SOAS University of London

School of Law

Legal Systems of Asia and Africa

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Full Year

This module introduces students to the study of comparative law, and immerses them in specific cases studies of tradtional and modern legal systems of Asia and Africa. The course will begin by introducing students to the basics of comparative legal methodology, and understanding the important jurisprudential debates in this area. The bulk of the module then focuses on distinct legal "families", as well as the legal regimes of specific Asian and African countries.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the nature and practice of Asian and African Legal Systems
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the relationship between the different sources of the law and State law
  • Critically understand and appreciate the importance of different sources of legal authority
  • Utilise relevant materials and information on international, regional and domestic legal systems
  • Synthesise and critically asses the content of domestic law and in particular State law
  • Conduct independent legal research into different legal systems and their relationship to one another
  • Communcate complext ideas and concepts in written and oral form


  • Weekly 2 hour lecture
  • 1 hour tutorial (please see syllabus for details of when tutorials are scheduled)

Method of assessment

Coursework: 30% (3000 words)
Unseen written exam: 70%

Suggested reading

  • Zweigert and Kotz, An Introduction to Comparative Law (3rd edn, OUP 1998)
  • Orucu and Nelken (eds), Comparative Law: A Handbook (Hart 2007)
  • Watson, Legal Transplants (Scottish Academic Press 1974)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules