For the last two decades, what has been deemed the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ has been harnessing a meld of physical, digital and biologic worlds to bring nomenclature transcending inventions at an exponential rate. The institution of law, which develops generally post-factum, has already begun facing fundamental challenges to its traditional frameworks. Unforeseen markets on the basis of new technological capabilities are requiring major pivots from policy-makers and regulators alike. The sharing market, a global phenomenon, is still unstable in legal interpretation, causing significant differences in employment contracts and tax regimes across the globe. New scientific discoveries are allowing for tangible reproduction of biological material, blurring the lines of proprietorship related to organic matter. Cryptocurrencies are creating a new field of regulation altogether, leading to issues concerning their use in the form of smart-contracts and more generally transactions beyond the scope of state purview. The numerous methods of data collection among digital tools and platforms are giving rise to yet unseen privacy and data security challenges all powered by or using artificial intelligence and cloud computing.
These innovations are cause for major questions in derivative legal systems. More opportunities for distance work and digital transactions are complicating the divisions of liabilities between the parties, made even more difficult by their transnational nature. The speed and ease of transactions are necessitating new methods of filtering their content. While international regulatory responses to these challenges differ, more and more legal cooperation is necessary between nations to properly monitor and manage the growth and consequences of disruptive technologies. In return, states are choosing different strategies to respond. Some choose to nominate national courts to decide issues on the basis of current law, while other states take a bullish approach towards creating new legislation.
This course investigates disruptive technology from bother their technological backgrounds, as well as their legal consequences. It delves into the current changes and challenges faced by both regulators and subjects of laws, paying special attention to the difficulties faced by commercial enterprises in navigating the currently sporadic legal environment. Practices of different nations are investigated in the most salient disruptive technology fields, investigating and comparing contemporary trends to better understand the incoming legal shifts.
With the advent of digitalization and emerging technologies, more information has the capacity to stray beyond the sphere of control of its owners than ever before. The development has been closely followed by concerns over the privacy and data protection of information owners. This course comparatively and critically examines the legal aspects of privacy and data protection through the prisms of regulation, practice and academic scholarship.
Data protection and privacy stems from fundamental values enshrined in several international instruments, such as the European Convention on Human Rights or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These renditions have taken on a new facet of interpretation in the context of data-focused economies. The gamut of economic and social benefits must be balanced with short and long-term risks to individuals and organizations alike. In turn, the European Union states have agreed on several major regional norms, such as Directives 2002/58/EC and 2006/24/EC, as well as the General Data Protection Regulation coming into force May 2018 and Privacy Shield regulations on data transfers between the European Union and United States.
However, the issue of data protection and privacy becomes more complicated as it reaches the subsidiarity levels of structures closest to enforcing the norms. The borderless nature of the data domain denotes potentially transnational consequences for any decisions taken by state regulators. Together with various differences in interpretation and capacity, the current lack of privacy and data protection harmonisation among various states is a point of contention.
Concurrently, states are seeking the correct way to balance the interests of private parties, in spite of disparity in bargaining power. Within the European Union, all parties involved must comply with accountability principles and retain Data Protection Impact Assessments to various degrees before and after the creation of contractual relations. The same parties also hold responsibility for data breach notifications. Issues further delve into data interaction with the general public and individuals, via targeted advertising from private parties, or surveillance from the state.
This course delves into the aforementioned themes by tracing their development from inception to contemporaneity in doctrine and practice, critically appraising current paradigms in light of new technological praxis and discoveries.
- Teacher: Edina Harbinja
The course examines international standards and implementation and monitoring activities related to business and human rights. Special attention will be paid to the work of the UN Special Representative on business and human rights and the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and multinational corporations (MNC). In addition, it analyses issues of legal personality of MNCs under international law, judicial and quasi-judicial responses to liability of MNCs for human rights violations, and the human rights of companies.
Today environmental issues are a matter of topical debate as well as pivotal pillar of the EU policies for a sustainable growth. The course “Environmental Law and Policy” allows postgraduate students to gather a sound understanding of the law and policy issues related to this area. Environmental law is not a straightforward subject to either study or practice. There is much to think about in relation to how environmental problems are understood, and what solutions are offered to address them through legal frameworks, and how those frameworks apply to a particular environmental problem. The course will focus on the EU legal order established for the environmental protection, including Treaty principles, the adopted legislation and the EU court practice in the area environmental law. The course will survey the fundamentals of EU environmental law, as well as the most relevant legal measures that help to implement, enforce and apply it at EU-level and where relevant at national level for exemplifying. The course will pursue a balanced approach between discussions on theory and practice focusing on the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and national courts whenever relevant.
