Tackling Climate Change Through Law

Response measures event1Professor Stephen Minas, a scholar of climate change governance, technology transfer and transnational legal structures, played an important role at the November 6-17 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.  The Conference was the 23rd meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The annual COP meeting is the key venue for the international community to set the course of activity under the Climate Convention and the 2016 Paris Agreement.

Professor Minas co-organized a panel discussion on “Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy,” which was co-hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the Foundation Jean Jaurès, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the Transnational Law Institute (TLI) of King’s College London. The panel discussed practical options for addressing climate justice in a fair, progressive and socially equitable manner.  Professor Minas spoke about the social dimensions of the EU’s Energy Union framework.

Other speakers on the panel included the President of the EESC, Georges Dassis; Cillian Lohan, EESC Rapporteur on Climate Justice; Agnès Michelot of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council; Anne-Beth Skrede, Adviser on Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development with the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions; Mart Raamat, representing the Estonian presidency of the EU; and Emily Hickson, Manager, Net Zero by 2050 at the B-Team, who discussed the business community’s engagement with unions and civil society in scaling up climate action.

Professor Minas also moderated a panel discussion on “A Just Transition, Economic Diversification and the Forum on Response Measures to Climate Change.” Speakers included William Kojo Agyemang-Bonsu, Manager, Mitigation and Transparency Support, UN Climate Secretariat; Peter Govindasamy, member of the Singapore delegation and member of the ad hoc Technical Expert Group; Steven Turnbull from the delegation of Australia; Nick Mabey, Chief Executive and a founding director of E3G; and Annabella Rosemberg, Policy Officer at the International Trade Union Confederation.

Later in the Conference, Professor Minas participated in the side event of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism, which works on climate technology development and transfer. The Technology Executive Committee (TEC) is the policy arm of the mechanism, providing reporting and recommendations on key technological developments; the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) is the implementation arm, responding to technical assistance requests from developing countries. Professor Minas is a member of the TEC’s task forces on mitigation and climate technology financing. As part of the panel discussion, he presented on the TEC’s engagement with the research community and other non-party stakeholders.

Professor Minas also participated in a panel discussion as part of Law Day, hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN is an environmental network encompassing both government and civil society organisations. He is a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law and its Specialist Group on Climate Change. The panel discussion focused on opportunities for the Specialist Group to contribute legal advice and research to assist in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and related climate change instruments.

On November 8, the Law and Climate Change Toolkit was launched. The Toolkit is an online platform designed to assist countries in implementing the Paris Agreement through domestic legislation. The Toolkit is a collaboration of the UNFCCC Secretariat, the UN Environment, and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Professor Minas has been working with the project team to develop the Toolkit.

Further information about the UN Climate Change Conference 2017 is available here.

STL Graduate Among Forbes China “Top 30 Under 30”

董少灵Dong Shaoling, a 2016 graduate of Peking University School of Transnational Law, has been named to the Forbes China “Top 30 Under 30” in Media, Marketing and Advertising for 2017.   The ranking is part of Forbes China’s listing of “300 Top Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Leaders Under Age 30.” (Click here for the ranking.)

Dong Shaoling is the CEO of Shenzhen ZhongbeiMingyi Tech Co., Ltd, which provides innovative IT services and solutions.  One of its most popular products, RabbitPre, an HTML5 online tool and application generator, already has more than eight million registered corporate users, including Alibaba and China Mobile.

Click here for an interview (in Chinese) with Dong Shaoling about his reasons for choosing to study law at Peking University School of Transnational Law and about his successful business.

Peking University Celebrates Opening of STL Building

IMG_4592_meitu_9Peking University School of Transnational Law celebrated the opening of its new “STL Building” with a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, March 20, 2017.  The event marked a major milestone for the STL community and introduced a new landmark on Peking University’s Shenzhen Graduate Campus (PKUSZ).

The 8,900 square meter STL Building was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), one of the world’s premier architectural firms, in cooperation with Shenzhen-based Huasen Architectural & Engineering Consultants Ltd.

