Course 2021-2022 a.y.


Department of Law

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 14
GIO (6 credits - I sem. - OB  |  IUS/14)
Course Director:

Classes: 14 (I sem.)

Mission & Content Summary


Due to economic globalization, operators must increasingly comply with decisions taken by the institutions of different states and the law promoted by international institutions. Within this complex scenario, economic actors must understand the common principles and rules governing the organization and the activity of national institutions vis-a-vis the rules promoted by prominent international organizations operating in the economic field. Course participants will therefore embark on a legal (and not only) journey around the world with a particular focus on the World Trade Organization and international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. To this end, during the first part of the course, students will have the chance to analyze the main international agreements aiming at reducing obstacles to trade in goods and services, the institutional architecture and competence of IFIs, and other international institutions such as the Council of Europe. The second part of the course will specifically deal with national institutions of various countries and their interaction with each other from a comparative perspective. After some introductory sessions dedicated to studying the governmental regimes and fundamental notions of administrative law, this part will focus on specific topics lying at a crossroads between public law and politics.


The course is organized into two parts. The course covers the following topics:


1. International Institutions Law Part: 

  • The protection of international business under international law
  • International trade from the GATT to the WTO: main features, institutional aspects and dispute settlement
  • GATT non-discrimination principles: MFN and NT
  • Trade in goods (GATT): market access
  • Exceptions from WTO free-trade rules: GATT Article XX and GATS Article XIV
  • Rules on the harmonization of national regulation (TBT and SPS Agreements) 
  • International financial institutions
  • The International Monetary Fund
  • The World Bank Group
  • The ICSID and the protection of foreign investments
  • Promotion of democracy and the rule of law: The Council of Europe


2. National Institutions Law Part:

  • Basics: Governmental regimes, types and relevance
  • Introduction: administrative state and the rise of the administrative state
  • National Institutions: notion, typologies, and functions in different countries
  • Controlling national institutions: judicial review, case-study on US Trade Administration
  • European Union administrative law, Introduction and institutions
  • The evolution of EU agencies
  • The future of national institutions: digitalization of public administration

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand international regulation of trade and investment relationships between countries and between countries and enterprises in the framework of the globalized world economy
  • Discuss the principles and the rules governing the World Trade Organization and its relevance 
  • Discuss the impact of international rules on national trade policies.
  • Understand the key functions and the organization of the main International Financial Institutions (IFIs)
  • Discuss the IFIs’ power about economic governance
  • Understand the key concepts of governmental regimes and their relevance for national institutions
  • Understand the nature of national institutions
  • Discuss the major consequences of the control of national institutions
  • Understand the interactions between public law and economics
  • Analyze the various regulatory strategies to resolve market failures
  • Gain a solid understanding of the main concepts of the EU administrative law
  • Read law materials and case law
  • Reading law materials and case law


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Examine a wide range of domestic measures and assess their conformity with international trade and investment rules
  • Examine the relation between WTO law and trade policies of different States.
  • Assess the recent 'trade wars' against international trade rules.
  • Read and understand international trade and investment treaties.
  • Examine the promotion of democracy and the rule of law by the Council of Europe
  • Discuss the influence of IFI upon national governments
  • Apply general administrative law principles to concrete situations
  • Examine the relations between the European Union and domestic administrative systems
  • Critical and analytical legal analysis and problem-solving 
  • Apply international principles to concrete situations 

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Online lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)


Students are provided with case studies to analyse and discuss. Live and online engagement with both ‘problem-style’ (i.e. practical) and ‘essay-style’ (i.e. reflective) questions.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  x x



  • The midterm written exam consists of three questions (to be chosen out of four).


  • The final written exam consists of six questions (to be chosen out of eight).



For both partial and general exams, assessment consists of a choice of open-answer questions of the 'essay-style variety, involving discursive description, explanation, illustration, analysis, discussion and evaluation of the relevant law. The essay style questions aim at testing students' critical and analytical legal analysis, as well as their understanding of the interactions between public law and economics; international regulation of trade, finance, and investment relationships between countries and between countries and enterprises; and the influence of the EU law on domestic administrative legal systems.

Teaching materials


International Institutions Law Part

P. Van den Bossche, D Prévost, Essentials of WTO Law, 2nd ed., (Cambridge University Press, 2021): only selected chapters.

Cases, materials and articles discussed in class and uploaded on the Bboard platform.



National Institutions Law Part

Cases, materials and articles discussed in class and uploaded on the Bboard platform.

Last change 25/08/2021 19:43