LAW 7174 - Advanced Comparative Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

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:
    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • 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
    Please see the course site on MyUni for additional resources.
    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
    Course dates

    This is an intensive course taught on four days 9am - 4pm.

    For course dates please refer to the postgraduate coursework timetable.

    Students are expected to attend all of the scheduled classes.

    Class format and classroom etiquette

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

    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.

    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

    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
  • 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 Individual/
    Learning Outcomes
    Online Examination 6 April 30% 1 hour no individual 1, 2, 5
    Seminar Presentation Various, during class time, to be determined with the course coordinator 20% 40 minutes no individual 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Research Assignment 12 May, 2pm

    Topic approval:
    5 April
    40% 3500 words no individual 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Seminar Participation All seminars 10% n/a no individual 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Assessment Detail
    (I) ONLINE EXAMINATION (30% of the final result)

    This examination will consist of multiple choice questions. It will test students’ critical understanding of the course contents.

    The examination 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. 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. Every presentation inclusive of class discussion will take 40 minutes.

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

    Some assignment 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 the date set out in the Assessment Summary table above.

    (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 (Melbourne University Law Review Association, 4th ed, 2018) available at

    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.

    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.

    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 feedback
    The course is constantly being updated and revised to reflect the evolution of the law, to respond to student feedback, and to engage with the latest teaching practices. Student feedback is collected each time the course is run, including through SELT reports. Previous SELT reports, and staff feedback on them, are posted on the course MyUni site for students to view and consider.
  • 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 Integrity
    All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Academic Misconduct is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic Misconduct (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 Integrity 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.