LLAW6260 & JDOC6260

0General Course Information

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6260 / JDOC6260
Course name: Law of State Immunity and Sovereign Debt
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: Second
Prerequisites: Competence in the common law of contract or a civilian law of obligations; and LLAW6055 Law of International Finance 1
Credit point value: 9 credit
Cap on student numbers: 30

1.2 Course description

This is a topical course which is a capstone for full–time LLM(CFL) students, and will also be of interest to JD, MCL and LLM(CR) candidates concerned with developing topics in private and public international law. It deals with recent conflicts arising between state immunity or foreign acts of state, customary international law, and the private law of contract, especially in cases of distressed foreign currency sovereign debt.

SISD will address the results of two modern developments, the widespread adoption of the doctrine of restricted sovereign immunity in the engagement of states with commercial actors; second, a long–term transition in foreign currency borrowing by central governments from being evidenced by inter–state treaties to private law contracts. The results include private litigation involving state debtors, and renewed discussion of the scope of state immunity.

These changes have contributed to increasing conflicts between official interests and diffuse creditor groups in cases involving delinquent or distressed debt; by protracted creditor litigation, for example involving Argentina, Greece, Ukraine and Venezuela; an erosion of engagement among previously–cooperative commercial creditors; and a lack of international consensus in dealing with the odious debts of impoverished states in political flux.

The course will examine all aspects of these issues, in a seminar setting with a high–degree of class participation through weekly discussions of specific course topics, supported by guided readings and issues introduced each week by class members.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Paul Lejot plejot@hku.hk CCT 304 Tue-Fri 1500-1800 by appointment

Learning Outcomes

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Understand critical and conflicting issues of current commercial practice and international law.

CLO 2 Understand and critically assess an example of stress between the expectations of public policy with regard to economically weakened states, and how public international law is challenged by the use of private law to govern sovereign borrowing.

CLO 3 Apply insights from the course to questions arising in commercial and advisory practices, including contract drafting and multicreditor negotiations.

CLO 4 Understand and interpret the value of accepted rules of bankruptcy or restructuring in complex cross order workouts.

CLO 5 Critically evaluate aspects of financial sector innovation.

2.2 LLM and JD Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Please refer to the following link:

LLM – https://course.law.hku.hk/llm-plo/

JD – https://course.law.hku.hk/jd-plo/

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course



3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Coursework and class participation TBC 40% 2, 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Take home research paper TBC 60% 1, 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: https://www.law.hku.hk/_files/law_programme_grade_descriptors.pdf

Learning Activities

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

Learning Resources

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Posted regularly at Moodle during the course
Core reading list:
  1. Paul Lejot, “Sovereign Debt”, International Law, Oxford Bibliographies (2017), DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199796953-0155 (2017).
  2. Hazel Fox & Philippa Webb, “The Law of State Immunity”, 3e, Oxford, 2015.
  3. James Crawford, Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law, 9e, Oxford, 2019.
Recommended reading list: Further source material will be posted at Moodle

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/