Global law, justice and democracy (ex Models of justice and human rights)

Basic Information

Course modules 2023/2024
Josep Lluis Martí
Jahel Queralt
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Module 1. Practical Philosophy


Mondays: 14:30-16:30 or 16:30-18:30 (two groups); Tuesdays, 18:30-20:30
room TBA, UPF (Campus Ciutadella)


This course offers a multidisciplinary introduction to the main challenges that law, justice and democracy face in a globalized world. In this sense, this is a course on global politics as well as on global law. It combines the perspectives of political philosophy, legal philosophy, constitutional theory, international relations, and international law theory. But its main approach is theoretical and philosophical.

It starts studying the current global trends and transformations, such as globalization and the digital revolution, and the way they affect our traditional understanding of state’s sovereignty and the international order.

It continues with an introduction to four contemporary theories of justice – utilitarianism, egalitarianism, libertarianism  and  republicanism,  exploring  hothey could be extended to the global sphere. And it also engages in the existing debate for and against global justice.

The course shifts then to the legitimacy of international institutions and to the different models of global order. And it ends with a discussion of the new paradigms of global law and global constitutionalism.

Learning outcomes

Skills: Throughout the course, students are expected to acquire advanced specific knowledge about global law, international justice, democracy, the legitimacy of the international order, and global law and global constitutionalism. They are expected also to develop their critical skills to analyze the present political and legal international situation and identify instances of injustice or illegitimacy. They are also expected to become familiar with the sources of international legal scholarship and international political thought.


Methodology: This course has an intense reading load. Students will be expected to read the assigned texts before each class period. The instructor will start the class with a presentation, but only with the aim of generating class discussions. Students are expected to spend about 6 hours per week reading these materials and preparing the class. This will be complemented by a workload of around 20 hours to prepare the final assignments.

The course will be face to face. The class will be divided in two parts. In the first part one of the instructors will give a lecture for the entire group (60 min). In the second part the group will have a debate about the topic of the lecture.

Attendance policy: students are expected to attend at least 10 of the 12 class periods. Those who fail to meet this requirement will be penalized in their final grade up to 2 points.

Readings assigned: All readings assigned that are not directly linked below, will be accessible in this Drive folder: haring


The evaluation of the course will be based on the following assignments:

(1) Active participation in class discussions and in the online forum: 10% of the final grade. Classes will be taught in a dialogical methodology. It is important to read in advance the assigned readings and come to the class prepared for discussion. The class will be divided in two parts. During the first hour and fifteen minutes one of the instructors will give a presentation of the relevant topic. During the final 45 minutes the group will be divided in two subgroups that will have two separate debates about the relevant topic (each one moderated by one instructor).

In addition, instructors will generate discussions in the online forum and students are expected to engage in argument there and share whatever they find interesting related to the course with their classmates.

2) Policy or research paper (3,000 words): 50% of the final grade Students will have to write a research paper, a policy paper, or a critical legal analysis on one topic that they will be able to choose freely (in accordance with the instructor’s advice).

-­‐-­‐-­‐ If they choose to write a research paper, they will have to choose a topic related to the contents of the course, do some research over the existing literature on the topic and write an original paper that attempts to contribute to such literature.

-­‐-­‐-­‐ If they choose to write a policy paper, they will have to choose a problem that our current legal systems face, will have to briefly but accurately describe the problem, identify possible solutions to it, assess them in a comparative perspective, and finally propose and defend their preferred solution. To learn more                         about             policy          papers,            read     this:­‐-­‐paper/

-­‐-­‐-­‐ If they choose to write a critical legal analysis, they will have to choose a legal problem or issue, ideally related to some fundamental right, they will have to provide an account of how such issue is currently regulated in one or more legal systems, will identify a problem, will make a critical analysis of the regulation, and will provide and defend a de lege ferenda proposal of legal reform. To learn more about how to produce legal analysis, read this:


  1. Video-­‐-­‐-­‐presentation: 20% of the final grade

Each student will have to record a video‐-­‐-­‐presentation (maximum  six  minutes long) with a defense of the policy or research paper, trying to be innovative, creative, and persuasive.

