LAW 2508 - Comparative Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

Students are introduced to comparative law as a method of legal enquiry, which is of significant import to the cosmopolitan lawyer who often requires knowledge of more than one legal system. Students consider the practical aims and theoretical underpinnings of the comparative legal method and examine the historical development of the process of comparing rules, principles, and institutions of different countries. Emphasis is placed on the contemporary use of the comparative method in both public and private law by legal actors such as lawyers, judges, and legislators. Students develop an international perspective by making substantive connections between the Australian common law and a range of legal traditions, questioning whether national legal systems and institutions are converging or whether differing economic, political, and social contexts preserve legal diversity.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 2508
    Course Comparative Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 1501
    Incompatible LAW 3016
    Assumed Knowledge LAW 1502 & LAW 1503
    Restrictions Available to LLB students only
    Course Description Students are introduced to comparative law as a method of legal enquiry, which is of significant import to the cosmopolitan lawyer who often requires knowledge of more than one legal system. Students consider the practical aims and theoretical underpinnings of the comparative legal method and examine the historical development of the process of comparing rules, principles, and institutions of different countries. Emphasis is placed on the contemporary use of the comparative method in both public and private law by legal actors such as lawyers, judges, and legislators. Students develop an international perspective by making substantive connections between the Australian common law and a range of legal traditions, questioning whether national legal systems and institutions are converging or whether differing economic, political, and social contexts preserve legal diversity.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Lorne Neudorf

    Course Coordinator and Lecturer:



    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    Comparative Law seeks to assist students in developing skills in the mining of a large body of relevant domestic and foreign legal materials, which requires students to locate, comprehend, analyse, and interpret primary and secondary legal sources.  Students will learn to engage in the comparative study of other jurisdictions through a systematic process that begins by identifying the aims and purposes of the comparison and constructing a methodological approach that best achieves those objectives.  By introducing students to the major legal traditions of the world, students will learn to reflect critically on both domestic and foreign legal rules, principles, concepts, and institutions.

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Analyse the foundational principles of comparative law, undertake (self-directed) legal research intermediate, and evaluate legal information.
    2. Apply comparative law to complex problems/ issues, critique the operation comparative law from a theoretical perspective as part of a team.
    3. Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written arguments for a legal and professional audience.
    4. Conduct legal research and analysis both independently and cooperatively in an academic environment.
    5. Analyse the impact of comparative law from comparative and international perspectives, and in the context of social and cultural diversity.
    6. Reflect on their abilities to effectively undertake work as a member of a team.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2; 3; 4
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    2; 3; 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    4
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    2; 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Required Materials
    Texts
    • H. Patrick Glenn, Legal Traditions of the World (Oxford University Press, 5th ed, 2015); and
    • Mathias Siems, Comparative Law (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed, 2018).
    Additional Materials
    Additional materials, such as journal articles and excerpts from other texts, will be assigned as required reading.  Further details and instructions on accessing these materials will be provided on MyUni.
    Online Learning
    The course website is hosted on MyUni: http://www.myuni.adelaide.edu.au

    Students are expected to regularly check the course website for announcements, lecture slides and required readings outside the two textbooks.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Students will take 36 hours of learning and teaching in this course.  The class will meet once per week for a 3-hour block.

    Classes are conducted through a combination of lectures and seminars.  Students who miss any classes are responsible for securing notes from their colleagues.  Only the lecture portion of each class will be recorded.

    Lectures (1.5-2 hours).  Lectures seek to present legal topics and clarify, focus, and extend student understanding of the course materials.  PowerPoint slides and other materials that are used during lectures will be uploaded to the course website following the class, but are not substitutes for class notes.  While lectures will be recorded and posted to the course website, they are not themselves substitutes for class notes.

    Class discussions are encouraged to explore key concepts from the course materials.  In order to develop essential skills in legal analysis and the verbal presentation of arguments, students are expected to attend each class having read and given thought to the assigned readings.  Students may be called upon during class and therefore should be prepared to discuss topics based on the assigned readings
    from the course materials.

    Seminars (1-1.5 hours).  Through in-depth discussion and an exchange of views, seminars will provide opportunities for students to reinforce knowledge acquired from the assigned readings and lectures, and to think critically about comparative law and different legal traditions.  During seminars, all students will be expected to engage with ideas and perspectives from the course materials and participate as directed by the discussion leader.  While a discussion leader will be assigned for each seminar class, all students are expected to attend and participate.

