Spring Semester (March 1 - May 31, 2020)
Introduction to Comparative Legal Systems
Prof. Vincenzo Zeno-Zencovich
The course cuts across traditional – and by now outdated – divisions between public law and private law, between substantive law and procedural law, and between the so-called civil law/common law divide. The course is focused on the Western Legal Tradition and explains the pitfalls of comparisons with non-Western systems.
The course is divided in eight modules with the following content
I Module: Democratic systems
US presidentialism. - British parliamentarism. - Semi-presidential models. - EU concentration of powers. – Electoral systems.
II Module: Values
Constitutionalism. - Bill of rights, fundamental rights, human rights. - Constitutional adjudication. - Rule of law. - Universalism vs Relativism. - The religious factor
III Module: Government
The structure of Government. - Administration. - “Independent Agencies”. - Public participation in administrative procedures. - Judicial control over Government
IV Module: The economic dimension
Private autonomy. - Legal entities. – Insolvency. – Regulation. - State aid
V Module: The “Welfare State”
Taxation. - Social services. - Labour relations and legislation
VI Module: Repression of Crimes
Substantive law vs. Procedural law. - What is a crime? - Who establishes crimes? – Sanctions. - Investigation, prosecution, trial. - Offenders and victims
VII Module: Judges and jurisdiction
Status of judges. - Judicial organization. - Rules of procedure. - Judicial power. - Legal education. - Judges and/as literature
VIII Module: Models for a globalized world
International conventions. - Uniform laws. - Lex Mercatoria. - International institutions. – Comparative international law.
The course aims at introducing students, with a holistic perspective, to what a legal system is, what are the main differences between them, how to compare them. They main aim is that of showing the extreme complexity of contemporary legal systems and the continuous circulation of models between them.
Course Learning Activities
The course consists of lectures on the main aspects of a legal system. Each module will be supported by seminar on specific topics, using legal material (legislation, decisions, statistical data, legal writings). During classes students will be required to give one or more ppt presentations on current topics of interest (e.g. the President Trump impeachment procedure; the Brexit saga, sovereignty vs immigration, etc.)
The final exam will consist in a written essay in which students will be asked to answer to one hypothetical case (out of a choice of several) which draws on the topics presented during the classes.
Grades are on a scale of 30 (minimun grade to pass the exam: 18).The final exam consists in an essay on a choice of questions.
Class attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed a maximum of one quarter of absences over the total class hours.
, Comparative legal systems. A short and illustrated introduction
,(second editon) Roma TrE-Press, 2019 (volume in open access downloadable from the Roma TrE-Press website http://romatrepress.uniroma3.it/repository/3/pdf/411cd19a-ecff-457b-a14a-815988f7ada5.pdf