Accueil > Topics in law


Type d'enseignement : Lecture and tutorials

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 48

Language of tuition : English


Students should be aware that complex legal terminology or “jargon” will be minimized in this seminar, although some basic legal vocabulary will be presented in class lectures.

Course Description

By the end of the seminar, students should be able to understand the major elements of the criminal justice system in France (a “civil law” system) as compared to the criminal justice system of the United States (a “common law” system) as well as be able to evaluate the advantages and the weaknesses of each system. This seminar will examine how the historical, cultural and political developments of each country have shaped their respective criminal judicial systems and what future trends may be foreseeable in each separate system respectively and collectively on an international scale.


TOMLINSON, Marie Hélène (Enseignante)

Pedagogical format

This seminar will be comprised of lectures and in-class discussion of print material, video and/or other media. Active student participation in class discussions is essential for the course to function. This seminar will include a visit to the various courthouses of Poitiers, and if possible, a brief “guest lecture” by a French judge and or attorney.

Course validation

The overall assessment will be divided into an end-of-semester examination (30%) and session work (60%). Session work assignments will consist in an individual presentation and in a 5 page dissertation to be handed in at the end of the semester. The end of semester examination will be composed of a general essay. Each student will be required to report on their personal and group work as well as to participate in class discussion. Class participation will constitute 10% of the overall grade.


Reading and preparation of class material. Presentation assignments.

Required reading

  • ROBERSON and DAS, An Introduction to Comparative Legal Models of Criminal Justice, CRC Press, 2008
  • BELL, BOYRON and WHITTAKER, Principles of French Law, Oxford University Press, 2008
  • PORTO, Brian, May It Please the Court, Judicial Processes and Politics in America, CRC Press 2009