International & Comparative Law Program


For Students – International and Comparative Law Program


Second- and third- year law students interested in international and comparative law and international human rights law can select from many exciting courses in these areas.  Visit the UCLA School of Law Curriculum Guide for a list of current international and comparative law and international human rights law courses.

International and Comparative Law courses guide

International Human Rights Law courses guide


Asylum Clinic

The spring semester Asylum Clinic allows students to work with Public Counsel's Immigrants' Rights Project and represent non-citizens fleeing persecution before the USCIS Asylum Office.  Through the clinic, the students advocate for clients who have fled their homes as a result of human rights violations, and must then confront the challenges of the U.S. immigration system.


Gender Violence in the Congo

Students enrolled in the Sanela Diana Jenkins Clinic on Gender Violence in Eastern Congo will help support and assess five interventions to assist villages that have suffered mass rape attacks in Eastern Congo.  The five interventions are: (1) judicial; (2) medical; (3) psycho-social; (4) socio-economic; and (5) ecumenical/spiritual.  The course will begin with an introduction to the phenomenon of mass rape in Africa, and its effects on victims, their families, and village social, economic, and political life.  Students will: establish a 501(c)(3) organization that will support the five interventions; provide legal “housekeeping” for the organization; develop interview and survey protocols aimed at assessing effects of the interventions; receive training to prepare for interviewing and surveying victims, their families, and villagers in a conflict zone.  Students will then travel to the Eastern Congo to observe and document various interventions, and to interview and survey villagers prior to or after an intervention.  Following the field research, students will help assess data collected in the field, evaluate the effects of the interventions, and suggest refinements of the interventions.


ICC Forum Clinic

The ICC Forum is an innovative and cooperative undertaking by the Sanela Diana Jenkins Human Rights Project at UCLA School of Law and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC OTP). The Forum allows members of the legal community, governments, academics, and others to debate complex issues of international criminal law faced by the Office of the Prosecutor in the course of its work at the ICC.  UCLA Law students and faculty work with the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor, legal scholars and practitioners from around the world, as well as technology experts, to run the Forum. Students make a year-long commitment to the project, researching and analyzing pressing issues that bear on the legal and institutional development of the International Criminal Court and that demand the attention of the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.  Professor Richard H. Steinberg is Director of the Clinic and Editor-in-Chief of the Forum, which was launched on September 1, 2010 during the tenure of the first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.


International Human Rights Clinic

The International Human Rights Clinic gives students the opportunity to navigate international human rights law theory and practice in the service of real clients.  It has two components: clinical projects and a seminar. Clinic students partner with human rights organizations to achieve the latter’s legal and advocacy goals. By doing so students gain firsthand experience with the practice of international human rights lawyers, thus developing important skills required for this practice. Each year the clinic works on an international and a domestic human rights issue to provide students with important comparative perspective. In one semester, for example, clinic students have worked to vindicate the rights of Mozambican migrant mineworkers based in South Africa, and at the same time used the Inter-American Human Rights system to vindicate the rights of Los Angeles residents abused in immigration detention in the United States. Providing the theoretical counterpart to students’ practical work, the weekly clinic seminar: introduces students to some of the most contentious debates surrounding the theory and practice of international human rights law; provides students with the tools they will need to identify and address ethical concerns in the practice of international human rights law; and sharpens lawyering skills relevant to their clinic projects.



Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs (JILFA)

The UCLA Journal of International Law & Foreign Affairs (JILFA) is an interdisciplinary publication promoting scholarship in international law and foreign relations. JILFA publishes articles by leading scholars, practitioners, and other professionals from around the world, as well as student comments. Some of JILFA's issues are topical, focusing on immigration or international gender and race discrimination, and others offer more variety, ranging from conflicting approaches to technological developments, to the international criminal court, to sovereign debt crises.

JILFA hosts an annual symposium each spring semester. These symposia bring together leading academics and practitioners from around the world to discuss pressing issues in international law. JILFA's next symposium, to be held on March 14, 2014, will explore the future of international human rights litigation in American domestic courts in the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (133 S.Ct. 1659 (2013)). The 2013 symposium focused on human rights issues in the emerging economic powers of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.  The 2012 symposium examined the Arab Spring and its consequences across the Middle East.

