On October 15 and 16, 2020, the UCLA School of Law International and Comparative Law Program and the Transnational Program on Criminal Justice co-sponsored the 2020 Annual Meeting of the the American Society of Comparative Law. The online meeting was entitled Comparative Legal History.
More information about the annual meeting.
Knowledge Is Power
The goal of this project is producing knowledge that can be used by researchers and policy-makers about how Latin American criminal justice systems are actually working.
TPCL initiatives include the UCLA Criminal Justice Faculty Workshop and the Annual Works-in-Progress Comparative Law Workshop.
This project aims at producing knowledge and analysis about what is and should be the relationship between prosecutors and democracy.
This project studies how plea bargaining, once considered unique to American criminal justice, has spread around the world and discusses its implications.
This research project studies how and why states have been pursuing the transnational prosecution of crimes against humanity, genocide, torture and war crimes across the world.
Who We Are
- Core Faculty
Norman AbramsDistinguished Professor of Law Emeritus
Acting Chancellor Emeritus
Charles T. AndersonLecturer in Law
Peter L. ArenellaProfessor of Law Emeritus
Stuart BannerNorman Abrams Distinguished Professor of Law
Paul BergmanProfessor of Law Emeritus
Devon W. CarbadoThe Honorable Harry Pregerson Professor of Law
George S. CardonaLecturer in Law
Beth A. ColganVice Dean of Faculty & Intellectual Life
Professor of Law
Julie CramerLecturer in Law
Kimberlé W. CrenshawDistinguished Professor of Law
Promise Institute Chair in Human Rights
Sharon DolovichProfessor of Law
Faculty Director, UCLA Prison Law & Policy Program
Director, UCLA Law COVID Behind Bars Data Project
Ingrid EaglyProfessor of Law
Faculty Director, Criminal Justice Program
Laura E. GómezProfessor of Law
Rachel F. Moran Endowed Chair in Law
Mark GreenbergMichael H. Schill Endowed Chair in Law and Professor of Philosophy
Peter JohnsonLecturer in Law
Herbert MorrisProfessor of Philosophy and Professor of Law Emeritus
Sunita PatelAssistant Professor of Law
Faculty Director, UCLA Veterans Legal Clinic
Joanna C. SchwartzProfessor of Law
Lara StempleAssistant Dean for Graduate Studies and International Student Programs
Sherod ThaxtonProfessor of Law
Faculty Director, David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy
Eugene VolokhGary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law
Joshua GrobanLecturer in Law
Lisa HolderLecturer in Law
Guy C. IversenLecturer in Law
Laurie LevensonVisiting Professor
Enrique SchaererJohn M. Olin Associate Fellow in Law
Pavel WonsowiczLecturer in Law, Director, Academic Support Program
Noah D. ZatzProfessor of Law
Two of the goals of TPCJ are supporting cutting-edge and important legal research by practitioners and scholars and to create bridges between legal practice and legal research in the United States and other countries. As a way to advance these goals, the TPCJ has welcomed practitioners and scholars at different stages in their careers from around the world. The list of our fellows have included:
Juris Master, Tsinghua University, 2016
L.L.M., UCLA School of Law, 2017
Sky Ma focuses on the study of comparative criminal justice and international justice system and she is in the Doctor of Juristic Science program in UCLA School of Law. Sky served as an extern Judicial Clerk for the Justice at the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District in 2017. During the judicial externship, she handled criminal cases including child abuse and domestic violence involving immigration consequences.
Sky earned her Juris Master Degree in Tsinghua University in China. During the study in Tsinghua, she served as the executive editor for the Chinese Case Law Review. She passed the Chinese Bar Exam, and worked as an assistant lawyer for several famous Chinese defense attorneys. After graduation, Sky came to study in the L.L.M. program in UCLA School of Law with a specialization on international and comparative law track. During this time, Sky worked as an editor for the Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs. Also, Sky taught Criminal Procedure Course in a local high school in Los Angeles for a semester in the Street Law Program. The contents of the course covered both constitutional criminal procedure and adjudication.
Prof. Dr. Chantal Meloni
Chantal Meloni is Associate professor of Criminal law at the University of Milan (Italy) - where she teaches International criminal law and Criminology - and Senior legal advisor at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) of Berlin (Germany) - specializing in International crimes and accountability. She is a trained criminal lawyer admitted to the Italian Bar and represents victims before the International Criminal Court (ICC). She is also a member of the Committee appointed by the Italian Minister of Justice in March 2022, to draft the Italian Code of crimes under international law.
