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School of Law

Foundations of Comparative Law

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Term 1

In today’s globalised world, legal orders continually interact and intersect. A knowledge of comparative law is essential for everyone dealing with this interaction. The aim of this course is to provide a sound basis in the foundational concepts and the main debates in comparative law, with particular reference to selected issues relevant to Asia and Africa and Asian and African diasporic communities. The subjects studied may vary from year to year and may include topics not included in the following list: theory, the history of the discipline, globalisation and comparative law, fundamental concepts, methodology, convergence, harmonisation and uniformity, legal diffusion/infusion, legal pluralism, legal systems, and a selected substantive area of law in comparative perspective.

This is a guided study course and teaching is based on active student participation. You are expected to think for yourself and study independently. Attendance is therefore compulsory at all classes, as is thorough preparation. If you are not adequately prepared, you may be asked to leave, or be marked as absent, or both. It is important to attend the first lecture, when you will be fully briefed on the course requirements. This teaching method is not to everyone's taste. If you have any doubts or concerns, talk to the course convenor before you register for the course.

Students may not take both this course and Comparative Commercial Law 15PLAC175.

Attendance and performance requirements are strict. In particular, students must attend all classes.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course a student should be able to demonstrate:

  1. a sound knowledge of the foundation concepts of and principal debates in, comparative legal studies, enabling her to recognise comparative law issues and to analyse them using the conceptual tools of comparative law;
  2. that, in so doing, she has developed critical ways of thinking about legal studies - in the case of students with a law background, this will nearly always involve breaking the mould of their socialisation into their municipal system; and
  3. knowledge of selected issues in comparative law relevant to Asia and Africa and Asian and African diasporic communities.

Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: 90% unseen exam & 10% coursework (one essay of 1,000 words).