Globalization, Regionalization, and International Law

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Course Information
Political Science
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

Interest in the legal aspects of globalization and regionalization.



The students will be made familiar with the ongoing processes of globalization and regionalization as well as with its instruments, such as the UN, WTO, OPEC and the European Union. Concept and functions of international law are discussed in these processes. Special attention will be devoted to the role of foreign investments on the global level, including legal guarantees against so- called sovereign risks and legal remedies against interferences by the host States against foreign investors in the light of the recent case law. Visits to the Vienna headquarters of the UN and of OPEC are further didactic means to make the students aware of the legal, economic and political aspects of such processes.


Attendance policy: 

See IES Abroad Vienna handbook.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the contemporary processes of globalization and regionalization and to assess the role of international law therein; to
  • Understand day-to-day cases involving the UN, WTO and the European Union and to form their own opinion on such cases, thus widening their horizon on international affairs
Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures
  • Studies of hand-outs
  • Students’ presentations
  • Discussions
  • Field trips


Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Participation in class discussions and students’ presentations - 10%
  • Mid-term examination - 25%
  • Final examination - 25%
  • Class attendance - 10%
  • Term paper - 30%

1) Globalization and the Role of International Law

  • a) Definition and characteristics of globalization
  • b) The concept of international law and its function in the international community c) Reasons why States obey (or disobey) international law.
  • d) Sources of international law
  • e) Actors on the international scene
  • f) Transnational corporations and their impact on international economic relations g) Universal international organizations in general
  • h) The World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • i) Principles of foreign investment law
  • j) The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

2) Regionalization and the Role of International Law

  • a) Definition and characteristics of regionalization
  • b) Legal forms of economic regional integration: trade agreement, free trade area, customs union, common (internal) market and economic and monetary union
  • c) Regional international organizations: the European Union (history, functions, structure and legislative process)
  • d) The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC): history and present role in the oil and gas industry
  • e) Selected case studies
Required readings: 
  • Articles on individual organizations in: Rudolf Bernhardt (ed.) Encyclopedia of Public International Law, 4 vols. (Amsterdam 1996-2002)
  • hand-outs distributed in class
  • Derek Bowett, The Law of International Institutions (London, 5th ed. 2000 individual chapters tba.)
  • Peter Fischer, Free Trade Areas, Ibid, Vol. I, p. 250.