Learn more about Peltz-Steele v. UMass Faculty Federation at Court Listener and the Liberty Justice Center. Please direct media inquiries to Kristen Williamson.
Showing posts with label foreign law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label foreign law. Show all posts

Monday, March 23, 2020

Multidisciplinary 'Law and Development' book tackles hard problems from principled perspectives

[UPDATE, March 31, 2020: The Introduction to Law and Development is now available for free download from Springer, via SSRN.]

I am thrilled to announce the publication of Law and Development: Balancing Principles and Values, from Springer, a publication in the Kobe University Monograph Series in Social Science Research (flyer). While I was privileged to serve as a contributor and co-editor, with Professor Dai Tamada (law site), of Kobe University in Japan, this book has been a project of passion for our lead editor, my inspiring colleague and friend, Professor Piotr Szwedo. On the law faculty of the Jagiellonian University (UJ) in Poland, Professor Szwedo serves as head of the OKSPO Center for Foreign Law Schools and co-director of UJ law programs with the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America, and the Université d’Orléans.

Born of an international conference organized by Professor Szwedo at UJ, this ambitious multidisciplinary collection examines the problem of "development" across the world especially from perspectives informed by morality and ethics. Here is the jacket précis:

This book examines the concept of ‘development’ from alternative perspectives and analyzes how different approaches influence law. ‘Sustainable development’ focuses on balancing economic progress, environmental protection, individual rights, and collective interests. It requires a holistic approach to human beings in their individual and social dimensions, which can be seen as a reference to ‘integral human development’ – a concept found in ethics. ‘Development’ can be considered as a value or a goal. But it also has a normative dimension influencing lawmaking and legal application; it is a rule of interpretation, which harmonizes the application of conflicting norms, and which is often based on the ethical and anthropological assumptions of the decision maker. This research examines how different approaches to ‘development’ and their impact on law can coexist in pluralistic and multicultural societies, and how to evaluate their legitimacy, analyzing the problem from an overarching theoretical perspective. It also discusses case studies stemming from different branches of law.
Prof. Szwedo
Prof. Tamada
In organizing the book's 13 contributed chapters, we envisioned and executed on four threads of approach: (1) conceptualizing development, (2) financing development, (3) development and society, and (4) applied sustainable development.  Scholars, lawyers, and scientists who approach development from diverse professional, geographic, and experiential perspectives all will find compelling inroads in this volume, which ranges from the highest echelons of philosophical thinking about the human condition to the most earthbound problems of how many fish swim in the sea.  With DOI links, here are the contents and contributors:
  1. “Law & Development” in the Light of Philosophy of (Legal) History, by Tomáš Gábriš, Faculty of Law, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovak Republic.
  2. Populorum Progressio: Development and Law?, by Christine Mengès-Le Pape, University Toulouse, France.
  3. Luigi Sturzo’s Socio-economic Development Theory and the Case of Italy: No Prophet in His Homeland, by Flavio Felice, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy; and Luca Sandonà,University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy.
  4. International Financial Aid, Catholic Social Doctrine and Sustainable Integral Human Development, by George Garvey, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., USA.
  5. Common but Differentiated Responsibilities for Developed and Developing States: A South African Perspective, by Zuzana Selementová, LL.M. (Cape Town), Valouch, and Attorneys-at-Law, Prague, Czech Republic.
  6. Must Investments Contribute to the Development of the Host State? The Salini Test Scrutinised, by Dai Tamada, Graduate School of Law, Kobe University, Japan.
  7. Water: The Common Heritage of Mankind?, by Franck Duhautoy, University of Warsaw, Centre of French Civilisation, Poland.
  8. Private-Sector Transparency as Development Imperative: An African Inspiration, by Richard Peltz-Steele, University of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth, USA; and Gaspar Kot, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.
  9. Between Economic Development and Human Rights: Balancing E-Commerce and Adult Content Filtering, by Adam Szafrański, Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Warsaw, Poland; Piotr Szwedo, Faculty of Law and Administration, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland; and Małgorzata Klein, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland.
  10. A Comparative Law Approach to the Notion of Sustainable Development: An Example from Urban Planning Law, by Ermanno Calzolaio, University of Macerata, Italy.
  11. Challenges Concerning ‘Development’: A Case-Study on Subsistence and Small-Scale Fisheries in South Africa, by Jan Glazewski, Institute of Marine & Environmental Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  12. Economic and Social Development in the Republic of South Africa’s New Model of Mineral Rights: Balancing Private Ownership, Community Rights, and Sovereignty, by Wojciech Bańczyk, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.
  13. Sustainable Development as a New Trade Usage in International Sale of Goods Contracts, by Daniel Zatorski, Faculty of Law and Administration, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.
An introduction from the editors ties the work together.  Previews (with abstracts) of each chapter can be viewed from the book's home page at Springer (or from the DOI links above), where also a flyer about the book can be downloaded.  Working on this project has been a tremendous education for me on law and development.  My congratulations and deep gratitude extend to Professor Szwedo, Professor Tamada, and every one of the contributing authors.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Adventures of Mass. App. and the 700 Gold Coins

                                                       pnging.com CC BY-NC 4.0
The Massachusetts Appeals Court dove into foreign law and comity today, leaving "700 gold coins" in the possession of an Iranian divorcée.  The case is No. AC 16-P-1131 (Mass. App. Ct. Sept. 25, 2018).