After the law degree, Chantal Meloni completed a PhD in Italian and comparative criminal law at the University of Pavia (Italy), with a thesis on “Command responsibility in International criminal law”. 2006/7 she was visiting professional and then associate legal officer at the ICC, Pre-Trial Chamber division, in the Hague (Netherlands). 2011-14, she was Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the chair of International criminal law of the Humbold University of Berlin, with a research project on “The protection of the right to life in asymmetrical conflicts”, as part of which, she spent several months in Gaza, at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
Her academic research includes individual responsibility for international crimes; domestic and international law enforcement mechanisms; accountability for international crimes and victims’ rights. Chantal Meloni is the author of numerous scientific articles, papers and book chapters, including the book Command Responsibility in International Criminal Law (Asser T.M.C., 2010), and is the co-editor of the volumes Domesticating International Criminal Justice (Routledge 2022, forthcoming), and Is There a Court for Gaza? (Asser/Springer 2012).
In addition to her regular teaching, she lectures on international criminal law topics in various universities, has been presenting in numerous international conferences and fora, including as an expert in sessions organized by the UN and by the EU Parliament on international law issues. She is a member of the International Association of Penal Law (AIDP), on the board of the European Legal Support Center (ELSC), and on the advisory board of the the Franz von Liszt Institute for International Criminal Justice at the Humboldt University of Berlin. She is also on the board of the criminal law journal Sistema Penale and the editor of the “Observatory on the ICC” in the Italian Rivista di Dirittto e Procedure Penale.
Richard Dicker has been director of Human Rights Watch's international justice program since it was founded in 2001, and has worked at Human Rights Watch since 1991. He started working on international justice issues in 1994, when Human Rights Watch made an effort to bring the government of Iraq before the International Court of Justice on charges of committing genocide against the Kurds. He later led a multi-year campaign to establish the International Criminal Court. In recent years he has worked to create more effective accountability mechanisms at the ICC. He monitored the trial of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague and made many trips to Iraq before and at the start of Saddam Hussein's trial. A former civil rights attorney in New York, Dicker graduated from New York University Law School and received his LL.M. from Columbia University.
Elisa Hoven is a Junior Professor for Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law at the University of Cologne. She studied law at the Free University of Berlin, the Radboud Universitaet Nijmegen (Netherlands) and the University of Cambridge. She wrote her Ph.D. on the rule of law in international criminal proceedings and worked both at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. She was a Visiting Scholar at the War Crimes Studies Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Pannasastra University in Phnom Penh.
Professor Hoven led an interdisciplinary research project on "Victims' participation in trials of mass crimes at the example of the Khmer-Rouge-Tribunal in Cambodia" at the University of Marburg. Following fieldwork in Cambodia, she took a Visiting Researcher position at Harvard University and completed a study report as well as several articles on transitional justice and international criminal trials. Her article on Civil Party participation in trials of mass crimes was awarded the Journal of International Criminal Justice Prize.
Professor Hoven has given guest lectures on international criminal proceedings at Yale University, the University of Jerusalem, the University of Hawaii, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Vienna University and Universidad Externado in Colombia.
Supported by the German Research Foundation, she is currently writing her habilitation on corruption of foreign public officials. During her stay at UCLA in 2016, she compared approaches taken by German and by US law to fight transitional corruption.
Manon is a professor of criminology and criminal policy at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and associate researcher at the International Center for Comparative Criminology (University of Montreal). She has a multidisciplinary background in Law, Sociology and Criminology from the Universities of Neuchâtel (Ph.D), Geneva (Doctoral Completion) and Montreal (Postdoctoral fellowship). She has conducted number of research projects in Europe and Canada dealing with privacy in prisons, including issues regarding breaches of medical confidentiality. She has also worked as a Senior Analyst developing community-based crime prevention programs within the International Center for the Prevention of Crime, an NGO affiliated to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program Network.
Manon researches and teaches in the areas of social reactions to crime, desistance from crime and the gap between rhetoric, regulation and practice in criminal justice contexts. Her work focuses on the intersection of law, ethics and technology in restrictive institutions, such as prisons, probation agencies and secured psychiatric centers.
During her stay at UCLA School of Law, Manon will be working on a critical appraisal of data-driven risk assessment tools and so-called predictive technologies used in the Swiss and American criminal justice system. She seeks to develop a better understanding of how criminal justice officers exploit and value these tools, and to discuss the legal, social and ethical challenges they raise in both Common and Civil law regimes.
Ricardo Lillo Lobos
Ricardo is a Chilean Lawyer who obtained his LL.B. from Universidad Diego Portales (Chile) and his LL.M. in Public Interest Law and Policy from UCLA. Since 2014, he is a professor at Universidad Diego Portales School of Law (Chile) where he teaches Procedural law. He is an associated researcher for the Litigation and Judicial Reform Program. He has published academic papers in subjects related to judicial reform, procedural due process, fair trial standards, juvenile criminal justice, and access to justice.
