Comparative Law

Most courses in law school are about U.S. law. This 7-week course is different. Convening from early January to late February, it focuses on foreign law. Obviously, foreign law matters to all U.S. lawyers operating on the international scene, for example in international business or in international arbitration. And just as evidently, foreign law is very important within national law. Indeed, a huge quantity of legal situations in the United States involve foreign law (whether it be a contract entered into in New York governed by German law or a deceased person from San Francisco bequeathing real estate in France or the victims of a massive chemical explosion in India suing in U.S. courts). More controversially, there are many (including a number of U.S. Supreme Court Justices) who claim that, in an age of globalization when the United States is more interconnected with the rest of the world than ever before, U.S. law ought to derive inspiration from foreign law, for instance in constitutional litigation involving the death penalty or the rights of sexual minorities. This course will apply itself to this debate and discuss to what extent foreign law can or must act as persuasive authority in the United States ¿ in other words, why, if at all, foreign law ought to matter. This course will also consider two primordial questions. First, how can a U.S. lawyer get to know foreign law despite all the cultural differences arising across laws? Secondly, to what extent is meaningful understanding of foreign law possible? As regards these issues, various theoretical topics will be raised from an interdisciplinary perspective and some case-studies will be considered. Teaching: A combination of lectures and seminar discussion. Readings: Texts to be assigned in class (all materials will be made available electronically). Assessment: ¿Take-home¿ examination (regular class attendance and good class participation will be considered by the instructor to improve the examination result). There is the possibility of substituting a seminar paper with the prior approval of the instructor. Prerequisites: None (specifically, no prior knowledge of foreign law or of a foreign language is expected). Class will meet every Monday and Wednesday from 4pm-5:50pm for 7 weeks in LM 101: January: 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29 February: 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19

Catalog Number: CONPUB 722L

Course History

Spring 2014
Title: Comparative Law
Faculty: Legrand, Pierre (courses  |  homepage)
Section: 1     Credits: 2.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 25