Family law is not my area, but this decision from Mass. App. presented a modest if compelling problem in comparative law.  The divorce of husband and wife precipitated litigation in Iran over the dissolution of the marriage contract and also in Massachusetts over the division of property.  Central in the dispute were "700 gold coins," representing a mahr--a gift from groom to bride in Islamic marriage tradition.

I put "700 gold coins" in quotation marks because I don't think there need actually be 700 gold coins.  The mahr represents a quantifiable asset that is expected to grow in value with the duration of the marriage, thus, at least in theory, providing a divorcée with a time-commensurate award in case of separation.  According to the husband's testimony in Massachusetts court, in event of divorce, the wife may retain the entirety of the mahr, but may receive nothing more.

Despite that testimony, the husband contested award of the mahr in Iranian courts.  He lost at two levels, in trial court and intermediate appellate court in Tehran.  He told the court in Massachusetts that he was appealing to the Supreme Court of Iran.

Meanwhile the trial judge in Massachusetts divided the couple's property assets within U.S. jurisdiction more or less evenly, faithfully to Commonwealth law.  The husband showed that an inherited property in Tehran was wholly under the control of, and generating income for, the husband's mother, so the property was left with the husband as not entwined with the marriage.  But the court awarded the wife an equal share of the appreciation of the property over the course of the marriage.  Other assets were divided evenly.  The court regarded the mahr as an asset of the marriage, so divided it equally as well.  On that latter point, the appellate court reversed.

The principle of comity in international law demands that Massachusetts respect the judgment of a foreign court if it does not run contrary to domestic public policy.  The appellate court found no public policy imperative that would warrant disregard for the Iranian court ruling on the disposition of the mahr.  In the view of the Iranian lower courts, the mahr was the sole property of the wife.  Even if the Iran Supreme Court reverses on that question, no American public policy principle would be offended.  So the Massachusetts trial court abused its discretion in substituting its judgment for that of the Iranian courts on the mahr.  All other rulings of the trial court, including the ruling on the appreciation of the Tehran property, were affirmed.

The courts seemed able to resolve the question presented without expert testimony on Iranian law.  The appeals court relied on the treatment of mahr in a prior New Jersey decision.  Were it necessary, rule 44.1 of both federal and commonwealth rules of civil procedure allows the unusual step of expert evidence on questions of law.  That's fun, because legal scholars get to be experts in court, like experts from other disciplines.  Usually we're relegated to the sidelines.

The opinion was written by Associate Justice Sydney Hanlon, a graduate of Brown and Harvard Law.  Her skills include training for court personnel on dealing with domestic violence, training she has given in central and eastern Russia, as well as the United States, as part of rule-of-law work. 

The court's decision on comity comes at a curious time, with the United States tuning up sanctions on Iran and the EU negotiating with Iran to the express end of undermining U.S. sanctions.  Of course domestic claims playing out against the backdrop of U.S.-Iranian foreign policy is no new thing in American tort law.  See The Adventures of Tort-tort and the Frozen Assets.

Friday, July 7, 2017

ABA SIL YIR on Legal Education


The International Legal Education and Specialist Certification Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law has published an update of ABA Standards and other data regarding international legal education in U.S. law schools.  Excerpted below, the full article is available (login required) at https://www.americanbar.org/groups/international_law/publications/the_year_in_review/51-yir-articles-by-committee.html.

--

International Legal Education and Specialist Certification
Marissa Moran, Diane Penneys Edelman, and Richard Peltz-Steele

Introduction:
The American Bar Association (ABA) promulgates rules and regulations that apply to all United States law schools with ABA-accreditation and approval. Those rules apply specifically to schools offering programs leading to a J.D. degree. In August 2016, the ABA Council approved certain changes to the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, which became effective on August 9, 2016.1 The changes affected not only J.D. programs, but also study abroad programs offered by ABA member schools.

Outline:
I. Amendments to American Bar Association Criteria Relating to Foreign Programs
     A. Summer and Intersession Programs
     B. Student Study at a Foreign Institution
II. First-Year Courses That Focus on International or Comparative Law