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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Roy L Prosterman
LAW B 578
Seattle Campus

Seminar on Legal Problems of Economic Development

Class description

In this seminar, students will: (1) become familiar with a broad range of international development topics and issues (including family planning, health, gender, land reform, water reform, labor, financial systems, foreign aid, foreign direct investment, international trade, and climate change) and the interrelationship between law and these issues or topics; (2) learn about the work experiences of attorneys working within at least one field of international development; and (3) become an “expert” in one self-selected topic of law and international development by researching and writing a major paper on that topic.

Student learning goals

Law Reform in LDCs and Legal Technical Assistance Questions: • Return again to the questions with respect to the “Role of Law in Development” asked in the first session. Consider, in addition, the following: • How important are institutions in the development process and how important is law as a tool to create and change institutions? • What are the possible and appropriate roles for foreign lawyers in reforming laws in developing countries? • What special skills might such foreign lawyers need? • What are the possible components of legal-system reform in a developing country?

General method of instruction

Readings: (Please review readings from Session 1 on the role of law and development) Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, March 2, 2005. Rebecca Roberts, Reflections on the Paris Declaration and Aid Effectiveness in Afghanistan, AFGHANISTAN RESEARCH AND EVALUATION UNIT (April 2009). John C. Dernbach, Sustainable Development as a Framework for National Governance, 49 CASE W. RES. 1, (excerpts)(1998). Jerome A. Cohen, Statement Before the First Public Session of the U.S. – China Security Review Commission, June 14, 2001. Rule of Law Index from World Justice Project (2009).

Suggested Reading: *Seidman & Seidman, Drafting Legislation for Development: Lessons from a Chinese Project, 44 AM. J. COMP. L. 1 (1996). *USAID, LEGAL EMPOWERMENT OF THE POOR: FROM CONCEPTS TO ASSESSMENT (March 2007)

Recommended preparation

Required Materials (because the instructors have grant resources supportive of their work, the following required materials will be distributed without charge): • Law B578 Course Materials (available from Claire O’Brien, Room 332) • 2007 World Population Data Sheet (available from Claire O’Brien, Room 332)

The following required volume will be available at the bookstore - $39.95: • Prosterman, Mitchell, Hanstad, eds., One Billion Rising: Law, Land, and the Alleviation of Global Poverty (available sometime in August 2009, Univ. of Chicago Press/ Leiden University Press)

Class assignments and grading

Evaluation and grading criteria for the papers include the following: • Topic should involve a significant development issue. • Paper should contain significant legal content. • Length of paper. This does not mean “the longer the better”, but papers of 30 or more pages (double-spaced with 1″ margins and single-spaced footnotes) are more likely to receive higher grades. • Organization. Does organization facilitate reader’s understanding of the topic and issues involved? Does reader have a sense of what author is trying to accomplish and how they will accomplish it at an early point in paper (table of contents’ roadmap paragraph; good introduction section)? Is the background information logically separated from the analysis? • Paper should be well-researched and well-documented. Number of footnotes and sources are an indication. Footnotes should be in blue-book citation form. • Thoughtful analysis and/or recommendations. Papers should be more than purely descriptive. We are looking for evidence of thoughtful analysis. This may include, and we would encourage if possible, recommendations from the author. • Please note from the syllabus that this is a three-stage process, with help from the instructor(s) along the way: (1) selection of topic; (2) submission of an advanced draft at the start of spring quarter, and individual review session with the instructor(s) a few weeks after that; and (3) submission of the final, revised version at the end of spring quarter.

Grades will be based on the major paper. There is no exam for this seminar. The seminar sessions listed on this syllabus will take place Fall Quarter. We will have seven scheduled seminar sessions for Fall Quarter. The sessions start at 3:30 and will end at approximately 6:00. At the first session, the instructors will hand out a list of possible paper topics; students may select from the list or choose their own topic related to law and development. All topics must be approved by the instructors. We will probably not meet as a group during Winter Quarter or Spring Quarter, which are set aside for students to work on their seminar papers. Students will be required to submit an advanced draft of their paper at the beginning of Spring Quarter. The instructors will carefully review the drafts and each student will schedule individual meetings with the instructors to discuss the draft. After this one thorough edit and discussion of each student’s paper, the students will revise their paper to its final version.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 04/01/2010