In UCLA he has served as a Research Assistant since 2013 and as Hoffenberg Research Fellow during fall 2017.
Until 2012, Ricardo was a researcher at the Justice Studies Center of the Americas, working on projects related to access to justice, transparency, and the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICTs) in judicial systems, among other subjects to support judicial reform in Latin America. Before that, he has been a professional intern at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States.
He has obtained Becas Chile Scholarship and Dean's Fellowship twice for its graduated studies. Currently, he is a student of the S.J.D. program working on his thesis related to procedural due process, access to justice, and the civil justice reform in Latin America.
His academic work can be visited at: https://works.bepress.com/ricardolillo/
Rocio Ferreccio Lorca
Rocío Lorca is Assistant Professor of Criminal Law at Universidad de Chile´s School of Law. She received her JD at that same institution (´06) and later went to study at the United States with a Fulbright Scholarship where she received an LL.M. in Legal Theory (´10) and a J.S.D. (´15) both at New York University. Besides teaching Criminal Law, Professor Lorca also teaches a seminar on Punishment and Poverty, Law and Literature, and a thesis seminar both for the Master in Criminal Law and the Doctoral Program of Universidad de Chile´s School of Law.
Professor Lorca´s research focuses on the relationship between criminal justice and other spheres of justice such as economic justice, political justice and principles of the Rule of Law. During her dissertation she studied the relationship between criminal and economic justice by trying to make sense of the intuition that our practice of holding people responsible through criminal law is not fully warranted when it comes to victims of severe economic injustice. The findings of this investigation have been partially published in articles in both English and Spanish.
During her visit at UCLA she will work on an investigation about the idea of impunity, its meanings and importance. She will try to answer the following questions: What do we mean when we talk about impunity as a political or institutional failure in the context of international criminal law? What should be the ends and limits of the quest against impunity? Why we care so much about it? What is the normative issue with impunity? And, is the international criminal court suited to fight against it?
Ernesto Matías Díaz
Ernesto Matías Díaz holds his LL.B. degree from University of Córdoba, School of Law (2003) and received his LL.M. degree in Criminal Law from University of Buenos Aires, School of Law (2010). He is also a S.J.D. Candidate at University of Buenos Aires, School of Law. In Argentina, he works as legal clerk in the General Minor's Counsel Office of the Public Minister of the Buenos Aires city. In 2011, he clerked for Chief Judge José Osvaldo Casás of the Supreme Court of Buenos Aires city in the Impeachment Jury of Buenos Aires City. He also served as clerk in the Supreme Court of Buenos Aires city, Argentina (2007).
Ernesto Matías is a Teaching Assistant at University of Buenos Aires, School of Law in courses on Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. He is also an Invited Professor at the "Instituto de Estudios Judiciales" of the Supreme Court of the province of Buenos Aires. He is a frequent participant in the Criminal Justice Seminars at the University of Buenos Aires, School of Law, directed by Professor Daniel Pastor. His primary research interests are in Criminal Law and Procedure and Juvenile Justice, and he has written two books and many articles in these fields.
Ernesto Matías was a visiting jurist at UCLA Law School in 2013 and 2016. During his most current research stay at UCLA in 2016, his project was focused on the modifications that have been produced in the appellate stage of the criminal procedure in the United States and how these modifications relate to wrongful convictions.
Astrid Liliana Sánchez-Mejía
Astrid Liliana Sánchez-Mejía is a Professor of Law at Javeriana University (Colombia). Her research focuses on criminal justice, human rights, and violence against women. She earned a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree from UCLA, an LL.M. in Legal Theory from NYU, a Master of Laws from Los Andes University (Colombia), and a law degree from Javeriana University. She was a recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship, the Colciencias Fellowship, the Dean's Tuition Fellowship at UCLA School of Law, and the International Fellowship of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Sánchez-Mejía has taught at various universities and training centers for state representatives in Colombia and other countries in Latin America.
In 2015, Sánchez-Mejía completed her doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Professor Máximo Langer at UCLA School of Law. This research examines the effects of adversarial criminal justice reforms on victim's rights by specifically analyzing the Colombian criminal justice reform of the early 2000s. Springer has published her doctoral dissertation under the title Victims' Rights In Flux: Criminal Justice Reform in Colombia.
