LAW 7174 - Advanced Comparative Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course examines theoretical and practical issues in Comparative Law. It challenges students to develop a critical perspective on Comparative Law as an academic discipline and on families of legal systems; it considers different methods of comparative legal analysis; it emphasises the impact of societal values upon legal systems and examines law understood as divine revelation and law as a human creation (exemplified by an analysis of the roots of European and North American law and a survey of the history and present day practice of Islamic law); it reflects on the differences between codified and uncodified law, highlighting prominent features of civil law and common law systems.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7174
    Course Advanced Comparative Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 7177 or its equivalent for non-law graduates
    Incompatible LAW 7024
    Course Description This course examines theoretical and practical issues in Comparative Law. It challenges students to develop a critical perspective on Comparative Law as an academic discipline and on families of legal systems; it considers different methods of comparative legal analysis; it emphasises the impact of societal values upon legal systems and examines law understood as divine revelation and law as a human creation (exemplified by an analysis of the roots of European and North American law and a survey of the history and present day practice of Islamic law); it reflects on the differences between codified and uncodified law, highlighting prominent features of civil law and common law systems.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Cornelia Koch

    Cornelia Koch
    Senior Lecturer
    Ligertwood Building, room 322
    Phone: 8313 5713
    Email: cornelia.koch@adelaide.edu.au
    Staff website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/cornelia.koch
    Find selected publications on my SSRN Author page: http://ssrn.com/author=759244
    Consultation: Thursdays 3-4pm or by appointment
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    General academic learning outcomes:

    (1) To promote in students a more complete understanding of their own legal systems;

    (2) To employ the methods of jurisprudence and legal history in order to deepen students’ understanding not just of their own law, but of law as such;

    (3) To develop in students a sense of history and chronology in relation to the evolution of major legal institutions in
    some of the world’s most important jurisdictions;

    (4) To develop in students a critical approach to the virtues and imperfections of concepts employed by legal systems in formulating legal rules and principles;

    (5) To introduce students to foreign legal cultures;

    (6) To lessen unreflective national prejudice and to improve international understanding.

    Professional learning outcomes:

    (7) To prepare students for the performance of tasks involved in law reform projects, whether these involve legal innovation, harmonization or the unification of their domestic law;

    (8) To impart to students the forensic skills needed to apply foreign legal rules, principles and provisions which are attracted by conflicts principles;

    (9) To prepare students for issues that may arise when they communicate with foreign lawyers.



    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 4, 7, 8
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 6, 7, 8, 9
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 7, 8
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 2, 4, 6
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no prescribed textbook for this course. A complete set of reading materials will be issued to students on MyUni. MyUni can be found at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/myuni/.
    Recommended Resources
    Some important works are on reserve in the Law Library. Students may find them useful as additional reading and for the completion of their research assignment.

    Should students want to refer to an introductory text, the following is recommended:
    Martin Vranken, Fundamentals of European Civil Law (Federation Press, 2nd ed, 2010) Chapters 1-6, 9, 10 (2 copies on reserve in Law Library)

    The Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd ed, 2010) (available electronically at http://mulr.law.unimelb.edu.au/go/AGLC3 and in hard copy in the Law Library and for purchase at Unibooks)
    Online Learning
    Additional web-links, further resources, assessment, important messages, topic notes, power point slides, case studies and other materials relating to the course will be placed on MyUni throughout the course.
    You should check the Comparative Law course link on MyUni regularly.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course is undertaken through face-to-face class sessions to facilitate interactions between the lecturer and students. Accordingly
    there is an expectation that you will attend all of the scheduled classes.
    There will be lecture and class discussion components to the teaching and students are encouraged to be involved in the intellectual discussions and interact with each other and the lecturer as much as possible
    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 156 hours to a three unit course.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Please note: the following list of seminar topics is preliminary. A final list with relevant dates will be made available on MyUni by 16 Feb 2015.

    Course Overview and Introduction
    Why compare?
    How to compare?
    Legal comparison and its uses
    Families of legal systems
    Evaluation of differing legal solutions to social problems
    Legal history and comparative law
    Classification of Legal Systems and Comparative Law Methodology including postmodernist critique of comparative law
    The impact of values on legal systems: ideological values
    Religious and secular values
    Common law values
    Constitutionally entrenched values and their impact on legal systems
    Conflicts of values, particularly in multi-cultural societies
    Comparative Law in the Courts
    Religious elements: The Law of God in Western countries
    The Roman law legacy
    The common law legacy
    Introduction to the origins of legal systems in Muslim countries
    The codification movement
    Human rights as effective elements of government

  • 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 Item     Worth   Due Date                                     Individual/Group        Graduate Attributes

    Research Assignment 50%    Due Monday 11 May 2015            individual                      4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