    Classroom etiquette.  Classroom discussions may occasionally grapple with contentious and difficult topics where a range of
    different views and perspectives are expressed.  As is expected of a legal professional, students should be prepared to introduce, explain and defend their conclusions in the face of probing questions and challenges.  While a lively and spirited discussion is encouraged, students are expected to respect different views and perspectives to ensure that the classroom environment is one where all students feel comfortable to participate.  In order to maintain this environment, it is important that discussions are carried out in the appropriately respectful language, tone and manner.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (i.e., those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies.  This means that you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours of private study each week per 3-unit course in addition to your regular classes.
    Learning Activities Summary

    Week

    Topic

    1

    Thinking about Comparative Law

    2

    Culture, Transplants & Development

    3

    Domains of Comparative Law

    4

    Understanding Legal Traditions

    5

    Chthonic Legal Tradition

    6

    Talmudic Legal Tradition

    7

    Civil Law Tradition

    8

    Islamic Legal Tradition

    9

    Common Law Tradition

    10

    Hindu Legal Tradition

    11

    Confucian Legal Tradition

    12

    Reflections & Review

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Length Redeemable Learning Outcome
    Reflections Individual assesment (required) 1 to be submitted during weeks 1-6; 1 to be submitted during weeks 7-12 10% (5% each) 2 pages (approximately 1000 words) No 1
    Seminar presentation Group assessment (required) Schedule will be posted on MyUni 20% 1 hour No 2, 4, 6
    Examination Individual assessment
    (required)
    During exam period 70% 3 hours No 3, 5
    Assessment Detail
    • Reflections (10% of final grade; required)

      It is important for students to attend class prepared to engage with the course materials.  Each student is therefore required to hand in a maximum two-page (about 1000 words maximum), single-spaced 12 point font personal reflection on any aspect of the assigned readings for the relevant week at the start of class, twice in the semester.  The reflection should engage with the assigned materials for the week in a creative and thoughtful way.  No independent legal research is required.

      The first reflection must be submitted at the start of any class between weeks 1 and 6.  The second reflection must be submitted at the start of any class between weeks 7 and 12.

      Each reflection is worth up to 5% of a student's final grade for a total of 10% of each student's final grade.

      Reflections are to be printed and submitted to the lecturer in printed (hard) copy at the start of the relevant class.  No electronic copies (e-mail, course website, etc.) will be accepted.

      Reflections are to be formatted according to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    • Seminar presentation (20% of final grade; required)

      Each student is required to lead one seminar class during the semester as part of a group.  Once groups are identified for each week, students will need to work together to develop a presentation and prepare to lead the seminar discussion.  The seminar will be approximately 1 hour in duration.

      Each seminar must begin with an introductory presentation which leads to class discussion and interaction.  In terms of its content, the presentation should extend or elaborate the topic for that week by introducing new research or ideas.  Students can focus on a particular issue of interest from the readings or engage with a broader aspect of the topic.  For example, in the week relating to the Confucian legal tradition, the group might present research on Chinese contract law and compare it to Australian contract law.  In developing the presentation and preparing the seminar discussion, students will be expected to draw upon relevant materials beyond the assigned readings.  Discussion leaders must use PowerPoint slides or distribute materials to the class.

      A maximum two page outline of the presentation and a printed copy of the PowerPoint slides must be handed in at the conclusion of the presentation.

      While students are free to engage in independent research, a list of supplementary materials for each week will be made available through the course site.

    • Examination (70% of final grade; required)

      The format of the examination will be an open-book, three hour examination based on the assigned readings, lectures and seminar discussions.  Further details on the examination will be provided in the review session held at the end of term.
    Submission

    Reflections are the only submitted written work during the course of the semester.

    Each reflection is a maximum two-page, single-spaced 12 point font personal reflection on any aspect of the assigned readings for the relevant week.  Reflections should engage with the assigned materials for the week in a creative and thoughtful way.  No independent legal research is required.

    The first reflection must be submitted at the start of any class between weeks 1 and 6.  The second reflection must be submitted at the start of any class between weeks 7 and 12.

    Reflections are to be printed and submitted to the lecturer in printed (hard) copy at the start of the relevant class. No electronic copies (e-mail, course website, etc.) will be accepted.

    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    Extensions: Requests for extensions must be made electronically according to law school policy. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.

    Penalties:

    1. Late Submission: As students have the choice of 6 weeks to hand in each of the two required reflections (first reflection due at the start of any class between weeks 1 and 6; second reflection due at the start of any class between weeks 7 and 12), no late submissions will be accepted.
    2. Word Length: Reflections which exceed two pages will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks available per 100 words or part thereof that is in excess of two pages.

    Turnaround time: The reflections will be returned to students the week following submission. Feedback for presentations will be provided the week following the presentation.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    Moderation
    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.