  1. Outline and feedback as discussant: 20% of the final grade

In the aula global we will create an essay clinic where each student will have to provide feedback to the outlines of the final essay of two classmates.



Resubmissions policy:

Students who fail the course will have an opportunity to present an amended or new essay during the following three weeks after the deadline. Resubmitting the essay will have a penalty of 1 point on the final grade of the course.


  • Sandel, Michael, Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do?, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giraux, 2009: ch. 1.
  • Sandel,      Michael,      Open      Online      Course      on      Justice,      episode      1
  • McKinsey Global Institute Report: “Digital Globalization. The New Era of Global Flows"
  • Scheuerman, William, “Globalization”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2018.
  • Philpott, Daniel, “Sovereignty”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2020
  • Alvarez, José E., “State Sovereignty is Not Withering Away: A Few Lessons For the Future”, in Antonio Cassese (ed.), Realizing Utopia, OUP, 2012, pp. 26‐-­‐-­‐37.
  • Rosenau, James, The Study of World Politics, vol. 2, London, Routledge, 2006, chs. 5, 13 and 14: pp. 31-­‐-­‐-­‐45, and 111-­‐-­‐-­‐146.
  • Sandel, Michael, Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do?, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giraux, 2009: chapters 5 and 6.
  • Rawls, John, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, edited by Erin Kelly. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. Excerpts
  • Sandel, Michael, Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do?, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giraux, 2009: chapters 3 and 4.
  • Schmidtz, David and Robert E. Goodin, Social Welfare and Individual Responsibility, Cambridge University Press 1999, ch. 1
  • Pettit, Philip, “Civic Republican Theory”, in José Luis Martí and Philip Pettit, A Political Philosophy in Public Life, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010.
  • Brock, Gillian, “Global Justice”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2018
  • Miller, David, “Cosmopolitanism”, in Brown, Garrett Wallace and David Held (eds), The Cosmopolitanism Reader, London: Polity Press, 2010, pp. 377-­‐-­‐-­‐392.
  • Beitz, C. (2001) Human Rights as a Common Concern. The American Political Science Review 95: 269-­‐-­‐-­‐282.
  • Nickel, J. (2007) Making sense of Human Rights 2nd edition (Blackwell), ch.5
  • Christiano, Thomas, “Authority”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2012
  • Buchanan, Allen and Robert Keohane, “The Legitimacy of Global Governance Institutions”, in A. Buchanan, Human Rights, Legitimacy and the Use of Force, Oxford UP, 2010, pp. 105‐-­‐-­‐133.
  • Dahl, Robert, “Can International Organizations be Democratic? A Skeptic’s View”, in Brown, Garrett Wallace and David Held (eds), The Cosmopolitanism Reader, London: Polity Press, 2010, pp. 423‐-­‐-­‐434.
  • Christiano, Thomas, “Is democratic legitimacy possible for international institutions?”, in  Daniele  Archibugi,  Matthias  Koenig‐-­‐-­‐Archibugi  and  Raffaele  Marchetti  (eds),  Global Democracy. Normative and Empirical Perspectives, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 69‐-­‐-­‐95.
  • Peters, Anne, “The Merits of Global Constitutionalism”, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 16, 2, 2009.
  • Habermas, Jürgen, “Keywords on a Discourse Theory of Law and of the Democratic Constitutional State”, in J. Habermas, The Lure of Technocracy, London: Polity: 2013, pp. 46-­‐-­‐-­‐60.

Other considerations

Plagiarism policy

Plagiarism is strictly prohibited, as is the multiple use of coursework. These practices will be detected with the assistance of mechanisms such as Turnitin software (installed in Aula Global). Supervisors shall bring misconduct to the attention of the Master’s Programme Coordinator. In such cases, students will receive a fail grade and will be subject to the UPF Disciplinary Regime, approved by Agreement of the Government Council of July 18, 2012.

See different forms of plagiarism and examples of them here:­‐-­‐integrity/faculty/committing/examples/index.shtml