Católica Global School of Law
Phone: (+351) 217 426 9860
The Master of Transnational Law aims at rethinking law in a non-statist context and at a deeper understanding of the legal dimensions of the current globalization processes. In fact, for the past two hundred years, legal thought has been built on the association between law and State.
Students who attend law schools are educated within a statist framework, and accordingly devote nearly all of their intellectual energy to the study of the law of a particular jurisdiction, determined by the physical location of the academic institution that hosts them. Even a discipline as cosmopolitan and as alien to most undergraduate curricula as that of comparative law is based on the deep-seated assumption that the unit of analysis is the State legal system and that legal comparison consists in establishing the similarities and the differences in the structure, content and administration of law of these systems.
The Master of Transnational Law is based on the belief that there is much more to the law than what can be assimilated within the premises of the State jurisdiction. In many areas, law is becoming profoundly transnational. Four main forces conspire to bring about this increasing de-nationalization of legal phenomena:
The dramatic reduction in transportation and communication costs in the past three to four decades has increased the cross-border flows of goods, services, capital, information technology and people to unprecedented levels. Much of modern commercial and financial life has become transnational and this has a profound transnationalization effect on the applicable law, away from the statist systems. It is further promoted by the dispute resolution through international arbitration. Contemporary phenomena such as mass migration, international terrorism, environmental harm and the digital space are other products of the ongoing process of legal globalization, potentially leading to transnational minimum standards of behaviour.
With globalization the subjects of legal regulation become de-territorialized, often rendering State law impotent and obsolete. If not already superseded by transnational minimum standards, statist legal systems have been converging, either through legal transplants and treaties or through the more subtle influences of judicial cross-fertilization, the reception within the domestic system of soft law generated by transnational bodies.
While State law is increasingly permeated by extraneous influences, governments may sponsor further legal convergence through political integration. Supranational entities such as the European Union generate thousands of legal norms that apply across State jurisdictions. In entities like the European Union, the State has lost much of the monopoly of norm-creation addressed to its citizens, to the point that it might be appropriate to say that domestic law is but one system in a legal pluriverse.
Important at least in commerce and finance are the forces of immanent law formation through fundamental and general principles, customary practices and enhanced of party autonomy. In spite of its statist bias, in the European continent modern legal thought always retained some of the tradition of the jus commune, within which the law was conceived, taught and applied as locally variable but grounded in a common body of texts, principles and doctrines. For many hundreds of years, students from all over Europe would enrol in universities to learn a common law based on common sources written in a common language. This changed in the 19th Century, but the study of transnational law signals a return to the foundations of law in all of Western culture.
The Master of Transnational Law does not aim to provide tools for the practice of a particular legal profession. On the contrary, its purpose is to contribute to develop a cosmopolitan and modern legal culture and filling the shortcomings of by the statist profile of the traditional legal education in a globalized environment. At the same time, the programme may provide students with new methods of legal analysis, research, decision-making, and communication in line with the best transnational practices.
In this way, students will be able to confront the challenges of an increasingly internationalized professional world and progress to further specialized or doctoral studies, in Portugal or abroad.
ECTS and Duration
The MTL is based on the existing LLM programmes, requiring a minimum of ECTS in courses included in the current academic programme of the Master.
The first year of the programme is devoted to coursework comprising 60 ECTS. Students may choose from a large number of optional courses on offer, giving them freedom in designing their curriculum. It is required a minimum ECTS in courses included in the current academic programme of the Master:
60 ECTS from courses/ seminars offered in the LEGC, IBL and MTL, including at least 30 ECTS from the MTL Curriculum
The second phase is the drafting of a supervised dissertation, which may span one semester in the event of a shorter master’s dissertation (comprising 30 ECTS) or two semesters in the event of a more extensive research master’s dissertation (comprising 60 ECTS).