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Summer Institute for International Law

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About the Institute

The Summer Institute for International Law is a four-week online academic program in international and comparative law.  The curriculum emphasizes the study of international law and institutions, as well as U.S. and other legal systems in a comparative context.  Cornell Law School offers one of the country’s oldest and most distinguished programs in international and comparative legal education.  This program is built on the excellence and reputation of Cornell Faculty in International Law.  

Sign up for our Info Sessions to Learn More:

March 10th at Noon (EST): Sign Up

April 7th at Noon (EST): Sign Up


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Program Format

The program is online broken down in to two terms with four 1-credit courses per term. Individuals may register for 2, 4, or 6 credits out of the 8 offered.


June 28-June 30

All participants required to attend
Times coming soon

Term 1 Courses:

July 1-16 (no classes July 3-5)  Study Day: July 14 (no class)  Exam: 15 &16

Comparative Corporate Governance (1 Credit)       9:00am to 10:30am
Migration and Global Governance (1 Credit)      10:45am to 12:15pm
Comparative Legal Studies (1 Credit)       1:15pm to 2:45pm
Comparative Constitutional Law (1 Credit)      3:00pm to 4:30pm

Term 2 Courses:

July 19-31  Study Day: July 29 (no class)  Exams: July 30 & 31

Comparative EU and American Administrative Law (1 Credit)       9:00am to 10:30am
Transnational Litigation in US Courts (1 Credit)      10:45am to 12:15pm
International Human Rights in Theory and Practice (1 Credit)       1:15pm to 2:45pm
Free Speech in Comparative Perspective (1Credit)      3:00pm to 4:30pm


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Course Descriptions:

Migration and Global Governance (1 Credit)

Cornell Professor: Beth Lyon

People were on the move long before there were national borders, but to this day the nation-state has failed to manage migration effectively, with disastrous consequences for migrants and for the rule of law. Intergovernmental institutions struggle to compensate for this governance gap, leaving migration as one of the major areas of international law still in active formation. This course examines longstanding refugee protection standards, more recent migrant worker and anti-trafficking norms, and emerging regimes such as the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Case studies will include pandemic migration, regulation of xenophobic speech, and child detention.

Comparative Constitutional Law (1 Credit)

Cornell Professor: Brian Richardson

This course will survey constitutional law in comparative perspective, with particular attention to an introduction to the constitutionalism of the United States. Topics will vary from year to year but may include federalism, separation of powers, rights, and judicial review.

Comparative Corporate Governance (1 Credit)

Cornell Professor: Charles K. Whitehead

Corporate governance has time and again been the subject of extensive scrutiny. This course will focus on corporate governance, control, and accountability, in particular in two contexts—corporate acquisitions (hostile and friendly) and capital structure.  The problems faced by businesses around the globe are much the same; but the solutions developed in different legal systems can be different.  This course will focus principally on the U.S. approach to these solutions, but in the process, students should expect to touch on some of the other solutions to these problems. Topics to be covered include basic fiduciary obligations, shareholder voting rights, the impact of capital structure on corporate governance, and corporate control transactions. 

International Human Rights in Theory and Practice (1 Credit)

Cornell Professor: Elizabeth Anker

When and how did human rights become the “lingua franca” of global moral thought? This course examines both historical debates about human rights and the international institutions that create and enforce human rights standards. Our readings will include influential cases concerning economic rights, transitional justice, women’s rights and multiculturalism, religious freedom, immigration, and humanitarian or peace-keeping campaigns.

Transnational Litigation in US Courts (1 Credit)

Cornell Professor: Maggie Gardner

This course will introduce students to the challenges raised by transnational disputes litigated in domestic courts. When parties to a dispute reside in different countries, their disputes may implicate multiple legal systems and the laws of multiple countries. This course will study how (and how well) judges navigate that complexity. The focus will be on U.S. courts, with comparisons to European courts and arbitration; the difference between common law and civil law jurisdictions will be a recurrent theme. Topics will include parallel litigation, forum non conveniens, forum selection clauses, choice of law, judicial assistance treaties, the enforcement of judgments, and the growing competition among domestic authorities to draw transnational disputes. Who should decide which state should hear which dispute? Are these difficulties best resolved by domestic law attuned to foreign relations, or by international treaties? By the end of the course, students will understand recurring jurisdictional problems; appreciate the toolbox of devices available to national judges to manage transnational cases, as well as the trade-offs between them; be familiar with major international treaties; and be conversant in significant current developments in the field.

Comparative EU and American Administrative Law (1 Credit)

Cornell Professor: Jed Stiglitz

Those favoring Brexit often used the specter of the "unelected bureaucrats" in Brussels to rally support for their cause. The bureaucracy has many critics in the United States, too. Have we in fact resigned to being governed by faceless bureaucrats? If not, how do we reconcile our democratic commitments to the power bureaucrats evidently hold? Administrative law --- the law that governs how bureaucracies interpret their authorities and issue rules and orders --- contains our responses to these questions. This course will introduce students to the comparative study of EU and American administrative law. We will examine how the two systems approach common questions involving transparency, accountability, public participation, interest group capture, and judicial review.

Free Speech in Comparative Perspective (1Credit)

Cornell Professor: Nelson Tebbe

This course will survey freedoms of speech and religion in comparative perspective, with particular attention to the United States and Europe. Topics will vary from year to year but may include incitement to criminal activity, hate speech and its regulation, blasphemy laws, freedom of expression on the internet, conflicts between religious freedom and equality laws, and government support of religious organizations. 

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The Summer Institute welcomes a select group of students from ABA-accredited law schools, foreign institutions, academics, and other professionals.

The Summer Institute is open to:

• JD Students and Non-U.S. Law Students who have completed at least one year of law studies and are in good standing.

• Students preparing to study for an LL.M. degree in the United States

• Graduate students in good academic standing, who demonstrate interest in the law.

• Attorneys who have been licensed or admitted by the appropriate professional entity in their respective home countries.

• Academics, practitioners, and other professionals seeking knowledge of American, international, and comparative law are welcome to apply for the program.

Persons for whom English is not their native language must provide a description of their English-language proficiency.

Enrollment is limited and early application is strongly encouraged. Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis, beginning in March, until enrollment is full. Applications will continue to be accepted as long as space remains available. A notice will be posted on the application page when the program is full.  Applications will not be considered for admission until the file is complete (see application for details).

Application Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis beginning January 19th and will continue to be accepted until the program is full.  Application deadlines are as follows for full consideration:

March 15th 2021: Early Decision Discount of 10%
April 15th 2021
May 15th 2021


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Cost to Attend

A student may register for packages of 2, 4 or 6 credits.
Students that register for packages of 4 or 6 credits will be eligible for certification of completion of the institute.

Application Fee (non-refundable):                                       $150

Tuition for 2 Courses:                                                              $1800

Tuition for 4 Courses:                                                              $3600

Tuition for 6 Courses:                                                              $5400

10% Discount for Individuals Applying by March 15th with full payment made by April 1st, 2021

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Financial Aid

Cornell Students:

Our financial aid office will work with you to secure loans.  The process is relatively simple but please allow at least four weeks, in advance of the tuition due date for loan processing.

The Cornell Law School Financial Aid Office
115 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

Non-Cornell Students:

Eligible students at other U.S. law schools should apply for loans through their home schools.  Please contact the International Programs office should you need documentation to provide to your home institution.  Contact us at:


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