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of intellectual property law. Through the detailed study of recent cases and current events, we will explore the legal framework of intellectual property law; trademarks, design rights, patents and copyright; trade secrets, and practical aspects of IP protection and enforcement.
- Teacher: Ingrīda Kariņa Bērziņa
We start with the principles of Markowitz theory, i.e. discuss the benefits and limitations of financial risk diversification and prepare the ground for the Value-at-Risk concept which is introduced in the second part of the course.
Using the no arbitrage argument, the complexity of financial
markets will be explained, followed by technical means to insure against a
“bad” development of the currency exchange rate. The first part of the lecture
closes with the theory of comparative cost advantages and some conclusions
which can be derived for Latvia.
We continue to analyse the risk exposure in the Global and
European financial markets, followed by the description of the complexity of
risk management in the financial industry. We follow the historic development
of the Basel-Regime and drill down risk management techniques to the 4 sectors
of the financial industry: banking, insurance, asset management and real
- Teacher: Dirk Linowski
Arbitration is an effective mechanism for resolving international commercial and investment disputes providing a final and binding determination and global recognition and enforcement of the arbitral awards. The course aims to provide students with a basic introduction to key topics in international commercial arbitration. The emphasis of the course will be on arbitration of international commercial disputes, but some insight will be also given in the international investment arbitration system. Students will become acquainted with some of the strategic problems that arise in the course of international arbitration proceedings and gain an understanding of both the benefits and drawbacks of arbitration as a mechanism for resolving transnational commercial disputes.
The course will offer a perspective of an insider and a practitioner on how individuals defend their rights in the European Court of Human Rights, the most common difficulties for representatives in bringing claims to the Court and the challenges faced by the Court today in Europe. The course will provide several practical ideas on how the Court works. The European Court of Human Rights is considered the most effective mechanism for the protection of human rights. The course will put an emphasis on explaining in detail the procedure before the Court. Considerable body of case-law elaborates important issues concerning admissibility of claims. During the course, participants will also study the methodology of the Court in adjudicating cases, i.e., the rules of interpretation and the relevant principles of case-law. Participants have to understand how the Court might go forward in adjudicating their case.
Notwithstanding long-term efforts of the EU to harmonise the company laws across Europe, many aspects of company law in Europe are left to the realms of domestic legislation. Nevertheless, the EU has an important role steadily harmonizing certain areas of company law, creating pan-European corporate forms and developing mechanisms of corporate mobility. As a result, currently, company law in Europe is a mixed area of law regulated by both domestic and EU sources.
The course introduces students to the key company law systems used in Europe and discusses how these systems are regulated or reflected in EU law. The course covers the establishment, transfer, and dissolution of companies, as well as the rights and obligations of its key players and stakeholders, including the board of directors, management, shareholders and employees. Special attention is given to the role of free movement on the internal market on the corporate law regime in Europe.
- Teacher: Aleksandrs Fillers
The aim of the course is to initiate students to the EU political system by introducing its institutions, governance, legislative processes as well as formal and informal decision-making procedures. The Lisbon Treaty offers a consolidated legal basis for a more effective decision-making. It has affected almost all policy fields in terms of competence distribution, power of the European Parliament and role of the European Commission. Member states still play a significant role in the legislative process that will be analysed step by step in the lectures and seminars. In order to distinguish differences of institutional power across different policy fields, students will prepare the course papers, reflecting the inter-institutional balance in different policy fields.
Member States are represented in the EU by national delegations that negotiate on behalf of their governments. Similarly, EU institutions empower groups of individuals to negotiate on their behalf. Accordingly, understanding bargaining situations is essential for acquiring a comprehensive understanding of the EU’s modus operandi. This course therefore includes a practical exercise of negotiations in the EU Council, i.e. negotiation simulation. The negotiation simulation is embedded in a real-life negotiation scenario on a Council document. It will allow students to better understand the functioning of the EU institutions.
Finally, the course addresses the issues of deepening of the EU through looking at different integration theories. In the proactive exchange with the audience the professors will introduce various scenarios for future development of the EU. Brexit issues will be analysed as a part of this discussion.