    Seminar Presentation 20%    To be determined with students  individual or group        2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

    Online Examination     20%    9 April 2015                                  individual                      1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

    Seminar Participation  10%    All seminars                                  individual                      1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

    There are four components of assessment for this course. Each part of the assessment scheme is compulsory. This means that if any one of the items of assessment is not undertaken/submitted, the marks assigned for that assessment will be irrevocably lost, and the final mark obtainable will be reduced by that amount.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    You are expected to attend all classes, however allowance will be made where you have missed no more than one for unforeseen circumstances such as illness, transport difficulties, work and family demands etc. You are strongly encouraged to speak with your lecturer if you have any particular difficulties with regularly attending. Marks are awarded for class participation which includes attendance.

    PRESENTATION OF ASSIGNMENTS
    The assignment must be written in prose style (using complete sentences), adhere to grammatical rules and use correct spelling. It should be typed in Times New Roman font, using 1.5 or double spaced paragraphs and 12pt font size. The pages must be numbered and the margins should be at least 2.5 cm wide. The essay should include a table of contents and a bibliography.

    All written work in the Law School is required to comply with, The Australian Guide to Legal Citation available at http://mulr.law.unimelb.edu.au/files/aglcdl.pdf. Hard copies of The Australian Guide to Legal Citation are on Reserve in the Law Library and can also be purchased from UniBooks. Please make sure you have looked at this before you submit any written work.
    Assessment Detail
    Students choosing to use this course to satisfy the requirements of the substantial research piece of scholarship for their program must undertake the required disciplinary research and produce a 7,000-8,000 word essay which will be assessed against publication standards. This essay will replace the research assignment mentioned below.

    (I) RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT (50% of the final result)

    This aspect of the assessment will provide students with feedback regarding their level of understanding of the course material and their research, written communication and critical thinking skills.

    Students must submit a 3000 word essay. Some topics will be suggested by the course co-ordinator, but students are encouraged to select their own topics with the cooperation and approval of the co-ordinator. Topics chosen by students must be approved by 23 March 2015. The deadline for submission is Monday 11 May 2015 at 2pm.

    Assessment Criteria
    • level of insight and innovative thought
    • depth of analysis and level of critical examination of the issues raised
    • clarity of expression
    • logical planning and sequence
    • evidence of comprehensive research and consideration of the relevant literature
    • demonstrated understanding of the comparative law method
    • demonstrated understanding of relevant legal materials
    • correct application of relevant material
    • overall presentation, including correct grammar, spelling and punctuation
    • use of resources in formulating the paper including proper acknowledgment and correct referencing

    Fail 0 – 49
    Does not develop coherent and rational arguments; demonstrates fundamental errors of understanding of key legal principles and concepts; little evidence of research to support arguments; demonstrates limited analytical and evaluative skills

    Pass 50 – 64
    Demonstrates a basic understanding of the relevant legal material eg legislation, cases and treaties; applies core texts and materials; arguments rational and coherent; adheres to referencing requirements

    Credit 65 – 74
    Demonstrates a high level of understanding of the relevant legal materials; has a thorough understanding of course materials; arguments are well constructed with appropriate supporting referencing; demonstrates some critical legal thinking and evaluative skills

    Distinction 75 – 84
    A very high standard of understanding of the relevant legal materials with some original and sophisticated perspectives included; paper demonstrates high level insight; broad ranging research undertaken; evidence of high level of critical thinking; well developed analytical and evaluative skills

    High Distinction 85 - 100
    Outstanding level of understanding and interpretation demonstrated; arguments are compelling and well supported by relevant authorities; student has undertaken broad ranging research and demonstrated original and sophisticated thinking especially in relation to difficult areas of legal application; highly developed written communication skills demonstrated.

    Feedback: by 1 June 2015

    (II) SEMINAR PRESENTATION (20% of the final result)

    This aspect of the assessment will provide students with feedback regarding their level of understanding of the course material and their oral communication and critical thinking skills.

    Each student will be assigned a topic and class date on which he or she will have to give a presentation to the class. A number of students will give their presentations at the Comparative Law Symposium that will take place on Saturday 2 May 2015. Students will be provided with readings for their topic, but they are encouraged to conduct further independent research. The rest of the class will also be provided with the readings, to facilitate group discussion. Presenters will have to give a presentation on the assigned topic and lead class discussion during the seminar or symposium. Every presentation inclusive of class discussion will take 50  minutes. It is possible for two students to give a joint presentation. Details of this option will be determined with the course coordinator.

