Studying Law at Roma Tre

Academic Year 2021-2022

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Fall Semester (October 1 - December 17, 2021)


International Business Contracts 2021

Prof. Aggr. Rebecca Spitzmiller

International Business Contracts
Prof. Aggr. Rebecca Spitzmiller

Fall 2021
Starting Tuesday, October 5. 
Classes meet: Mon., 12,00 – 14,00; Tue.: 12,00 – 14,00; Wed.: 10,00 – 12,00 

Prerequisite: Comparative Legal Systems, or Sistemi giuridici comparati

This course will be held online, via Zoom.  All materials will be posted on the Roma Tre e-learning platform. This is the link to use to Join our classes, starting on Monday October 4:

Meeting ID: 836 0629 2386
Passcode: 047211

Course description:  
The course will examine principles of international contract law, using the Unidroit Principles, reviewing their structure and scope; basic ideas including freedom of contract, openness to usages, favor contractus, fair dealing and good faith, policing unfairness; purposes; uses, and comparison both to the CISG and European Principles.

The influence that the International Chamber of Commerce has over international contract law, together with concepts and procedures inherent to international contract arbitration will be reviewed and analyzed. 
A broad array of documents typically used in international business transactions will also be explored.

Course Learning Objectives
At the end of this course, successful students will:
- Understand the basic elements of international business contracts, including doctrine and materials from international practice, agreements, judgments and other documents.
- Know the specialized concepts and terminology related to international business contracts.
- Recognize the attendant international institutions, organizations and doctrines that influence and determine the structural context in which the law operates.
- Be able to identify legal issues in actual and/or hypothetical (moot) court cases and arbitration, and to be able to argue either side of these issues.
- Have improved verbal and written communication skills, including skills in advocacy, through legal writing and argumentation in English.
- Be familiar with basic documents relevant to international business contracts - both doctrinal and exemplars of sales contracts and other agreements - from which to further substantive knowledge and to perfect legal English language skills.
- Have mastered the research tools and materials with which to learn more about international business contracts.

Course Learning Activities
Classes will be structured to optimize interactivity, using some lectures, but mostly the Socratic Method – including “cold call” questioning – along with student presentations, moot appellate court cases and a mock trial.

Student responsibilities include:
  • Attending class, being punctual. Time allotted to meeting in class is little and precious;
  • Reading the assigned material BEFORE the class in which it is to be discussed;
  • Being prepared to participate fully and actively in class discussions and projects based on methodology described in documents distributed and discussed in initial class meetings and throughout the semester;
  • Taking notes during class as appropriate;
  • Having all assigned readings and notes at each class session;
  • Performing the research necessary to do writing assignments for the class;
  • Speaking in class and asking questions as appropriate;
  • Meeting with the professor to discuss any difficulty you may encounter during the course.
Assessment tools
Final grades will be based, in equal proportions, on:
  • participation in class
  • briefs and other written work
  • Final, written exam
Attendance policy
Attendance in class is compulsory to be admitted to the final examination, which will be comprehensive, covering all the topics discussed during the course.

Course textbook(s)
Ray August, International Business Law: Text, Cases and Readings, 4th Edition, Pearson Education International, New Jersey, 2004 (pp. 535 – 592)
Michael Joachim Bonell, An International Restatement of Contract Law -The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, Transnational Publishers, Inc., Ardsley, NY, 3d ed. 2005.
Joseph F. Morrissey and Jack M. Graves, International Sales Law and Arbitration: Problems, cases and Commentary, Kluwer Law International, The Netherlands, 2008

Supporting / Recommended course reading material
International Chamber of Commerce
- Rules of International Chamber of Commerce as Appointing Authority in UNCITRAL or Other Ad Hoc Arbitration Proceedings. (
- Rules of Arbitration. (

Other cases and materials may be adopted during the course.

* Where the texts provide edited cases, students should look up full case reports – especially when presenting moot court arguments.  Similarly, the UNIDROIT Principles and supporting and recommended reading materials cited above should also supplement assignments as appropriate.

CALENDAR, Course Schedule: (subject to modification)
Lesson # (number) and Date of Class  Topic and/or Activity (to be prepared for discussion/presentation that day) Text and Pages or other Source*
Oct. 5
"International Business Contracts": definition and discussion of law of commercial transactions, in comparative perspective, review of syllabus, how to brief cases, how to present a case Handouts and text read together in class
Oct. 6
PART I: The Study of International Commercial Law.  Presentations (and cold call Q&A) of sections I A - D and II A- F. Each students will present sections assigned to them on first day, alone or with a team. Morrissey & Graves, pp. 1 – 45; Discuss Problem 1-1
Oct. 11
CISG, Transactions Covered, Opting In and Out, Case 10-1Asante v. PMC Sierra, review briefs and present arguments as moot court; present and discuss other material August pp. 535 – 540
Oct. 12
Presentation and discussion of materials, including chart: Sales Defined, Goods Defined and, Mixed Sales; Contractual Issues Excluded from the Coverage of CISG; Interpreting CISG, General Principles, Rules of Private International Law; Interpreting Sales Contracts: Statements and Conduct of the Parties, Negotiations  See also: slides by Professor Teresa Rodriguez De Las Heras Ballell, Associate Professor in Commercial Law from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, which provide an introduction to the CISG. Assign three cases at right for student presentations. August pp. 541 – 549;
ProForce Recruit Ltd. v. The Rugby Group Ltd Court of Appeal (Civil Division), 17.02.2006, No. 2006 EWCA Civ 69.
The Square Mile Partnership Ltd v Fitzmaurice McCall Ltd, Court of Appeal (Civil Division), 18.12.2006, No. A3/2006/0290.

