California Western -- James Cooper

Courses Taught - James M. Cooper

Comparative Law

Introduction to NAFTA & Other
Hemispheric Trade Agreements

Law of Armed Conflict & Peacekeeping

NAFTA & Business Law Issues

Topics in Law Reform

Comparative Law is a unique course because it describes a method of study rather than a body of rules.  It involves the use of the comparative method -- that is, how to look at legal issues and institutions from a comparative perspective.  This course considers the advantages of the comparative method as well as the inevitable difficulties that arise in its application.  It examines several macro-level legal systems such as International Law, International Trade Law, and European Union Law.  It also provides a micro-level analysis of several legal systems including common law, civil law, Islamic law and indigenous law.  Through this course, students will gain a greater awareness of the diversity of law and legal institutions on local, regional, and global levels.  They will also gain a better understanding of the U.S. legal system.
[part of the Free Trade Academy]
Now that NAFTA is well into its second decade, we can truly understand the extent of its reach and its results.  This survey course introduces the Fair Trade Academy participants to the major issues of NAFTA – from the human issues like social dumping to the health and public safety concerns over cross border pharmaceutical sales.  The course provides a detailed examination of border security, corporate practices and other governance issues. We look at competing jurisdictions, new forms of sovereignty, and the rise of the surveillance society.  We dissect the Agreement and explore the background behind its ratification and implementation across the region.  Finally, the course looks at the general question of harmonization and how the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America views homeland defense.  While the course examines the underpinnings of the North American Free Trade Agreement and subsequent bilateral and regional trade agreements, we also explore whether these agreements have been a success and for whom.  The course features workshops with local activists, law enforcement officials, jurists, diplomats and other stakeholders involved in the border region.  There may be field trips to Tijuana and other border areas in this course.
In a post 9/11 world, the laws of armed conflict and peacekeeping have become increasingly important.  When does a state have the right to use force?  Is there a legal right of anticipatory self-defense?  In the war against terrorism, who are the soldiers and who are common criminals?  What is the right of self-determination and how does it apply in today's Supermodern world?  Who can prosecute war criminals?  When can a state use force against another state to prevent humanitarian catastrophes?  This course in advanced public international law examines ius ad bellum - the right to use force - and the international legal customs that resulted from state practice during the Cold War.  In seminars, students will explore how the United Nations Security Council exercised its muscles during the 1990's only to fail in bringing about a New World Order.  We will also research current legal issues in the war against terrorism and how the ius in bello - the rules of war - are being applied internationally.  New movements in peacemaking and peacekeeping will also be surveyed.  Does not satisfy the SWR requirement.
NAFTA & BUSINESS LAW ISSUES (1 unit) [part of the Free Trade Academy]
Over the last decade, Canadian, Mexican and U.S. businesses have had to adapt to a new business landscape.  With NAFTA, barriers to trade have been lowered and competition has increased.  Canada’s Scotiabank is poised to be the biggest bank in Mexico in the coming years.  Retail operations from the U.S. have entered the Canadian and Mexican marketplaces gobbling up competitors and local players.  How has the business community adapted to new modes of regulation and new cultures in which to operate?  How is the relationship between Canada and Latin America?  What is cultural sovereignty and how can governments protect it?  Can intellectual property rights be fully protected and enforced in Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America?  With the rise in counterfeit medicines and the proliferation of websites offering less expensive pharmaceuticals, in what ways can be better regulate health and safety standards?  How do the investment dispute resolution procedures in NAFTA function?  What is dispute resolution “forum shopping”?  This course surveys the most important issues concerning NAFTA and its role in regulating businesses across free trade areas.  The Toronto sessions will feature lectures by local law professors, public regulators, lawyers, judges, and corporate leaders.
The course will examine the history and dynamics of the law reform process in Chile.  We will explore the role that competing legal traditions (civil law tradition and common law tradition) have had on the reform process and in which areas of the law each legal tradition has dominated.  Moreover, we will reflect on the role that law plays in the quickly globalizing economy in which Chile and the rest of Latin America now finds iteslf as a result of the race towards a Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.  It will have a comparative approach and detail the differing processes that are being offered by European Governments (the German government in particular) and the United States government.  A series of guest lecturers in addition to instruction by Assistant Dean Cooper.  This course is designed to complement the students’ externship experience in Chile as part of Proyecto ACCESO.

Full course descriptions are available in PDF format on the J.D. Curriculum page.

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