    Assessment Criteria
    • level of insight and innovative thought
    • depth of analysis and level of critical examination of the issues raised
    • clarity of expression
    • logical planning and sequence
    • evidence of comprehensive research and consideration of the relevant literature
    • demonstrated understanding of relevant legal materials
    • correct application of relevant material
    • overall presentation, including clarity of language, structure, appropriate use of visual and other aids

    Fail 0 – 49
    Does not develop coherent and rational arguments; demonstrates fundamental errors of understanding of key legal principles and concepts; demonstrates limited analytical and evaluative skills

    Pass 50 – 64
    Demonstrates a basic understanding of the relevant materials; applies core texts and materials; arguments rational and coherent

    Credit 65 – 74
    Demonstrates a high level of understanding of the relevant legal materials; has a thorough understanding of course materials and how the presentation fits within the course as a whole; arguments are well constructed; demonstrates some critical legal thinking and evaluative skills

    Distinction 75 – 84
    A very high standard of understanding of the relevant legal materials with some original and sophisticated perspectives included; presentation demonstrates high level insight; relevant research undertaken; evidence of high level of critical thinking; well developed analytical and evaluative skills

    High Distinction 85 - 100
    Outstanding level of understanding and interpretation demonstrated; arguments are compelling and well supported by relevant authorities; student has undertaken the relevant research and demonstrated original and sophisticated thinking especially in relation to difficult areas of legal application; highly developed oral communication skills demonstrated.

    Feedback: within two weeks of the date of the presentation

    (III) Online Examination (20% of the final result)

    Administered in class on Thursday 9 April 2015, conducted in a computer suite. Students will be notified of the exact location via MyUni.

    This examination will consist of multiple choice questions. It will test students’ critical understanding of the course contents. This examination will be a closed book test (60 minutes).

    The test is intended to show how well students are able to absorb efficiently and quickly information which conveys factual matters and legal considerations. The questions are intended to test the level at which the material studied has been understood and is being recalled. To avoid misunderstanding, it should be made clear that this test has nothing to do with rote learning. The questions are sufficiently complex to ensure that understanding them is, in itself, an important part of the test. Students will be given sample questions so that they know what to expect.The great advantage of this form of testing is that marking does not depend on subjective judgment. Furthermore, foreign students whose native language is not English are not at a disadvantage. The results are objective and reliable; they are usually well distributed over the whole of the available range from high distinction to failure. Rarely is there any bunching around the pass mark. The limitation of this kind of examination is that it tests only a limited range of capacities and must therefore be supplemented by other, more traditional forms of assessment (see (I), (II), (IV)).

    Feedback: immediately after the examination

    (IV) SEMINAR PARTICIPATION (10% of the final result)

    This aspect of the assessment is designed to facilitate student engagement with the course materials during the course; to ensure student understanding of the material at an early stage prior to submitting written assessment; and to facilitate development of students’ oral communication skills. Students who wish to succeed with this aspect of the assessment will need to prepare for each session by careful study of the assigned material.

    Assessment Criteria
    • attendance at classes
    • demonstrated evidence of preparation
    • demonstrated understanding of course material
    • overall contribution of information that is relevant to the subject
    • demonstrated analysis, synthesis and critical thinking
    • responsiveness to other contributions
    • use of supporting references

    Fail 0 – 49
    Failure to attend or contribute to class discussion; lack of responsiveness to questions

    Pass 50 – 64
    Regular attendance; limited contribution to class discussion; contribution to class discussion evident but not well developed

    Credit 65 – 74
    Regular attendance; frequent and thoughtful contribution to class discussion; sound level of critical thinking and knowledge demonstrated

    Distinction 75 – 84
    Regular attendance; frequent contribution to class discussion of a highly developed nature – well supported by references; demonstrating high level of critical thinking

    High Distinction 85 – 100
    Regular attendance; outstanding level of contribution to class discussion in terms of understanding of course material, responsiveness to other contributions and use of supporting references

    Feedback: 8 May 2015
    Submission
    All assignments in this course are to be submitted electronically through Turnitin. By submitting your assignment electronically you are agreeing to the following:
    I declare that all material in this assessment is my own work except where there is clear acknowledgement and reference to the work of others. I have read the Policy on Cheating in Examinations and Related Forms of Assessment. I have also read the University's Plagiarism Policy.

    Details for electronic submission through Turnitin will be provided with the assignment instructions and on MyUni. 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 in accordance with the Law School's policy on extensions.

    Penalties:

    1. Late Submission:
    Submission penalties of 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that an assignment is late, including each day on a weekend. For example, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is one hour late, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 25 hours late, etc.

    2. Word Length:
    Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks possible per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 3,000 an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc). Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information, table of contents and bibliography. Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.

    Turnaround time:
    The assignment for this course will be returned to students within 3 weeks of the submission date. Marked assignments with feedback will be available electronically on MyUni.
    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.

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

  • 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
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • 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.