Participants in the STL Building dedication ceremony included Professor Wu Yundong, Chancellor of PKUSZ, Philip McConnaughay, Dean of STL and Vice Chancellor of PKUSZ, Jeffrey Lehman, Founding Dean of STL and current Vice Chancellor of New York University’s Shanghai campus, and Jill Lerner, managing principal at (KPF).  The ceremony was held in the main atrium of the STL Building and was attended by hundreds of STL students, faculty, and alumni, as well as scores of PKUSZ leaders, government officials, architects and contractors, community members and other distinguished guests.

In his welcome remarks, Dean McConnaughay observed that STL’s success was a combined effort of so many of the people present.  “It is wonderful to see so many STL graduates, students and friends and former and present STL colleagues here today – so many people who have had so much to do with the establishment and success of STL,” said Dean McConnaughay.  “It was clear from the outset that STL would require a building that gives expression to the importance and forward-looking character of our law school, while providing an environment in which we all can comfortably study, learn and interact,” he said.

Dean Lehman praised the commitment of Peking University and the City of Shenzhen to work together to envision a new kind of architectural home for STL’s pioneering style of legal education. “This is a building that, just like the law, looks completely different, depending on the perspective with which you approach it.  It integrates many different architectural cultures into an original, creative new style.  This style speaks to our shared future – our need to harmonize differences as we transcend boundaries,” said Lehman.

“The new building realizes our vision to successfully combine formal education with informal learning,” said Jill Lerner of KPF.  “The building satisfies STL’s unique teaching and learning demands, where faculty and students engage not just in the classroom, but also in the hallways and common areas,” she said.

“In this new building, STL will make even greater strides on the path of success,” said Chancellor Wu, who mentioned several of STL’s groundbreaking achievements as evidence of the bright future STL enjoys.

The STL Building was completed in January 2017.  Classes in the building commenced at the start of the spring semester on February 20, 2017.

Located immediately between the beautifully restored Dashahe River Parkway and the PKUSZ campus central plaza, the STL Building serves as the gateway for the PKUSZ campus.  The centerpiece of the new building is a grand tiered atrium with spectacular outward views of the landscaped pathway running the length of the Dashahe River.  Additional building features include one 100-person classroom that can be converted into a high-tech moot courtroom; three additional 100-person classrooms; an on-site law library equipped with the latest in digital research platforms; four 60-person classrooms; four 20-person classrooms; several intimate seminar rooms; legal clinic and student organizations suites; outdoor terraces and reading gardens; highly functional faculty and administrative offices; and abundant student study space.  The building represents a place for intellectual discourse, friendships forged and memories made.

“STL is a school that trains legal minds, shapes personalities, and ultimately cultivates future leaders,” said 3L student Li Yidan.  “The new building is a great home for STL.  The open spaces encourage interactive learning and the abundant sunlight brings life to the black letter law.”

 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Teaches at STL

IMG_2995United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito spent a full week in residence at Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) this past week teaching a seminar on the U.S. Supreme Court to STL students and offering an extended and candid Q&A session for the entire STL community.  Justice Alito was accompanied by Georgetown University Law Center Visiting Professor John Baker.

STL Dean Philip McConnaughay said, “Justice Alito’s visit provided an extraordinary opportunity for STL students to spend extensive in-person time every day for an entire week with a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  The seminar focused on the recent case of RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community [579 U.S. ___ (2016)], with STL students ultimately preparing and presenting moot oral arguments to Justice Alito, just as if they were appearing before the Supreme Court.  The week was extraordinary and we are deeply grateful to Justice Alito for providing STL students with such a historic opportunity.”

3L student Li Yidan said of her seminar experience, “To be able to spend five days with Justice Alito and Professor Baker is something beyond imagination.  None of us would have expected to have this opportunity; but STL made it happen and it is the most honorable and exciting moment of my life…. The 5 minutes before Justice Alito speaking as an appellate attorney before the Supreme Court cast a spell on me.  I gave a roadmap, carefully unfolded my first argument, watched every look on his face to adjust every sentence I said, and neatly answered the first question he asked.  The 5-minute argument brought together everything STL has been teaching me — the analytical reasoning skills I develop in rounds and rounds of Socratic questioning, the English language skills I acquire in legal writing classes, and the argumentative skills I learn in participating in moot court competition.”

