Private Law or Civil Law is about rights and obligations, about fulfilling promises and acting to one another ethically. It deals with issues outside of public sphere. However, the dealings are increasingly being conducted on a larger scale, involving the interests of more people. In addition, they also involve more 'repeat-players' (Galanter, 1974) than ever before, such as multinational corporations, banks, government institutions and other mixed characters of those entities. The action of one company could be the catalyst of a global crisis, as we have experienced with the crash in the United States housing market which led to a world-wide financial crisis (for an entertaining overview, see film The Big Short, 2015).

How ‘private’ is Private Law? What are the roles of different customs and habits, particularly in transactions that are now increasingly international and globalized? Are there differences notable in meanings of principles of Private Law when comparing for instance European to Chinese or Muslim societies? Do these differences affect minorities and disadvantaged groups? Such questions will be dealt with in this course. In-class, we will use real-life cases and situations and compare the dilemmas experienced by the parties involved.

Private law practice consists of many activities requiring a number of skills, some of which will be performed by the students themselves. Students will perform negotiations, contract and complaint drafting. Through role-plays, they will have a first-hand experience on private / civil legal disputes. In the end of the course, students will be able to analyze real-life situations and design a course of action in terms of private law to address and resolve an issue.