Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Law and Development: A Critical Introduction


Course Type and Course Organization

Lecture / intensive course over 4 entire days in December 

Course Language



6 (if exam has been passed)


The course will be held at irregular intervals. It will be available in the winter term 2014/15.

Time Schedule and Course Venue

An up-to-date electronic course catalogue will be available for the winter semester from late August to late February and for the summer semester from late February to mid August on the website http://www.fu-berlin.de/vv. Please select "Fachbereiche" - "Rechtswissenschaft" - "Staatsexamensstudiengang" and "Rechtswissenschaft" in order to access the Law courses.

Course Description

The law plays a significant role in International Development. A state's legal framework establishes its sovereignty and forms one of the prerequisites of its membership in the international economic and political systems. Moreover, it determines whether government establishes the rule of law or a rule by law, determining the quality and extent to which citizens can access a justice system and claim their rights. With many states in (what the international political system calls) the developing world emerging from long-standing, authoritarian rule by law, establishing justice systems that adhere to international rule of law standards has proved as one of the most difficult and contested endeavors of Development. The entirety of such processes is grouped into the discipline of Law and Development, which draws from interdisciplinary wisdom in law, political science, history, economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and cultural studies.

We will look at the relevant dimensions of Law and Development (L&D) from a critical perspective and examine both the underlying theoretical and historical facts as well as international practice. Topics we will cover include (order and contents subject to change):

  • Introduction: The Place of the Law in Economic, Social, and Human Development
  • A Historical Romp Through L&D: From Colonization to Development. Global Inequality and Poverty.
  • The International Legal Framework for L&D
  • Justice Reform I: Governance, State Building, Institution Building
  • Justice Reform II: United Nations, World Bank, Donors
  • Justice Reform III: The Rule of Law and Legal Pluralism. Western/Northern Superiority and Eastern/Southern Inferiority
  • Human Rights: The Question of Culture
  • TWAIL: Third World Approaches to International Law
  • Conflict and Post-Conflict States
  • Transitional Justice I: Courts and Truth Commissions
  • Transitional Justice II: The Question of Legitimization
  • Guest Lecture by a L&D Practitioner (subject to availability)
  • The Future of L&D: Innovative Approaches
  • Topic of Interest: TBD in Class

This will be a highly interactive class. Critical thinking depends on the probing of ideas and practices, and best emerges during an open dialogue. We will examine case studies and many "real world" examples from international practice.
A comprehensive reading list will be distributed. The majority of texts will be posted online as some may be hard to find in libraries. In order to get the most from what we discuss during class, it is highly recommended that students read the mandatory texts plus at least one of the supplementary texts.

Course Registration

Enrollment is limited to 25 participants. Please register with the course instructor (Ms. Susanne Skoruppa) via e-mail: skoruppas@gmail.com


Assessement will be 100% by essay/paper.

Registration for the Exam

Students have to register for the exam with the course instructor. They are not required to register formally at the Examination Office.