LAW 7174 - Advanced Comparative Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

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: Associate Professor Lorne Neudorf

    Dr Lorne Neudorf (Course Coordinator)
    Telephone: 83130584 
    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
    Recommended Resources
    Please see the course site on MyUni for additional resources.
    Online Learning
    The course website is hosted on MyUni:

    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
    This intensive course is held through 4 classes on the following dates:

    • Saturday, 6 April 2019 - 10:00am to 5:00pm
    • Sunday, 7 April 2019 - 10:00am to 5:00pm
    • Saturday, 13 April 2019 - 10:00am to 5:00pm
    • Sunday, 14 April 2019 - 10:00am to 5:00pm
    There is an expectation that students will attend all of the scheduled classes.

    Each of the 4 classes will combine lectures and seminars.  Only the lecture portion of each class will be recorded.

    Lectures (4 hours each class)
    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, 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.

    Throughout the lecture, 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 (2 hours each class)
    Through an 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 seminar leaders.  While seminar leaders will be assigned for each seminar, 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.

    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 four days as described above (total 24 hours of classtime).

    Preparation time: In addition to attending classes, students are expected to do independent work to prepare for classes including completing all of the assigned readings.  Students will also need to prepare to lead one of the group seminar presentations on a selected topic.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Class 1: Defining & Using Comparative Law
    • Defining comparative law
    • Historical evolution of comparative law
    • Contemporary uses of comparative law
    • Critiques of comparative law
    • Culture and legal transplants
    • Law and development
    Class 2: Comparative Research & Legal Traditions
    • Case selection principles and methodologies
    • Comparisons in different fields of law
    • Comparative legal history
    • Comparing legal institutions
    • Understanding legal traditions
    • Mixed and national legal traditions
    • Chthonic legal tradition
    Class 3: Exploring Legal Traditions: Talmudic, Islamic, Civil Law & Common Law
    • Talmudic legal tradition
    • Islamic legal tradition
    • Civil law tradition
    • Common law tradition
    Class 4: Exploring Legal Traditions: Hindu & Confucian Law; Reflections
    • Hindu legal tradition
    • Confucian legal tradition
    • Mapping the legal traditions in the world
    • Reflections and review
    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 Task Type Weighting
    Due Length Redeemable Learning Outcomes
    Reflection Essay Individual 10% No later than the second class (7 April 5:00pm) 1000 words max (including footnotes) No 1, 3, 4
    Seminar Presentation Group 20% Various, during class time, to be determined with the course coordinator 40 minutes No 3, 4, 5, 6
    Research Assignment Individual 70% 14 June 2:00pm 5000 words max (including footnotes) No 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Assessment Detail
    Reflection Essay (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 submit a maximum 1,000 words (including footnotes) reflection on any aspect of the assigned readings no later than the end of the second class (7 April 5:00pm).  The reflection should engage with at least one of the assigned readings in a creative and thoughtful way.  No independent legal research is required.

    Seminar Presentation (20% of final grade; required)
    Each student is required to lead one seminar during the semester (as part of a group).  Once groups are identified for each seminar, students will need to work together to develop a presentation and prepare to lead the discussion on the selected topic (topics will be identified on the course site). The seminar will be approximately 45 minutes in duration. In terms of content, the seminar should extend or elaborate the topic for that week by introducing new research and ideas - it should not simply summarise the assigned readings that are already covered in the lecture.  Students can focus on a particular issue of interest or engage with a broader aspect of the topic.  For example, a seminar group might extend the Confucian legal tradition by discussing a particular issue in Chinese contract law and comparing it to Australian contract law.  In developing the presentation and preparing the seminar discussion, students will be expected to draw upon materials beyond the assigned readings.  Discussion leaders must use PowerPoint slides or distribute materials to the class. A maximum 2 page outline of the presentation and a printed copy of the PowerPoint slides must be handed in at the conclusion of the presentation.

    Research Assignment (70% of final grade; required)
    Each student is required to submit a maximum 5,000 words (including footnotes) research paper on any aspect of comparative law covered in the course no later than 14 June 2:00pm.  Papers will require significant independent research and analysis and will be expected to engage with both primary and secondary materials. Each paper will be expected to include a focused research question and demonstrate the importance of the question that has been asked.  Students should consult with the course coordinator to determine an appropriate topic.  A marking rubric for the Research Assignment will be uploaded to the course site. 

    If you have elected to complete the two essays to fulfil the research component of your PG degree, the word limit of the research essay will be extended to 7,000 – 8,000 words to satisfy this requirement.

    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.