The program aims at advancing students' understanding of economic law. The provided courses allow students to deepen their knowledge in legal areas such as company law and contact law as well as private international law. Particular issues are discussed in the context of German, European and international law.

 

Further, a couple of introductory classes offer an opportunity to make first steps in new areas of law. An introductory course on German Law is offered for students from abroad. The Program’s participants have also an opportunity to attend a German language course.

 

Additionally, the participants of the Summer Program are welcomed to attend the "Talks of Practitioners". Lawyers of international law firms, legal advisers of international firms and other experts focus on selected problems of international business law in their talks.

 

Flyer Augsburg Summer Program

Course descriptions

The lecture is on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The CISG is a sales law treaty with acceptance on a worldwide scale. Globalisation of markets demands international unification of the law of sales contracts. Disparities in national laws governing international trade create obstacles to the flow of trade. The CISG can provide legal certainty for contract parties and predictability of legal decisions.

The aim of this lecture is to acquaint the students with the CISG and learn how it regulates the international sale of goods between parties which have their place of business in different states.

The content of this lecture will be amongst others the scope of application of the Convention, the formation of the contract, the obligations of the seller and the buyer and consequences of breach of contract.

The European Union is a very active player at the international stage as e. g. the acronyms CETA and TTIP show. The course will explore the legal and political bases for the Union's external actions by addressing the relevant rules of the EU treaties. A special focus is given to the Union's neighborhood policy and its network of international treaties.

The course introduces two core areas of European Economic Law: Public Procurement and State Aid Law. Both subjects are not only of tremendous importance in economic and political terms, but also legally challenging.

Public Authorities within the European Union spend 2 Trillion Euros – amounting to 19 % of the GDP – on construction work, supplies and services. Public Procurement Law, the reform of which has just been completed on EU- and national level, governs the award of these contracts by setting up procedural and substantive rules for purchasing. It reacts to the particular role of the state as market actor (e.g. use of public funds or danger of protectionism) and serves different regulatory objectives, namely promoting competition, safeguarding rights and interests of economic operators, guaranteeing the economical and efficient use of public funds, fostering innovation, supporting common societal goals or preventing corruption and fraud. A first part of the class covers the essentials of Public Procurement law and addresses, for instance, the question if and to what extent contracting authorities may pursue public goals (e.g. requiring high environmental standards or employment of long-term unemployed) what, while politically justified, limits competition and raises costs.

In order not to distort competition within the Union’s internal market and to prevent certain companies from gaining unjustified advantages over competitors, EU law stipulates a general prohibition of State aids. A second part of the class explains the foundations of this field of law. Core questions include: What does constitute a State aid? Take, for instance, a national rule requiring electricity supply undertakings to purchase electricity from producers in the field of renewable sources at minimum prices or the case of selling a state-owned real estate company under the condition that the purchaser refrains, for a certain period, from rent increases and terminating existing rental agreements. Moreover, under which circumstances can exceptions to the general prohibition of State aids be justified? Consider, as an example, the recent economic crisis or the issue that the operation of services of general economic interest, like public transport or hospitals, often depends on state funding.

 

The course will give you an overview about the most important institutions, principles and the enforcement of European and WTO law. It will focus on the area of European Intellectual Property Law.

 

The first part of the lecture concerns the basics or foundations of European law, i.e. the history, the institutions, the fundamental principles, and the enforcement of EC Law.

 

Furthermore, the course examines the law of the common market. It covers the economic policy and the four basic freedoms, that is, the free movement of goods and for workers and the freedom of services and establishment. The law of harmonisation examines the advantages and disadvantages of legal harmonization. The enforcement of law shows how European Law can be enforced as a supranational source of law.

 

The second part examines the International Economic law, especially the WTO agreement. The lecture focuses on the institutions, principles of the GATT, and the Enforcement of the GATT. The lecture ends with an epilogue about Europe and the WTO in the 21st century.

 

Two-third of the time is held as a lecture. The rest of the time is used for discussing cases and analysing the line of arguments and arguing the cases (moot-court). Therefore, it is obligatory to read the cases completely in advance.

The implementation of some specific sectors of contract law in the framework of EU legislation has become an important issue for many subjects. In the most of cases the legislative body of the European community has followed the so called soft harmonization approach, by adopting directives on contractual matters.

