Introduction to comparative law

ldroi1310  2021-2022  Louvain-la-Neuve

Introduction to comparative law
3.00 credits
30.0 h

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.
Main themes
1. General Part: a general survey of some major legal traditions of the world (chtonic law, religious laws: Hindu, Jewish, Islamic traditions, Western legal systems etc.). 2. Special Part: detailed studies of specific institutions of the Anglo-American legal system - these may vary from one year to another. This part of the course is taught following a case-method
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 The aim of the course is twofold: (a) introducing the student to some major legal systems and to a comparative approach combining several legal traditions; (b) assisting the student in becoming acquainted with the skills required for attending lectures and presenting a written examination in a foreign language (English), and specifically in the context of legal studies.
Contents: (see also above, 2.) 1.General Part;  2. Special Part .
Teaching methods:
Part 1: An outline of the main features of some Western and non-Western legal traditions (chtonic, Hindu, Chinese, Talmudic, Islamic etc.), including if possible each time a section on practical issues raised by the application of a non-Western legal norm in a Western forum.
Part 2: Systematic outlines of selected topics (which may vary from one year to another), based on the analysis and discussion of statutes, cases, white papers, legal literature.
Teaching methods
Both the general part and the special part aim at providing information and at raising issues. Legal issues, in the teacher's approach, should always be understood in the light of the underlying conflicts of interests. Conflicts of interests, in turn,  allow a more insightful comparative approach, as they are not (entirely) defined by the conceptual framework of a national legal system. Moreover,  the lecturer insists on looking at jurisprudence in its original conception (in the Western tradition), i.e. as the science of good public governance.
Purely informative lectures may be partly offered in the format of podcasts and documents posted on Moodle. The documents may include legal documents (statutes, case law, legal literature...) and non-legal documents (e.g. articles or videos published in the media world-wide).
Live lectures (whether in the class-room or on-line) will mostly focus on discussing the conflicts of interests at stake, and how such conflicts can be managed through legal channels (the lecturer insists on the concept of conflict management, rather than conflict resolution, which is more often than not a legal fiction not recognised as such). The purpose is that such lectures will facilitate interactive discussions between the lecturer and the class. Ideally, such informed discussion should be based on preliminary reading of material provided by the lecturer on Moodle.
All classes, discussions and examinations will be entirely in English. Obviously, for a course on comparative law, documents written in a different language may occasionally be referred to. A reading knowledge of French will in any event be a prerequisite.
During the sanitary crisis in Spring 2020, the lecturer and students have experienced that is was perfectly feasible to switch to a system of all-inclusive teaching and examination on-line. Depending on the circumstances, in situ lectures will be given priority during the academic year 2020-2021. If possible and if need be, a hybrid system blending in situ lectures and on-line teaching will be put in place. Only if absolutely necessary, the course will again switch entirely to on-line methods.
Evaluation methods
The normal modus examinandi will be that of a written examination (in English) which will probe both the student's knowledge of the materials discussed during classes and the student's insight in the issues at stake. The written examination may, depending on the circumstances, be organised in situ (usually, in a lecture-hall) in the presence of the student, or on-line. In some cases, e.g. when only small numbers of students are involved, the examination may take the form of an oral examination.
The examination takes place after the teaching term, during the examination periods determined by the university and the faculty.
The student's understanding of the course may include questions on a text which has not been mentioned or discussed during class, but which is related to the issues discussed during the course. Examples of examination questions will be posted on Moodle.
Students who spend time trhoughout term preparing the course materials and the discussion of the issues raised by the lecturer may be expected to be well prepared for dealing with  fresh materials presented at the examination.
As the questions will be in English, answers will also be expected to be given in English.  The student's command of (legal) English may be taken into account in the overall assessment of the grade for this particular examination.
Other information
The course material may vary from year to year. If a particular textbook or other publication is compulsory material which needs to be bought, the lecturer will endeavour to provide the references at the beginning of term. Most materials, however, will be posted on Moodle. or available on the internet.
For the second term (Q2) of 2020-2021, the organisation of the lectures (whether to the whole group live in situ, or online, e.g. through TEAMS, or alternatively to smaller groups, will be decided on an ad hoc basis at the beginning of term, depending on the measures and policies of the public authorities, the university and the faculty at that time. A hybrid system combining live lectures in situ and online teaching methods is most likely to be used in order to convey most effectively the knowledge and skills expected from the students.
Online resources
Podcasts, video-clips, documents (both legal and non-legal), lecture notes etc. will be regularly posted on Moodle as the course progresses during term. Some materials to be read and used beforehand for the discussion will be provided on Moodle.
Reading material (both compulsory and recommended reading) will be posted on Moodle, partly before the beginning of term.
Faculty or entity
Force majeure
Evaluation methods
This section can be subject to last-minute modifications depending on the evolution of the Covid-19 health crisis. The evaluation takes the form of a 2-hour written examen. It consists of two open questions and thirty multiple choice questions. The exam is in principle closed book (powerpoints and notes cannot be consulted during the exam). However, the additional texts posted on Moodle and the reading of which is obligatory can c.q. must be brought to the exam.

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Bachelor in Law

Minor in Law (openness)