2846.19 - Comparative Law

Course number
Comparative Law
Upper secondary education or the equivalent.
The purpose of the course is to stimulate the students’ ability to see their own legal system and legal culture from a distance as a contingent reality more than a necessary reality. This is sought by developing the students’ ability to think as comparativists, to be self-conscious about different roles that comparativists occupy, and to develop an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the comparative appoach.
The course is divided into three parts: The first part has a more explicit methodological and historical approach, and tries to cut out or classify different approaches, roles and mentalities of the comparativist. This is done on the basis of the writings of leading theorists, and also by focusing on the comparison of real world constitutions and constitutional systems. The second part introduces the students to the theory of policy diffusion, legal-institutional borrowing and legal transplants, and the causes and problems of institutional isomorphism in the context of small quasi-state societies in their relation to larger metropolitan states. The third part focuses on different comparative approaches to statutory interpretation. The differences and similarites of legal cultures, both regarding analysis and discource (justification), is illustrated through the eyes of statutory interpretation in countries representing diverse legal cultures.
Learning and teaching approaches
Approx 40-50 hours class teaching (confrontation). The course consists of lectures, student presentations, critical discussion, and the application of assigned readings. The three home assignments, see below, integrate teaching and assessment.
Learning outcomes
After completion of the course, the students are expected to be able to: - Explain how comparative law can be used to understand different legal systems of the world. - Understand the theory and foundational principles of comparative law. - Reflect on how the comparative legal method enables lawyers to develop an independent and detached view of their own legal world. - Apply insights from comparative law, i.a. the theory on legal transplants, in analyzing real life examples of legal transplants. - Present and formulate one's own independent perspectives on comparative law in concise and cohesive written language.
Assessment method
Examination consists in three home assignments in line with the formative approach to assessment. A written assignment is delivered early in the course, a second at the middle, and a third home assignment is to be delivered at the end of the course. The first home assignment will constitute 40% of the grade, the latter assignments 30% each. It is a precondition for passing the course that all home assignments are passed. Only one combined grade will be given for all three exam components.
Marking scale
A diversity of atexts from leading comparativists in law. In addition there are constitutional documents, judicial opinions etc. Collected materials amounts to approx 750-800 pages. Not all readings are obligatory. See details in Syllabus available on the Moodle network prior to teaching.
Bárður Larsen