 

One of the objectives of this course is to present an overall picture of contracts in European law, but it is also dedicated to enhancing critical analysis of some European contract law institutions, focusing in particular on the functioning of the common market. A special attention will be devoted to the European competition law and its interference with the law of contracts and the party autonomy in general. By the attendancy of the course, the students will receive professional training in this area of law, in accordance with the labor market.

 

This course is intended for the student to gain training and skills necessary to:

 

  • analyze the basic principles ruling contracts at European level
  • analyze the differences and compatibility of national contracts with European law of contracts
  • analyze the compatibility of single contractual clauses with antitrust law.

The first part deals with the characteristics shared by all types of intellectual property as well as with the distinctions, inter alia with their distinct subject-matter, namely inventions, literary and artistic works and associated products and names for good-will attaching to marketing symbols. The course focuses then on the U.S. law and its special characteristics, inter alia the first-to-invent system and on the European law, in particular with EC law, for example the directives regarding intellectual property issues. Moreover the last part of the course deals with international law, in particular with TRIPS, and questions of Technology Challenge and “Cultural Rights”. 

This course focuses on international business transactions from the perspective of the private sector. It emphasizes issues that are especially prevalent in the formation and enforcement of international contracts. It also considers the advantages and disadvantages of various forms of doing business internationally through agencies and distributorships, licensing agreements, franchising, joint ventures, and the establishment of branches or subsidiaries. The course explores the increased prominence of bilateral investment treaties in recent years as a means of resolving investment disputes.  The final part of the course examines the unique challenges of dispute resolution in the context of cross-border transactions.

This course includes a short summary of the French judicial organization. It discusses the French system of responsibility in torts and gives an introduction to French Company Law including the different types of companies, common and specific regulations and the liability of partners and managers. The course is held in French.

This course introduces the students to some basic structures of German law. The lectures include discussions about the German Constitution, the so called Grundgesetz, with focus on fundamental constitutional principles and the general functioning of the German legal system. The class´ primary focus will be on private law, especially the German Civil Code (BGB) and some other codes with economic relevance (Commercial Code, Law of Corporations, German Competition Law, etc.). Furthermore, the course includes an introduction to civil litigation in German courts.

In the last twenty years company law has been developed on a European level. This development has lead to many directives on harmonizing company law. Harmonization is necessary because legal systems in the member states are based on different points of view. In Europe, on the one hand, the one-tier-board system and, on the other hand, the two-tier-board system exists for a company's management. Furthermore, some member states require strong worker participation. Harmonization within the European Union has made rapid progress during the last few years. The major impulses for these recent changes were discussions about corporate governance and some leading cases by the European Court of Justice.

The course introduces students to the economic analysis of law. It explores what it means for the law to be efficient; the extent to which a quest for economic efficiency explains the development of the law (with a focus on property and torts due to the limited time); and the extent to which efficiency should affect the development of the law. The course includes a brief introduction to the tools of microeconomics and to the different 'schools' of economic thought.

This interdisciplinary seminar deals with issues ranging from the capital market law to legal methodology and legal comparison. It includes a written research paper as well as an oral presentation and a group discussion.

Many scholars are of the opinion that globalisation has exacerbated the weak bargaining position of employees vis-a-vis their employers. This view derived from the fact that multinational enterprises (MNEs) are not bound to geographical boundaries and may invest in, set up factories in and relocate to countries where the return on their investment is highest. MNEs may also outsource part of their production operations to foreign countries.

 

What will attract enterprises to invest in a country? Stable government, good infrastructure, the ease of setting up a business, low taxes and a stable tax regime are some of the factors. A cheap labour force could, depending on the type of labour needed, be attractive to certain MNEs. Low wages and inadequate social protection of workers or the weak enforcement of labour standards may play a role in attracting certain undertakings to these countries, which would most often be developing countries. This may even lead countries in desperate need of investment to lower their labour and social security standards.  The effect could be a “race to the bottom” with countries competing with each other for investment by MNEs who have become the real superpowers in the era of globalisation.

 

In this course we will look at ways to combat these consequences of globalisation by way of international standards, focussing on conventions of the International Labour Organisation and regional instruments. We will also analyse the interplay between international, regional and local labour standards. Instruments endeavouring to combat child labour will be discussed by way of example during one of the lectures to illustrate the successes and failures of international, regional and local regulation of labour standards. Atypical employment contracts have almost become the norm in an era of globalisation. Measures to protect this category of vulnerable employees will be dis cussed.

 

The protection of globalised employees, namely employees who work for MNEs and who are posted to work in other countries, will be one of our themes. There is wide uncertainty about which labour law system will be applicable to the contracts of these employees who regularly work over borders.

The rules of private international law, a body of law also known as conflict of laws, address legal problems that arise when a court has to decide a dispute that involves a cross-border element. Such an element may arise when the dispute has contacts with more than one sovereign state or with different states within a federation. In such disputes, the judge has to decide according to which law the case must be decided (local law, foreign law, uniform law?). Private international law deals with a variety of topics, such as contracts, marriage and divorce, jurisdiction, and recognition of foreign judgments. As a result of globalization, the prominence of private international law has steadily increased over the last years. Lawyers dealing with international transactions must therefore possess at least a basic knowledge of this area of law. The course “Private International Law” focuses on the question of the applicable law in contract, tort and divorce cases, whereas the issues of (adjudicatory) jurisdiction as well as recognition and enforcement of judgments are treated primarily in the course “Transnational Litigation”.

Students completing the course will acquire a working knowledge of the roll, purposes and operation of guarantees in large (often international) commercial contracts.

 

The main focus of the course, however, falls on attempts by principal debtors attempting to block payment of a guarantee and/or by guarantors attempting to evade payment of a guarantee - that is on the main issues that lead to litigation or arbitration in this field. It is, for example, well-established law in most jurisdictions that fraud by the beneficiary of an independent guarantee will provide a valid defence for the guarantor. Less clear, however, are questions such as whether an unconscionable demand for payment of a guarantee may also provide a defence for a guarantor (or the basis for the principal debtor to block payment of the guarantee), or whether the illegality of the principal debt may provide a defence to the guarantor. Moreover, a beneficiary wishing to avail itself of a guarantee needs to demand payment in accordance with the guarantee. Such a demand must conform with the terms of the guarantee. Disputes as to whether a particular demand is indeed conforming or not are often before the courts. Interesting and demanding case law on these and similar issues from England, Germany, South Africa, the United States of America, Singapore and Australia will be considered critically against the background also of the URDG and ISP98. In this respect the law of guarantees and letters of credit overlap largely - a further aspect that will be explored briefly.

 

Any obligation can be guaranteed. The guarantee can take the form of an accessory guarantee (suretyship) or of an independent guarantee (demand guarantee, performance bond, standby letter of credit). The latter is especially important and receives and forms the focal point of the course. Such guarantees can secure a performance other than the payment of money (for example the construction of a building) or can secure the performance of having to pay money. On this basis a distinction is sometimes drawn between performance guarantees and financial guarantees. The legal principles governing them, however, are very much the same.

Independent guarantees are common in large commercial contracts. They are often (but not necessarily) also governed by rules emanating from (or endorsed by) the International Chamber of Commerce namely the Uniform Rules of Demand Guarantees (URDG) or the International Standby Practice 1998 (ISP98). The historical development of these Rules and their main provisions will be considered.

The increasing number of international business transactions has led to an growing amount of transnational litigation. Parties to international transactions may sue or be sued abroad. Domestic judgments eventually must be enforced abroad and foreign judgments must be enforced in domestic courts. This course offers an introduction to the problems of transnational litigation. The course focuses on the issues of service of process, (adjudicatory) jurisdiction as well as recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Although the focus of the class is on the relevant provisions of EU law, namely the so-called Brussels I Regulation, students also learn to apply international conventions and domestic law (mainly German and U.S. law).

The course first deals with two main aspects of Antitrust Economics, namely with the Price Theory and with the Industrial Organization, as a basic knowledge of Antitrust Economics is necessary to understand Antitrust Law. After focusing on the much older U.S. Antitrust Law the course introduces into the European Antitrust Law. Additionally, recent developments of European Antitrust Law are discussed. There are also a number of case studies on important topics of U.S. and European Antitrust Law which give the opportunity to find differences and similarities between the two.

Performance Requirements

Please note that the attendance of courses is required (there are attendance lists), one absence per course is permitted. If there are more absences, no credits can be rewarded for the particular course.

 

Exams are offered for each course at the end of the Summer Program. Exams are either oral or written, depending on the different courses. Seminars include a written research paper and a presentation.

 

At the end of the program each participant will obtain a formal, detailed certificate confirming the successful completion of the University of Augsburg Summer Program.

Contact

Prof. Dr. Thomas M.J. Möllers
Fachdekan für Internationales
Juristische Fakultät
Christoph Salger M.Sc.
Ansprechpartner für den USA-Austausch und das Augsburger Summer Program
Juristische Fakultät

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