Chartbrook Limited v. Persimmon Homes LimitedCourt of Appeal (Civil Division), 12.03.2008, No. 2008 EWCA Civ 183.

#5 Wed.,
Oct. 13
PART II: Enter the CISG: Chapter 2: Application and General Provisions: Interpreting the CISG, Scope of Application, General Provisions Morrissey & Graves, pp. 51 – 101; Discuss Problems 2-1 – 2-9
Oct. 18
Continue with Chapter two presentations and problems. Reading materials and topics for these three days to be confirmed
Oct.  19
Read Claimant, “F” v. Respondent, “B”; Review “notes and commentary,” Discuss “burden of proof”. Cold calls re claimant’s and respondent’s arguments.  p. 99 Morrisey & Graves. Qs 1 & 2 
MCC v. Ceramica: review briefs
pp. 91 - 99; Finish Problems 2-1 – 2-9, pp. 101 – 103.  Morrissey & Graves
#8 Wed.,
Oct. 20
Case 10-2 MCC v. Ceramica: review briefs and present arguments as moot court; present and discuss other materials; Practices and Usages, Pro Forma Invoice, Formation of the Contract (Offer, Definiteness, Effectiveness of an Offer) Purchase Order, Acceptance August pp. 549 – 556
#9 Mon.,
Oct. 25
Chapter 3: Forming a Contract under the CISG Morrissey & Graves, pp. 101 - 146; Discuss Problems 3-1 – 3-5
Oct.  26
Present and discuss problems 3.1 – 3.5 Do not brief but read and write out only a precise issue for  the case “Dutch Seller and Swiss Buyer, Review,” and  review “notes and commentary,” following that case, on pages 112 and 113. In addition, Read Filanto v. Chilewich, contained in the Ray August book from pages 563- 569 and write a precise statement of the issue(s) in that case also. pp. 110 – 113. Morrissey & Graves
Ray August book from pages 563- 569.
Oct. 27
Case 10-3: Note  UTI v. Magyar case in Ray August, but BRIEF final Sp. Ct. decision, from link below.  Review briefs and present arguments as moot court; present and discuss other materials.
 Decision of the Hungarian Supreme Court in the case United Technologies v. Magyar:
August pp. 556 – 562
#12 Tue
Nov. 2

Mon. is holiday.
Brief and present oral arguments for Chateaux des Charmes v. Sabatè USA. (pp. 141 et seq Morrisey and Graves) citing and distinguishing the Filanto case; present and discuss other materials; Acceptance with Modifications; General Standards of Performance, Fundamental Breach, Seller’s Obligations, Buyer’s Obligations August pp. 563 – 569
#13 Wed.,
Nov. 3
Chapter 4: Obligations of the Seller. Read Examples in class and discuss cases in class.
 A “volunteer” will present Inco-Terms.
pp. 147 – 205. Morrissey & Graves. Read Examples and Mussels Case p. 173 and Hangar Case p. 176.
Nov. 8
Continue/finish Chapter 4. Brief and argue The Rijn Blend Condensate Case (Dutch seller and English buyer) pp. 183, et seq.  Do two separate sections in brief: “Questions of Fact” and “Findings of Fact.”  Discuss notes and commentary. Problems 4-1 – 4-4, pp. 204 – 205.
Nov. 9 
Case 10-5: Natural Gas Case, review briefs and present arguments as moot court; present and discuss other materials; Passing of the Risk, Remedies, Reading 10-1 The Buyer’s Right to Avoid the Contract August pp. 570 – 576
Nov. 10
Case 10-6: The Shoe Seller’s Case; review briefs and present arguments as moot court; present and discuss other materials, Seller’s Remedies. August pp. 577 – 582

Nov. 15  
Excuses for non performance, dirty hands.
Chapter 5: Remedies for Breach
Problems 5-1 – 5-5, pp. 265 – 266.
August pp. 587, 590.

Morrissey & Graves, pp. 208 - 266.
Nov. 16
Continue and finish Chapter 5.  
#19 Wed.,
Nov. 17
Chapter 6: Damages, Present and discuss materials.  Questions pp. 296-297. Morrissey & Graves, pp. 267 - 297.
#20 Mon.,
Nov. 22
Continue and finish Chapter 6.  
#21 Tue.,
Nov. 23
Introduction: Art and Science of Effective Lawyer Negotiation –
Initial discussion: Overview of negotiation module; Strategy, Style and Stages and the Fundamentals of Preparation; Intro to Assessment; Confidential Information for HSN-OCN (one on one negotiation).
Britzke & Harbaugh, Primer; Harbaugh, Chap. 14, online
#22 Wed.,
Nov. 24
Discussion: Assessment (continued) & Persuasion (intro).  Prepare HSN-OCN in client team groups. Preparation strategies for HSN-OCN.
#23 Mon,
Nov. 29
Negotiate and debrief: HSN and OCN
Negotiation conclusions
#24 Tue.,
Nov. 30
Introduce and explain Mock Trial. The Shoe Seller’s Case Read entire manual for the mock trial.
#25 Wed.,
Dec. 1
Continue Work in groups for Mock Trial.
 Prepare roles/work for Mock trial
#26 Mon., 
Dec. 6
Mock Trial: The Shoe Seller’s Case  Continue Prepare roles/work for Mock trial
Dec. 7
Opening statements and Plaintiff’s case in the Mock Trial   MOCK TRIAL
#28 Mon.
Dec. 13
Defendant’s case and closing statements in the Mock Trial
Debrief trial.
Tuesday. Dec.14
Unfinished business and Review
Wednesday December 15 10:00 am FINAL EXAM  



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