Marc Thommen is a professor of criminal law and criminal procedure at the University of Zürich and a graduate of the university's School of Law. Following his graduation from law school he was awarded a three year scholarship by the Swiss National Research Foundation to support his Ph.D. research on the criminal law aspects of surrogate decision-making for incompetent patients. In 2004 he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Basel. In 2005 Marc received his LL.M. degree from the University of Cambridge. From 2005-2009 he worked as a law clerk to Justice Hans Wiprächtiger of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in Lausanne. From 2010 to 2013 Marc was employed as a post-doctoral research fellow at the university Lucerne where he completed his habilitation thesis on Justice, Efficiency and Fairness, a survey on penal order and abbreviated proceedings in the Swiss criminal justice system. In 2013 he received the Professor Martin Killias' Chair of Criminal Law at the University of Zürich.
Besides teaching criminal law and criminal procedure, Marc is the founder and an editor of Sui Generis, Switzerland's first comprehensive open access law journal. In 2017 he was awarded a Swiss National Research Foundation grant for a nationwide research project on penal orders. The project will examine the practice of prosecutorial discretion in Switzerland and is ultimately guided at developing new principles of modern criminal procedure.
During his stay as a summer 2018 visiting scholar at UCLA School of Law 2018 Marc is pursuing his research on efficiency in the administration of criminal justice with special emphasis on prosecutorial discretion and the problems of plea bargaining in the American criminal justice system.
María Luisa Villamarín López
María Luisa Villamarín López is Professor of Procedural Law at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, where she also received her LL.B. with a Special Grade and her Ph.D., recognised with an Extraordinary Doctorate Award. Since 2002 she has been teaching Civil and Criminal Procedure in the Procedural Institute of the Universidad Complutense (this year leading a pioneer experience at her School of Law teaching Procedural Law in English), as well as giving courses in Spanish legal institutions such as the Bar Association and the School of Judges. She has also given courses in Italy and lectures at national and international conference (Mexico, Canada, Italy). She has written four books on procedural matters, collaborated in more than ten collective works and published several articles in academic journals. She has conducted research in different international institutions, such as Max-Planck Institut für Strafrecht in Freiburg (Germany), Max-Planck Institut für Zivilrecht in Hamburg (Germany), Harvard Law School, Michigan Law School and the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), most of these stays funded but several fellowships from the Spanish Education Ministry, DAAD (German Exchange Service), Real Colegio Complutense of Harvard and Del Amo Foundation. She has participated in more than ten research projects from the beginning of her career, two of them being Actions Grants of the European Union on European procedural law matters, and she has also led and joined Teaching Improvement Projects at her University. She has also developed some management tasks; in particular she was four years the Academic Secretary of the Procedural Institute where she has been working.
During her stay at UCLA School of Law in 2016, Professor Villamarín López worked on the presumption of innocence in Europe and the United States.
Prof. Dr. Bettina Weisser holds the Chair for German, Foreign and International Criminal Law at the University of Muenster, Germany, since 2011. She received (and rejected) an offer to be the Chair for German and European Criminal Law at the University of Konstanz in the year 2013 and is currently being offered the position as Director of the Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law at the University of Cologne.
Bettina is director of the Comparative Criminal Law Division of the German Association of Comparative Law and member of a number of European research networks on Comparative Criminal Law. She has written extensively on Comparative Criminal Law in Europe and was national rapporteur for the Association Internationale de Droit Pénal at the world congresses in 2009 and 2014, concerning terrorism and cyber crime. Also, she is general rapporteur for the Association of Comparative Law in 2015/2016 on "Criminal law at the end of life – euthanasia and assisted suicide".
Her stay at UCLA in 2016 was dedicated to the preparation of a comparative study of California's "End-of-Life-Option Act", which was signed into law in October 2015. The project compared the Californian approach with diametrically opposed tendencies within the European Union. Apart from this, Professor Weisser is co-editor (with Prof. Darryl Brown, UVA Virginia and Prof. Jenia Turner, SMU Dedman School of Law, Dallas) of the Oxford Handbook of Criminal Process and will use the opportunity of her stay to learn more about the US-American Law and Practice of Criminal Procedure.
Yin Yanhong is currently a Ph.D. candidate (degree expected 2019) at the University of Luxembourg researching the European Arrest Warrant and the system of surrender of fugitive offenders between Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. Under the supervision of Professor Katalin Ligeti, Yanhong's research has allowed her to participate in workshops and conferences sponsored by the European Criminal Law Network and present at an international symposium on judicial cooperation at Cambridge University. Yanhong has traveled to Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, and the European Court of Justice interviewing officials, academics and judges about extradition problems in the European Union and China. Her work has been overseen by Professors Huang Feng, an expert in extradition law, and Simon Young of Hong Kong University. Yanhong has also worked under the supervision of Professor John Spencer at Cambridge University and written several academic papers on the European Arrest Warrant.
