|Module Title||CIVIL AND COMPARATIVE LAW|
|Co-ordinator||Ms Anne Barlow|
|Other staff||Ms Anne Barlow, Mr Richard Ireland|
|Pre-Requisite||LA10110 or LA30110 or LA15710|
|Co-Requisite||LA15830 or LA35830 and either LA31420 or LA36030|
|Course delivery||Lecture||40 Hours one two hour and two one hour lectures per week|
|Seminar||8 Hours four two hour seminars during the semester|
|Assessment||Essay||Assessed Essay of 2000 words (required in week 8)||33%|
|Exam||2 Hours Students are permitted to take unmarked translated extracts from both the French Code Civil and the German Burgerliches Gesetzbuch into the examination room.||66%|
|Resit assessment||Resit - By retaking the failed element (ie written assignment or examination or both, as applicable)|
|Professional Exemptions||Not Required for Professional Purposes|
Most of the legal systems of the modern Western world are based on one of two legal traditions. The first is that of the English Common Law, on which the systems of most Commonwealth countries and the United States are based. The other is that of the Civil Law which has its origins in Roman Law. Today, Civil Law forms the basis of the legal systems of most European countries, as well as many in Africa, Asia, North and South America and the Middle East. It has also been very influential in relation to the development of European Law. Accordingly, the course offers students, who will largely come from the common law tradition, the opportunity firstly to study Roman Law, and goes on to compare the legal reasoning, structure and substantive law of some modern day Civil Law legal systems with our own. The study of comparative law is important for two obvious reasons. First, it allows us to consider the law in other systems. This includes an examination not merely of the rules of substantive law but a consideration of the historical, social, economic and political factors which have influenced the shape and content of the law in those jurisdictions studied. Secondly, the study of law on a comparative basis provides an opportunity critically to examine the principles of the common law and their practical effects. There is a particular, and increasing, need for British lawyers to understand the principles and the detail of civil law systems. This arises from our membership of the European Union and the opportunities presented for greater trade a commerce between Union members.
Knowledge of French or any other foreign language is NOT required for the course.
Summary of Course Content
The course begins with an historical introduction to the Civil Law. It will examine the Roman Legal system, and explain its significance as a foundation for the systems of modern continental Europe. The Roman Law of Obligations will then be considered. In the second part of the course, we consider the function of comparative law. We then examine the history and current day structure of the French legislature, legal profession and hierarchy of courts and comparisons made with Britain and some other modern European countries. Difference of approach in Legal Reasoning and statutory interpretation will be considered as well as the different sources of law. The significance of the more inquisitorial Civil Law approach to Criminal Justice issues in France will be examined and compared with those within the adversarial British system against the background of both systems facing mounting criticism from the public and the European Court on Human Rights. In the final part of the course compare the substantive law of obligations in France and Germany. This is done by examining a range of special topics within the French and German law of contractual and delictual obligations. Throughout students will be expected to compare, and evaluate, not only French and German law but also civilian approaches with those of the common law.
At a practical level, the course aims to introduce students to the Civil Law systems for students who wish to work or study further in this area in Britain or abroad.
1. The historical development of Roman Law and its significance in the development of modern legal systems
2. The sources of Roman Law
3. The Roman Law of Obligations - the nature of obligations - the classification of obligations - obligations ex contractu: general - a law of contract or contracts - general contractual principles - the types of contract - obligations ex maleficio: general - the nature and role of delicts - furtum and rapina - iniuria - damnum iniuria datum
PART II - COMPARATIVE LAW AND THE MODERN DAY CIVIL LAW SYSTEM
1. Reasons for the study of comparative law
2. Introduction to Different Legal Families
3. Introduction to and the origins of the French system
4. The influence of the French Civil Law system elsewhere in Europe
5. The civil courts and civil procedure in France with some comparison with other Civil Law jurisdictions
6. Legal reasoning and statutory interpretation in France and Germany.
7. Sources of law in the French and some other Civil Law systems: a comparison with the Common Law systems
8. The legal profession in France and Germany
9. French criminal procedure: inquisitorial versus adversarial approach
Part III THE COMPARATIVE LAW OF OBLIGATIONS
1. Special Topics in the Contractual Law of Obligations in France and Germany (a) contract formation (b) breach of contract (c) privity and contracts for the benefit of third parties (d) good faith in contractual performance
2. Special Topic in the Delictual Law of Obligations (a) principles of delictual liability (b) recovery for economic loss (c) vicarious liability (d) strict liability