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School of Law

Foundations of Comparative Law

Course Code:
15PLAH031
Unit value:
0.5
Taught in:
Term 1

Comparative Law is an academic discipline concerning similarity, difference and interaction in legal systems.

Similarity, difference and interaction are key elements of subjects which concern legal phenomena extending beyond one legal system, ie practically all the Master subjects studied in the SOAS School of Law. So this course gives you a tool box which will enable you to acquire a considerably better understanding of a great many subjects.

The subjects studied may vary from year to year, but usually include: Introduction to the Subject; Globalisation and Comparative Law; Fundamental Concepts; Methodology; Harmonisation; Legal Transplants; Legal Pluralism; Civil and Common Law Overview; and Spread of Western-style Law.

Please note: in this course, all students are expected to think for themselves and participate actively. Class attendance is compulsory. Preparation is also compulsory: if it is inadequate, a student may be asked to leave, be marked as absent, or both. All students need to attend the first lecture. This teaching method is not for everyone. If you have any concerns, ask the course convenor.

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

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course students should be able to demonstrate:

  • a sound knowledge of the foundation concepts of, and principal debates in, the discipline of Comparative Law, enabling students to recognise comparative law issues and to analyse them using the conceptual tools of the discipline;
  • that, in so doing, students have developed critical ways of thinking about legal studies; and
  • knowledge of selected issues in comparative law relevant to Asia and Africa and Asian and African diasporic communities.

Method of assessment

  • Coursework: 10% (1000 words)
  • Unseen Written Examination: 90%

Suggested reading

Siems, M (2014) Comparative Law Cambridge University Press