LAW 278

Comparative Law

International Law

This introduction to comparative law course focuses primarily, although not exclusively, on studying two legal traditions, (1) the "civil law" tradition that originated in continental Europe but subsequently expanded into many parts of the world, including Latin America, Asia, and Africa and (2) the common law tradition that originated in England, and comparing them with both each other and the U.S. legal system. At the beginning of the course, we will consider various methodological and theoretical approaches to comparative law in general, which also take into account some of the other major legal traditions – most of which are covered individually by specialized courses at UCLA (e.g., the Islamic, Jewish, and Chinese).  Then, we will turn to studying the history, culture, distribution, court systems, legal education and professions, sources of law, and procedural law of the civil law tradition, with particular emphasis on France and Germany.  We will also consider some aspects of contract, tort, and constitutional law in these countries.  In the last third of the course, we will study similar aspects of the  common law tradition as exemplified by the English legal system.  Reasons for continuing differences between the two legal traditions, as well as certain converging trends, will be explored, together with a comparison between the common law systems of the United Kingdom and the United States. No prerequisites. Final exam.

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