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Law and Justice in the Americas

international law program

Professor Frank J. Garcia, Director

Working papers

Political, economic and legal justice and the rule of law have been important public goals for many states, governments and reformers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Despite centuries of effort, the social benefits anticipated from such policies continue to elude many people and communities in the region.

The Law and Justice in the Americas program brings Boston College Law School faculty and students together to pursue law reform and justice projects in the Americas. In their professional capacity, faculty are often retained to consult on a variety of projects advanced under the auspices of states, international organizations and development agencies. Such projects can include, for example, assisting developing country governments in preparing for WTO negotiations; developing recommendations for area NGOs pursuing reforms to human rights law; and support for developing countries’ commercial law modernization. In the future, the Program may develop its own projects as faculty time and resources permit.

In addition to their social impact, such projects offer excellent teaching opportunities for students who participate in the work of the program. When Program faculty undertake a project, students are invited to apply for the position of Program Fellow. Fellows work closely with Program faculty in a variety of capacities, assisting them in the delivery of the faculty’s project commitments.

Depending upon the nature of the project, Fellows may prepare a paper under faculty supervision for publication as part of the Program’s Working Paper Series. Not all projects lend themselves to development of a working paper, but where possible, such papers offer Fellows the particular satisfaction of contributing to the literature on a particular subject of interest to the legal and policy communities.

The essence of the Program is a partnership between students, faculty, international bodies and people in need. Such partnerships are an important way of fulfilling the mission of the International Law Program to integrate the study and practice of justice in international law, and the Law School’s mission to train future lawyers for service and effective representation in a global environment.

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Since the Program’s inception in 2002, projects undertaken by Program faculty have included:

  • Consultation with the Regional Negotiating Machinery, CARICOM, concerning WTO negotiations on special and differential treatment for smaller economies. Summer and Fall 2002
  • Consultation with area NGOs regarding habeas corpus reform in El Salvador. Spring 2003.
  • Consultation with area NGOs regarding human rights ombudsman statute for Brazil. Spring 2003.
  • Consultation through the International Law Institute to support USAID’s Bolivian Trade and Business Competitiveness Project. Summer 2003.
  • Consultation with area NGOs concerning the impact of the Central American Free Trade Agreement on exports of grassroots producer cooperatives. Spring 2004
  • Consultation with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on social justice aspects of hemispheric trade. Fall 2005.


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Law & Justice in the Americas Program Fellows
Since 2002, Program Fellows and their projects have included:


  • Soohyun Jun: Review of WTO Special and Differential Treatment Rules, Summer 2002.
  • Regina Garrick: Impact on CARICOM of EU Cotonou Agreement, Fall 2002.
  • Mary Holper: Proposals for Habeas Corpus Reform in El Salvador, Spring 2003.
  • Joyce Asber: Comparative Analysis of Human Rights Ombudsman Statutes, Spring 2003.
  • Laura Paioff: Review of FTAA Proposals and Status of Bolivian Commercial Law, Summer 2003.
  • Orville Thomas, Jr.: Analysis of Impact of CAFTA Tariff-Rate Quota System on Producer Cooperatives, Spring 2004.
  • Jasmin Bin-Humami Cafta Negotiations and U.S. Hemispheric Trade Policy. Spring 2005.
  • Rebecca Cantu: The Rule of Law and Legal Culture in Latin America, Fall 2005.
  • Daniel Blanchard: CAFTA and U.S. Hemispheric Trade Policy, 2006.


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Law & Justice in the Americas Working Paper Series


Dina Bernardelli, Modern Judicial Reform in El Salvador and Brazil (2008)

Julie Endy, Supporting Parallel Legal Systems as a Means of Improving Access to Justice in Guatemala (2007)

Daniel Garnaas-Holmes, Judicial Review: Fostering Judicial Independence and Rule of Law (2008)

Mary Holper, Habeas Reform in El Salvador (2003)

Kindra Mohr, New Standards of Justice: Uncovering Motivations for Mexico’s Recent Judicial Reforms amid a Security Crisis (2009)

Michael O'Donovan, Labor Provisions From NAFTA to CAFTA: Standards That Work, or a Work in Progress? (2005)

Andres Torres, From Inquisitorial to Accusatory: Colombia's and Guatemala's Legal Transition. (2008)




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