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Introduction to Comparative Law


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Daniele D'Alvia
  • Assessment: a 4000-word essay

Module description

The focus of this module is to provide tools and knowledge to read and to understand cases, statutes and legal documents from other jurisdictions. It will begin by looking at different legal systems (Civil Law countries such as Italy, France, Germany, and Islamic Legal Systems) and then it will move to compare them to UK legislative structures. In so doing, the course is broken down into ten different introductory topics (comparative concepts/foundations, legal disciplines, procedural distinctions, etc) devoted to exploring different legal systems. The module will also take into account international law as well as the interconnections between comparative law and private international law.

Indicative Module Content

  • public and private law in comparative legal systems
  • legal transplants and legal formants
  • procedural comparative law
  • Islamic finance and west countries financial law
  • comparing contract law
  • comparing family law: legal complexities of cohabitation
  • comparing company law and listing rules
  • reading different constitutions
  • constitutional rights and judicial review in comparison
  • comparing judicial reasoning.

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide you with an understanding of the following issues:

  • comparative law methodology; justificatory arguments and theoretical frameworks of comparative law
  • key differentiation of materials and case law and the relationship of levels of lawmaking in different jurisdictions
  • the meaning, technique and nature of comparative legal enterprises.

Recommended reading

  • Orucu, The Enigma of Comparative Law (Brill, 2004).
  • Orucu and Nelken (eds) Comparative Law: A Handbook (Hart Publishing, 2007).
  • Zweigert, Kötz and Weir, An Introduction to Comparative Law (Clarendon Press, 1998).

Suggested Pre-reading

  • Mathias Siems, Comparative Law, (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
  • Andras Cahn and David C. Donald, Comparative Company Law: Text and Cases on the Laws Governing Corporations in Germnay, the UK and the USA, (Cambridge University Press, 2010).