international organizations to include the private (corporate and non-profit) sector, in order to further examine how development finance can influence domestic legal and regulatory landscapes.

The course will expose students to a broad range of legal and non-legal primary materials (e.g. project agreements, supporting design documents, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, Millennium Challenges compacts, etc.). It will highlight the central role that these documents can play in determining national development priorities. It will also highlight the importance of the design of the international development architecture for channelling funds to and between developing countries.

Throughout the course, the following questions will be asked: Where do the rules that affect developing countries’ legislative, regulatory, and policy frameworks (supporting e.g. health, trade, and microfinance) come from? Through what processes do they become integrated into domestic legal landscapes? How directly or indirectly do these rules affect domestic structures? Across the development architecture, how explicit is the use of law for achieving international development goals? What role is there for lawyers within these rule-making / rule-influencing systems?


Advising for Economic, Social and Institutional Reform (2 credits)

This course will provide the students with a survey of the substantive areas most frequently dealt with in rule of law initiatives, the key issues present in each area and tested strategies for encouraging reform and building capacity in each area. The course will group the substantive areas into three categories and explore the main issues and reform strategies for each. In this regard, the course will first explore issues related to the development of the legal framework for investment, international trade and intellectual property and the capacity to structure, manage, govern and negotiate in these areas. Second, the course will examine how rule of law initiatives deal with social development issues. This will include an examination of how rule of law initiatives approach issues such as human rights, gender equity, trafficking of people, environment, health and legal empowerment of the poor.
Thirdly, the course will examine how rule of law initiatives are undertaken to improve the institutional framework for justice and governance. This will include examination of how rule of law can be promoted through the promotion of democracy, including promotion and strengthening of common democratic features such free elections, separation and distribution of powers, the functioning of parliaments and other representative bodies, the strengthening and independence of the judiciary, improvement of judicial practice and the administration of justice, access to justice, the control of corruption, strengthening of public procurement, the establishment or improvements of constitutions. Case studies will be used to illustrate the key issues faced and strategies adopted in each area explored. The emphasis will be on strategies which have been adopted in various rule of law initiatives and the lessons which can be drawn from these. Finally, the last modules of the course will provide, through examples relating to the above three areas, solid basic knowledge of Monitoring and Evaluation strategies and techniques and best practices on modalities to cooperate with donors. In particular, in selected topical area we will review evaluations of real projects or relevant evaluation and monitoring guidance materials in the specific subject being dealt with in a given class in order to 1) develop your ability to advise on monitoring and rigorous evaluation of rule of law initiatives and 2) to develop your ability to advise on the design and implement reform initiatives which will help your ”clients” take advantage of what has worked well in the past and avoid or minimize the weaknesses and mistakes of prior efforts.


Rule of Law Project Management (2 credits)

The course will cover the main principles, methodologies and tools in managing rule of law projects, and examine specifically whether there is anything special that differentiates the management of rule of law projects from other types of development projects. The course will look at how to handle the sometimes conflicting pressures from outside (e.g., donor priorities, partners’ capacity) as well as inside the implementing organization (financial constraints, business development considerations). It will cover the main tasks involved in managing a project, including recruitment, human resource management, procurement, inventory, budgeting, pipeline analysis, reporting, monitoring and evaluation, and of course, technical implementation. The course will address the main steps in the project cycle that relate to implementation, including start up, option year extensions, and close out, management from the home office as well as in the field, and touch on issues of using sub-contractors or sub-grants programs. The course will also cover challenges arising in project management, such as how to handle implementation of a project with weak design or insufficient budget and what to do when the desires of recipient country partners conflict with the project as conceived and agreed with the donor. To the extent possible in a classroom setting, the course is intended to simulate real-world conditions under which rule of law assistance projects are conceived and documented. As a result, particular attention must be paid to deadlines set by the instructor for the submission of all written assignments.


Design of Rule of Law Programs and Proposal Preparation (3 credits)

This course will improve the understanding and skills of students in the area of project design and the preparation of proposals related to rule of law assistance. Accordingly, the course will develop the students' skills in undertaking the principle steps in the design process. Building on the course on needs assessments the course will begin with effective needs and problem analysis and then analyze the process of identification of goals, objectives and activities; project inputs and expected outputs, selection of appropriate project partners; the identification of performance indicators, design of a monitoring and evaluation plan, design and structuring of a proposal; prospective donor identification and the designing a plan for project management and reporting. The course will include instruction and practice in the building of logical project frameworks, the principal analytic tool used for project design in the international development community, the establishment of the credentials of the proposer to undertake the project and the design and preparation of a proposal for a project in a given jurisdiction.


Rule of Law Thesis Supervision and Completion (3 credits)

Each student shall prepare a thesis paper on the topic identified in the thesis proposal developed in PLAW 250: Thesis Research and Writing on the Rule of Law.  Each student shall be assigned a thesis supervisor.  The thesis supervisor will serve as a mentor and authoritative guide to the student supervised and will (a) critique the thesis topic and proposal to ensure that it is sufficiently ambitious to warrant awarding three credit-hours of study; (b) have, in accordance with a schedule agreed with the supervised student several face to face or on-line meetings that allow for substantial interaction and discussion on the thesis proposal; (c) provide feedback on research methodology and counsel the student on areas within the topic on which the quality of the research can be improved or the breath or depth of the research can be extended;  and (d) carefully review and provide feedback on the proposal, subsequent drafts of the thesis, and the completed thesis.  The thesis shall be submitted in final form by July 31 each academic year and in accordance with the PROLAW Thesis Guidelines.

Rule of Law in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding (2 credits)

This course will explore the relationship between rule of law development and conflict.  It will analyze the legal and developmental aspects of conflict prevention, near term stabilization, and long term institutional recovery.  The course will examine how breakdowns in legal and governance institutions, and particularly those that lead to the denial of human rights, inequality before the law, lack of due process, and the inability of citizens to access credible, accountable justice mechanisms, often create conditions for conflict. 

The course will also look at the ways unaccountable and ineffective law enforcement institutions may contribute to conflict.  In many cases these actors are complicit with or responsible for violence themselves.  In other cases, their lack of competence impedes states’ ability to prevent violence from occurring and escalating, slows the road to reintegration, and fuels criminality and ongoing insecurity.  The course will introduce students to demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) of former belligerents, and how, if connected to rule of law development, DDR can become important elements of peace building.

The course will also explore the impact of legacies of injustice, including mass violence, and survey options and approaches to transitional and restorative justice as ways of creating the conditions for lasting peace. An important theme of the course is the role of multiple stakeholders in achieving lasting peace.  Conflict often has numerous causes and its avoidance or cessation must be brought about by broad segments of society.