3L seminar student Zhu Liusheng said, “It was an amazing experience to argue before Justice Alito.  I have listened to many Supreme Court oral arguments on audio, but this was the first time to have one of the Justices in front of me asking me questions.  There was a moment that I even felt like I was in the U.S. Supreme Court!  Justice Alito asked me very probing questions that went to the core of the legal issues, which opened a window for me to see how Justice Alito thinks. I am truly grateful for this wonderful educational opportunity.”

1L student Hu Yue asked Justice Alito a question during the community-wide Q&A. She said of her experience, “It was my great honor and a once in a lifetime opportunity to listen to and even talk to Justice Alito in person. For me it is an extremely unique experience to ask Justice Alito a question and have Justice Alito kindly reply to me with patience, which is a great inspiration for my law studying and career planning.”

2L student Qin Shijie said, “I was extremely excited to be picked out of the large, enthusiastic crowd and become the first one on such an extraordinary occasion to raise questions to Justice Alito. As he responded to me in such a thoughtful and gracious manner, with almost every word he articulated carved in my mind, I couldn’t help recalling the past year of burying myself in the casebooks, where I was frequently intrigued by the complexity and beauty of those novel legal questions.  And now, a real Justice is standing in front of me, and speaking to me.”

4L seminar student Yu Yadian said, “Before law school, when I had almost zero knowledge about the Supreme Court of the United States, and just started to read The Nine, if someone had told me that one day I would argue a case in front of Justice Alito, and be grilled by his hard questions, I would definitely think that person is crazy. This experience will constantly remind me of how privileged I am as a law student, and reassure me in my future career — I argued my first Supreme Court case while I was still in law school, nothing should ever terrify me!”

4L seminar student Pei Yiliang said, “Everyone in the seminar was impressed by the humility and candidness of Justice Alito. Our discussions spanned a wide variety of topics and the experience has forged a bond between us.”

Justice Alito also met during his visit with former Vice President of Peking University and current Vice Chair of the Peking University Council, Professor Hai Wen, with Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School Chancellor, Professor Wu Yundong, and with members of STL’s faculty.

2016 marks Justice Alito’s 10th year on the United States Supreme Court.  He took his seat January 31, 2006, following his nomination by United States President George W. Bush and confirmation by the United States Senate. Justice Alito served previously as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, as the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and as an official of the United States Department of Justice.

STL Participates in Global Conference on Legal Education

26906028_1681489311895065_1336624783_oSTL Dean Philip McConnaughay was one of four distinguished panelists at a Chulalongkorn University conference on “Rethinking Legal Education from Global Perspectives,” January 8-9 in Bangkok. The other panelists were David Kennedy, the Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School; Hon. Surakiart Sathiratai, Thailand’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs and a former dean of Chulalongkorn Faculty of Law; and Vitit Muntarbhorn, former United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and Gender Equality and Professor Emeritus at Chulalongkorn Faculty of Law.

The program was introduced by Bundhit Eua-Arporn, President of Chulalongkorn University.  Professor Pareena Srivanit, the first female dean of Chulalongkorn Faculty of Law, offered welcome remarks and noted, “We are very impressed by the innovative approaches to legal education utilized by Peking University School of Transnational Law and greatly appreciate [STL’s] contribution to legal education reform in China and Asia.”

As part of Dean McConnaughay’s visit, the Chulalongkorn law faculty expressed great interest in ongoing collaboration and exchange with STL.

STL Welcomes Delegation from CUPL

On January 12, STL welcomed a delegation from the Faculty of International Law of China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL).  The CUPL delegation was led by Dean KONG Qingjiang and Party Secretary and Vice Dean GU Yongqiang and included several faculty and administrators from CUPL.  The delegation visited STL in order to learn more about STL’s unique approach to transnational and Chinese legal education and to discuss possible collaboration opportunities between CUPL and STL.