JILFA staff membership is open to JD students who have completed at least one semester of law school and all LLM students. JILFA staff assist with selecting, reading, editing, and formatting articles for publication. Through their participation, JILFA members gain valuable skills in critical analysis, collaboration, and legal editing.


Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law

The UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law (JINEL) is published once a year. As the first law school journal in the West dealing with this topic, JINEL’s goal is to emphasize and critically analyze all legal issues--social, political, civil, historical, economic, and commercial--that are of particular relevance to Muslims and Near Easterners in both Muslim and non-Muslim societies. Thus we will: present issues relating to the laws of the Near East and their effects on the people and countries of the region and worldwide; present issues relating to the theoretical aspects of Islamic law and jurisprudence, and its application; discuss laws as they have affected the people of the Near East outside the region.


Pacific Basin Law Journal

UCLA’s Pacific Basin Law Journal publishes twice a year, covering a diverse range of legal issues with a focus on the rapidly developing economic nations of the Pacific Rim. Throughout its history, the journal has featured articles written by leading scholars and practitioners on international legal topics including human rights law, constitutional law, comparative law, criminal law, international trade law, business/corporate law, and intellectual property law. The breadth and diversity of the subject matter of the journal's articles contributes to its reputation as among the most innovative, informative, and authoritative publications at the UCLA School of Law.


Student Organizations

International Justice Project

The UCLA International Justice Project (IJP) is a student-run extracurricular clinical program at the 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 Iraq. 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 the UCLA School of Law. IHRLA endeavors to work closely with the International Human Rights 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.

Other volunteer opportunities include assisting local non-profit organizations with processing applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and other forms of relief. IMLS also organizes educational speaker series on hot topics, the Spanish for Lawyers training and an annual mixer with immigration law practitioners


Moot Court

Participation in moot court is a fantastic part of the law school experience, and UCLA Law Students have participated in some of the most prestigious international law related competitions worldwide.  These experiences allow students to develop crucial lawyering skills and to make connections with a broad network of professionals and other students.

Clara Barton International Humanitarian Law Competition

The Clara Barton International Humanitarian Law Competition was started in 2013 by the American Red Cross and had an impressive list of Law Schools involved in its inaugural year. During the simulation-based experiential legal competition, students are exposed to the practice of international humanitarian law (IHL) and real world challenges facing IHL practitioners during armed conflict.

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Jean Pictet International Humanitarian Law Pleading Competition

The Jean Pictet is a week-long international humanitarian law (IHL) competition.  The Pictet competition uses simulations and role-plays to test students’ abilities to make oral arguments and to apply IHL to real-life situations.  During the competition the teams are evaluated on their theoretical knowledge and practical understanding of IHL, and their ability to use the law in the context of the broader international political system.  Taking part in the competition is a unique experience and training on the concrete application of IHL is facilitated by the presence of experts (the jury and tutors).  Participation also has a considerable positive effect on personal development, and students develop the skills of teamwork, presentation techniques, and communication with other students from different countries throughout the world.

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In an increasingly interconnected world, experience and familiarity with international law and other nations' legal systems and cultures is increasingly indispensable for lawyers, legal scholars and law students alike.

Recognizing this powerful trend, 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.

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Interdisciplinary Study 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.

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Internships and Externships

In addition to a vibrant curriculum, students also enjoy opportunities to spend a semester or summer doing an externship or internship in international law, comparative law, or human right law with a non-governmental organization, an international organization or with government. 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 UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) in Geneva;
  • The International Organization on Migration (IMO) in Geneva;
  • The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Rome;
  • The State Departments Office of the Legal Adviser in Washington, D.C.;
  • 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;
  • The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague, The Netherlands;
  • The Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.;
  • The Agency for International Development, Washington, D.C.;
  • The Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mexico.

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Career Services

The UCLA Law Career Services has a wealth of resources for admitted students hoping to establish a career in international human rights law.  Interested students should meet with their career counselor or Jessica Peake to discuss their interests and potential internship, externship and job opportunities in this field of law.

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