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Course on 'Comparative Contract Law & Practice' by Prof. Stefan Vogenauer, May 12-22, 2016


National Law University, Delhi, organized a MHRD GIAN course on “Comparative Contract Law and Practice” under the GIAN scheme of the MHRD, from 12th May 2016 – 22nd May 2016. The course received an overwhelming response and was attended by 60 participants, including both students from National Law University, Delhi, and external participants which consisted of law professors, practitioners, Ph.D. candidates and students of law from various National Law Universities, and other prominent law institutions  across India.


The course was instructed by Prof. Stefan Vogenauer, Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt. Prof. Vogenauer is a renowned scholar of Comparative Contract Law, and his writings on the UNIDROIT principles, harmonization of global contract law, CISG and related areas are bested only by his outstanding academic career and achievements.


Professor Vogenauer had been the Linklaters Professor of Comparative Law at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Brasenose College since 2003. He was Director of the Oxford Institute of European and Comparative Law for eleven years, during 2004 to 2015. Professor Vogenauer was convener of the BCL/MJur course in 'European Private law: Contract'. Further courses and classes taught while in Oxford include 'Transnational Commercial Law', 'Problems in Contract (German and English Law Compared)', 'Introduction to Comparative Law', 'The Common Law for Civil Lawyers' and 'Roman Law of Contract'. He has held visiting positions at the universities of Melbourne, Paris II and Stellenbosch, and also at Bucerius Law School, New York University (NYU) and the University of Texas at Austin.


The course gave students a broad outlook of comparative contract law, with exciting comparisons of key contract law concepts from different jurisdictions; common law systems such as English law, and civilian law systems such as German and French Laws. The presence of professors and practitioners in the audience also helped stimulate in-depth discussions about how Indian law was, compared to the aforementioned systems. An analysis of these different jurisdictions was concluded by discussing the key principles imbibed in the current transnational legal instruments, such as the CISG, or the UNIDROIT. The lectures covered both the substantive content of the laws, and how it was applied in practice, in various jurisdictions. The evolution of these legal concepts was traced back from history, to study how and why the current legal concepts came to be formed in these legal systems.


To introduce a more holistic coverage of contract laws, 3 special sessions supplementary to the course lectures were also organized: on 13th May, Prof. M.P. Singh gave a stimulating discourse on Comparative Constitutional Law and its implications on contract law; on 18th May, Prof. B.T. Kaul discussed with the participants the position of employment contracts in India in the context of labour law, and how the position was compared to foreign legal systems; on 19th May, Dr. Akhil Prasad (General Counsel, Boeing India) had an interactive session with the participants about “Damages and Penalty Clauses” in cross-border contracts and State contracts, and its practical implications on business. Apart from these special lectures, a one day seminar was organized on “Bankruptcy and Cross-border Insolvency laws in India: The way ahead” in which panelists included, Hon’ble Justice Rajiv Shakhder, Dr. T.K. Viswanathan, and Prof. Ajay Shah.


Dr. Risham Garg, Assistant Professor at NLU Delhi was the course coordinator & host faculty for the course. Dr. Risham Garg holds a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.), in the field of International Contracts. He teaches courses on ‘Bankruptcy Insolvency & Restructuring’ and ‘International Commercial Laws’ in the LLM programme, he also teaches courses in the BA.LLB. program on Law of Contracts, Sale of Goods and Seminar Courses of International Commercial Laws, Private International Law, Bankruptcy Law & Policy. He acts as an Arbitrator at the Willem C. Vis Moot. He has been a Visiting Research Scholar at UNCITRAL, Vienna.  Since February 2016, he has also been placed in charge, as Research Director, of the Centre for Transnational Commercial Law at NLU Delhi.


The 11-day course covered around 30 lectures with an evaluation at the last day. The course elicited positive feedback from participants. Prof. Vogenauer also distributed the Participation certificates to the course participants. Prof. Vogenauer also addressed students of the BALLB 1st year in their contracts class.