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ADRO 1310A - Introduction to Comparative Law

Type d'enseignement : Lecture and tutorials

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 48

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The course will consist in an introduction to law and to the differences and similarities between different legal families through the prism of the most fundamental legal principles. For such purpose, we will firstly build the conceptual theoretical bases for our analysis and deal with very first questions. We will ask ourselves, amongst others: what is law? Can we think legal norms outside of a legal system? and, how do legal norms of different sources interact within and beyond national borders? We will then look at the more important traits of the main branches of domestic law and at the hierarchy of norms within national borders. We will finally conclude the block by discussing how domestic, international and transnational norms operate in a globalized world. Our second block will be devoted to the notion of general principles of law and deal with some of the architectonical principles of every legal system. We will start by looking at the principle of good faith and one of its most controversial derivations, the prohibition of abuse of rights to then look at the principle of non- retroactivity of the law. We will close the block by studying the principle of res judicata and the principle of lis alibi pendens in the attempt to understand the interaction between different courts and tribunals. During our final sessions, we will contextualize the general principles looked at earlier and look at their application in the main different legal families. Our focus here will be on identifying the differences and similarities in the reception of these legal principles, as reflection of the particularities of each legal tradition.


DE LA COLINA, Maria (Associate)

Pedagogical format

A. Building the Conceptual Bases. Session 1: The concept of law. What makes law different from other norms? Main schools of thought: naturalism, positivism, constructivist approaches and critical legal studies. Session 2: What is a legal system? Can there be law without such? The hierarchy of domestic legal norms within the domestic law both in federal and unitary states. Session 3: Distinction between domestic, international (private and public) and transnational Law. The hierarchy between legal norms of different sources. Session 4: Distinction between private and public law. The focus will be on criminal, constitutional and administrative law and on extra-contractual and contractual liability. B. Fundamental Principles of Law and Their Application in Different Areas. Session 5: Introduction: General Principles of Law and their Cross-cutting Application in Domestic Law. Session 6: The Principle of Good Faith and the Prohibition of Abuse of Rights Session 7: The Principle of Non-retroactivity of the Law and its Derivations Session 8: The Principle of res judicata and lis alibi pendens. C. Fundamental Principles of Law and Their Application in Different Legal Families Session 9: Introduction and Brief Historical Review of the Main Legal Traditions Session 10: Civil Law Session 11: Common Law. Session 12: Islamic Law. D. Conclusion.

Course validation

Requirements and grading: - Written Final exam: 1/3 of final course mark. - Tutorial: 2/3 of final course mark (mid-term exam (60%), in-class participation (10%), presentation of a judicial/arbitral decision or an academic piece (30%).

Required reading

H. L. A Hart, The Concept of Law, Oxford University Press; 3 edition (December 29, 2012)

Additional required reading

  • R. Dworkin, Law's Empire, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; 1st edition (January 1, 1986)
  • R. Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, Harvard University Press; Fifth Printing edition (November 1, 1978)
  • L. L. Fuller, The Morality of Law, Yale University Press; Revised edition (1969)
  • H. Kelsen, Pure Theory of Law, The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. (June 30, 2009