STL Announces Belt and Road Scholarship for LL.M. Students

Belt and Road Scholarship for LL.M. Studies

Peking University School of Transnational Law – Shenzhen, China 2018

China has launched its signature “Belt and Road Initiative” to drive economic cooperation, facilitate trade, and develop infrastructure throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe. The projects made possible through the Initiative bring together different cultures, languages and legal contexts. The smooth implementation of exchange among parties from Belt and Road countries, as well as the resolution of any commercial disputes that may arise, will require highly adaptable lawyers familiar with the blending of legal systems and traditions increasingly characteristic of the global economy.

Recognizing this, Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) is proud to announce the Belt and Road Scholarship for its LL.M. program. This merit-based opportunity for applicants from countries associated with the Belt and Road Initiative will help contribute to a legal profession equipped to navigate this unique set of challenges and beyond.

Scholarship Description:

  • Application Deadline: The application deadline for the Belt and Road Scholarship is March 31, 2018. Qualified candidates will be invited to interview.
  • Scholarship Award: The Belt and Road Scholarship covers twenty five (25) percent of STL’s full program tuition.
  • Entrance Requirements: Applicants must meet the following admission criteria:
  1. Be a national citizen of one of the countries in the Belt and Road action plan or any other country associated with the Initiative;
  2. Law background or training: Law degree (J.D., J.M., or LL.B.), or licensed to practice law in home country, or masters-level degree in a related area with significant law background;
  3. English proficiency as demonstrated by: native speaker, completion of a program taught entirely in English, or test scores: a minimum score of 92 in TOEFL IBT or 6.5 in IELTS with 7.0 in IELTS writing; and
  4. Timely completion of STL’s online application and submission of all required supporting materials.

Applicants who satisfy the eligibility requirements automatically will be considered for the Scholarship. Please refer to STL’s LL.M. application web page for more details.

Professor Shilon Interviewed in Financial Times Publication about CEO Stock Ownership Policies

Professor Nitzan Shilon’s research on CEO stock ownership policies was cited in High-Multiple Stock Requirements Rise, an article featured in the December 4, 2017 issue of Agenda, a Financial Times publication devoted to issues concerning corporate directors and boardrooms.  The article reports on a rise in CEO stock ownership polices among S&P 500 companies, including increases in the median stock-ownership requirement.  Pros and cons of these trends were discussed in the article, which drew on Professor Shilon’s research in CEO Stock Ownership Policies Rhetoric and Reality, in which he questions the efficacy and transparency of most stock ownership policies.

Following is an excerpt from High-Multiple Stock Requirements Rise:

Indeed, recent academic research has also called these policies into question. Nitzan Shilon, professor at Peking University School of Transnational Law, authored a 2015 paper in the Indiana Law Journal that discussed several concerns.

One of the big ones is accountability, he says. Practically none of the policies describe the consequences of a CEO’s dipping below the stock-ownership threshold. Many of the plans allow CEOs to count unvested stock toward stock-ownership minimums, and very few adopt meaningful stock-retention policies, he says. And most of the grace periods — the years during which CEOs are able to amass stock to meet the threshold after being hired for the job — are not much shorter than the average tenure for a CEO. A five-year grace period does not mean much for a CEO whose tenure will most likely not last more than nine years, the average tenure for a departing S&P 500 CEO in 2016, according to The Conference Board.

According to Shilon’s research, two thirds of Fortune 250 policies would allow CEOs to unload all of their stock without facing consequences. The other problem, he says, is that this ineffectiveness is camouflaged.

“With stock-ownership policies, the firm explicitly states that those polices help to achieve certain goals, such as alignment with shareholders, curb of excessive risk taking, that they should work against short-term policies. They hold the policies to have very important goals, but at the same time, most of them basically hold policies that do not have any bite,” Shilon says, in an interview with Agenda.

“They’re paper tigers in reality, but they’re held to attain very important goals.”

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Peking University School of Transnational Law

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Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School,
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