Students who are interested in conducting independent research on comparative law, international law and transnational criminal justice can draw on the support and resources of UCLA Law and the broader UCLA campus.
Second- and third-year students may gain valuable real-world experience by choosing to participate in UCLA Law’s externship program. UCLA students have held summer or semester long placements in places as varied as The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague, The Netherlands; The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania; The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJ) in New York City; The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in The Hague, The Netherlands, and Freetown, Sierra Leone; The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague, The Netherlands.
UCLA Law Journals that may have a particular interest in comparative, international and transnational law include the Criminal Justice Law Review; Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs (JILFA); The UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law (JINEL); and UCLA's Pacific Basin Law Journal.
Student organizations that have done work on or may have an interest in the intersection between criminal justice and transnational and international phenomena include:
Criminal Justice Society
The UCLA Criminal Justice Society (CJS) is a student group that strives to advance justice within the criminal law system. We do this by promoting criminal law dialogue, practice, reform, policy, scholarship and career development at UCLA. We seek to promote a critical examination of the criminal justice system through the participation of an inclusive community of individuals who want to engage with criminal law. Though our members' backgrounds and political ideologies may vary, we are all committed to increasing the presence of criminal law at UCLA and creating a forum for UCLA School of Law students to contribute to criminal law practice, reform, scholarship and policymaking.
International Justice Project
The UCLA International Justice Project (IJP) is a student-run extracurricular clinical program at UCLA School of Law. IJP partners law students with human rights organizations from around the world to provide firsthand experience with the practice of international human rights law. IJP helps students develop the basic skills and substantive knowledge necessary for international human rights and international justice advocacy. Students collaborate with partner organizations to draft legal memoranda and briefs, and to provide valuable international and comparative legal research.
IJP is currently working on a range of projects with organizations addressing domestic human rights issues as well as issues abroad in South Africa, Mexico, Zimbabwe, and India. JD students may begin IJP work in the second semester of their first year, and LLM students may join as soon as they arrive at UCLA.
International Human Rights Law Association
The International Human Rights Law Association's (IHRLA) purpose is to provide a student-led forum for developing knowledge, sharing experiences, and promoting career opportunities within the field of international human rights law at UCLA School of Law. IHRLA endeavors to work closely with the International and Comparative Law Program and other organizations, both on and off campus, to provide meaningful opportunities for learning, project-based research, and career assistance to students within the Law School.
Immigration Law Society
The Immigration Law Society (IMLS) at UCLA seeks to educate students on issues impacting the immigrant community, as well as bridge a connection with immigration law academic scholars and practitioners. A primary focus of the organization is to help law students volunteer with agencies that provide free or low-cost legal services for low-income immigrants. Students who volunteer with the VAWA Clinic work with attorneys at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) to prepare declarations for victims of serious crimes, including domestic violence, in order to apply for U-Visas and VAWA. Students also volunteer with the Youth Deportation Defense Clinic, in conjunction with the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, by conducting legal screenings for minors to help the family identify potential defenses to deportation and connect the child with free or low-cost representation.
Foreign Legal Study and Exchange Program
Through its Foreign Legal Study and Exchange Program, UCLA School of Law offers various opportunities for its students, and for law students in other countries, to gain exposure to international law and the legal systems and cultures of other nations.
UCLA School of Law has partnered with many leading academic institutions in Europe, Asia, Israel, Australia and South America to establish the Foreign Legal Study and Exchange Program (FLSEP). Under exchange agreements with these partner schools, UCLA School of Law will host the most highly qualified students from its partner schools, while similarly talented and committed UCLA law students may sample the intellectual and cultural riches that partner schools offer.
The program is highly selective - each semester, each partner school may normally nominate only up to two students to attend UCLA School of Law for a semester, and UCLA School of Law may normally nominate only up to two students to attend each partner school for a similar academic term. Well-qualified candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
Interdisciplinary Studies Opportunities
UCLA School of Law has long been a leader in the interdisciplinary study of law and, unlike many other schools, UCLA law students can take courses in the professional schools and departments elsewhere on the UCLA campus, offering yet another way for students to connect to the world outside of the law school. UCLA Departments such as Anthropology, History, Psychology and Sociology, and schools such as the Luskin School of Public Affairs have had faculty working on criminal justice issues.
The UCLA Law Career Services has a wealth of resources for admitted students hoping to establish a career in all areas of law, including comparative, international and transnational criminal law. Interested students should meet with their career counselor or Jessica Peake, Director of the International and Comparative Law Program, to discuss their interests and potential internship, externship and job opportunities in these fields of law.