LAW 7174 - Advanced Comparative Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

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 Students without a Bachelor of Laws must have completed LAW 7177
    Incompatible LAW 7024
    Assessment Assessment in this course will include a combination of two or more of the following: interim written assessment; in-class presentation; assessment of contribution to class discussion; examination (invigilated or take-home); and/or research essay.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Cornelia Koch

    Cornelia Koch (Course Coordinator)
    Senior Lecturer
    Ligertwood Building, room 3.22
    Phone: 8313 5713
    Staff website:

    Jessica Viven-Wilksch
    Ligertwood Building, room 2.09
    Phone: 8313 4676
    Staff website: 

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
    1. Undertake self-directed research in comparative law, analyse and synthesise comparative law information and materials.
    2. Apply the comparative law method to complex issues of law reform, and critique the operation of law from a comparative perspective.
    3. Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written and oral arguments for a legal audience.
    4. Conduct and analyse legal, historical and jurisprudential research and effectively communicate resulting ideas orally and in writing.
    5. Analyse the impact of law on social issues from a comparative legal perspective and in the context of social and cultural diversity.
    6. Reflect on their ability to effectively undertake comparative legal work, discuss sensitive issues and share ideas with a broader audience.

    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)
    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
    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
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    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
    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
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    This intensive course is taught utilising the flipped classroom method. Students will have to watch a set of videos produced for this course before coming to class. These videos will be published on MyUni.

    There is no prescribed textbook for this course. A set of reading materials will be issued to students on MyUni. MyUni can be found at
    Recommended Resources
    Some important works are on reserve in the Law Library. Students may find them useful as additional reading. A list will be made available on MyUni.

    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)

    Another useful Comparative Law text is

    H Patrick Glenn, Legal Traditions of the World (Oxford University Press, 5th ed, 2014)

    The Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd ed, 2010) (available electronically at and in hard copy in the Law Library and for purchase at Unibooks)
    Online Learning
    Lecture videos will be made available on MyUni. It is crucial that students watch these in preparation of the course. The content of the videos will not be repeated in the lecture, but the in-class discussion and student presentations will be based on prior knowledge of the videos.

    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.

    You should check the Advanced Comparative Law course link on MyUni regularly.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This intensive course is held on the following dates: 
    Thursday evenings, 5-8pm on 8, 15, 22, 29 March and 19, 26 April
    Friday, 4 May, 9am - 5pm

    There is an expectation that students will attend all of the scheduled classes.

    On 4 May 2018 from 9am - 5pm the class will present a Research Symposium that is open to the public. A number of students will have the opportunity to give presentations at this Symposium.

    Classes are based on class discussion and student presentations. Students are encouraged to interact with each other and the teachers as much as possible.

    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.

    Contact time: This intensive course runs over seven days on 8, 15, 22, 29 March and 19, 26 April from 5 - 8pm, and on 4 May from 9am - 5pm.

    Preparation time: In addition to attending formal classes, students are expected to do substantial independent work to prepare for classes and to complete the course assignments, including doing the prescribed readings, answering the seminar questions and watching the pre-recorded videos.
    Learning Activities Summary
    This course covers the following topics:

    Comparative law methodology

    Classification of legal systems

    Legal history and comparative law

    The impact of values on legal systems

    Conflicts of values in multicultural societies

    Legal Transplants

    The origins of Western legal systems:
         The law of God in Western countries
         The Roman law legacy
         The common law legacy

    The origins of legal systems in Muslim countries

    The impact of the Enlightenment on legal systems:
         The codification movement
         Human rights as effective elements of government

    Comparative law in the courts

    Indigenous Law and Legal Pluralism
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    There is no Small Group Discovery Experience in this course.
  • 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 Due Date Weighting
    Length Redeemable Learning Outcomes
    Online Examination 26 April, 5pm 30% 1 hour no 1, 2, 5
    Seminar Presentation Various, during class time, to be determined with the course coordinator 20% 40 minutes no 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Research Assignment 21 May, 2pm 40% 3500 words no 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Seminar Participation All seminars 10% n/a no 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students are expected to attend all classes. Marks are awarded for class participation which includes attendance.
    Attendance at the Comparative Law Symposium on 4 May 2018 is compulsory because at this public symposium students in the course will showcase their research to a broader audience by giving presentations on a legal topic of current interest in comparative perspective.

    The research 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 cover page, 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
    Assessment Detail
    (I) ONLINE EXAMINATION (30% of the final result)

    Administered in class on Thursday 26 April 2018 at 5 - 6pm. The venue will be announced on 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 in advance 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 forms of assessment (see (II) -  (IV)).

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

    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 Friday 4 May 2018.
    Students will be provided with some 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 40 minutes.

    (III) RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT (40% of the final result)

    Students must submit a 3500 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 can be related to the seminar presentation given by students (see (II) above). Topics chosen by students must be approved by Thursday 29 March 2018. The deadline for submission is Monday 21 May 2018.

    (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, and to facilitate development of students’ oral communication skills. Students who wish to succeed in this aspect of the assessment will need to prepare for each session by careful study of the assigned material, including the lecture videos.
    Students will be provided with submission instructions as part of the assessment instructions for each item of assessment which will be made available on MyUni.

    The research assignment in this course is to be submitted electronically on MyUni 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 on MyUni.

    All written work in the Law School is required to comply with The Australian Guide to Legal Citation available at

    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.

    Late Submission Penalties: When an assessment is submitted after the due date, without an extension, 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that the assignment is late, including each day on a weekend. For example, an essay that is submitted after the due date and time but within the first 24 hour period, and that has been graded at 63%, will have 5% deducted, for a final grade of 58%. An essay that is more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc.

    Word Length Penalties: 5% of the total mark possible for a written assessment will be deducted for every 100 words (or part thereof) by which it exceeds a stipulated word limit. For example, a 3,000 word essay graded at 63% will have 5% deducted if it is between 3,001 and 3,100 words long for a final mark of 58%. If the essay is between 3,101 and 3,200 words long, 10% will be deducted for a final mark of
    53%, etc. Word limits include all words in the text, in headings, in quotations, but exclude citations in footnotes. Any separate cover page, table of contents, bibliography or list of sources is excluded from the word limit. If the word limit is misstated, this may be regarded as academic dishonesty.
    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).

    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 ( 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.