Studying Law at RomaTre

Academic Year 2019-2020

Spring Semester (March 1 - May 31, 2020)


Private Comparative Law

Prof. Noah Vardi

7 CFUs - ECTS 
(Wednesdays 8.30-10 Room 5, 
Thursdays 4-5.45 Room 5, 
Fridays, 4-5.45, Room 4)
(see website for office hours)

Course description  

The course aims at introducing students to comparative methodology and conducting a comparative analysis of some key institutions of private law (contract and torts), with special focus on the common law/civil law convergence; on the process of Europeanisation of private law; and on some of the key challenges for private law posed by technological developments (e.g. blockchain and smart contracts). 
The following topics will be covered in the course: 
-    An introduction to comparative law, its methodology and functions; comparative law and European private law; the use of comparative law in a globalized legal environment
-    Comparative contract law- from the traditional theories of the civil and common law systems to the main challenges posed by cross-border transactions and new technologies
-    Comparative tort law

Course Learning Objectives 

•    To introduce students to important aspects of foreign law;
•    To introduce students to the comparative methodology in the study of law;
•    To provide, through the study of foreign law, a better understanding of national law;
•    To develop tools whereby students may identify relevant issues of comparative law and know-how to begin analysing and researching them, and may approach normative, jurisprudential and doctrinal sources of foreign law;
•    To develop critical skills of analysis and interpretation in relation to comparative methodology and foreign law.

Course Learning Activities

During the course the activities will be divided as follows:
- lectures; 
- student presentations that are meant to support the lectures and encourage interactive student participation; 
- case simulations;
- guest lectures by Visiting Professors and experts on specific topics

Assessment tools

Student evaluation will be based on class work, class participation, presentations given
during the semester, and a final written exam.

Attendance policy
Class attendance is compulsory.

Please Note: A detailed syllabus with reading assignments will be published shortly.

Course materials

A selection of readings from various sources will be used and made available to students attending the course. 

(Temporary) READING LIST:
-    B. H. Bix, “Theories of contract law”, in Comparative Contract Law, edited by P.G. Monateri, Research Handbooks in Comparative Law, Elgar Publishing, 2017, pgs. 7-17 

-    R. Pound, “Promise or Bargain?”, in 33 Tulane Law Review 455, (1958-1959), pgs. 455-472

-    J.H.M. van Erp, “The Pre-Contractual Stage”, in Towards a European Civil Code, 4th.ed., edited by A. Hartkamp, M. Hesselink, E. Hondius et al., Nijmegen, 2011, pgs. 493-513

-    O. Lando, “Non-Performance (Breach) of Contracts” in Towards a European Civil Code, 4th.ed., edited by A. Hartkamp, M. Hesselink, E. Hondius et al., Nijmegen, 2011, pgs. 681-697

       -  M. Bussani, A. J. Sebok, Comparative Tort Law- Global Perspectives, Elgar Publishing
                  2015, Chapters 2 and 9 (+10 and 13, not compulsory) 

Draft Course Schedule  

(please note this is a draft version: topics/activities may be subject to modifications) 
Date Topic
1. Thurs. March 5th Introduction to comparative law- introduction to the course
2. Fri. March 6th Methodology & functions of comparative law
3. Wed. March 11th Contract law from a comparative perspective; history & contemporary issues; interaction with other disciplines
4. Thurs. March 12th Theories & functions of contract; contracts in European private law
5. Fri. March 13th Foundations & requirements of contract in legal traditions; agreement and consent and its current issues
6. Wed. March 18th Continued: cause & consideration; problems of validity
7. Thurs. March 19st Continued: form & interpretation
8. Fri. March 20th Student presentation
9. Wed. March 25th Pre-contractual liability: theories and developments in the civil law and common law legal traditions
10. Thurs. March 26th Continued: pre-contractual liability; theories of estoppel
11. Fri. March 27th Student presentation
12. Wed. April 1st Non-performance of contract
13. Thurs. April 2nd Continued: remedies for breach of contract
14. Fri. April 3rd Case simulation or student presentation
15. Wed. April 8th Supervening events- impossibility- frustration-hardship
16. Thurs. April 9th Contracts at the crossroads of new technologies: blockchain & smart contracts
17. Wed. April 15th Introduction to tort law from a functional perspective
18. Thurs. April 16th Models of tort law from a comparative perspective: common law/civil law tradition
19. Fri. April 17th Fault based liability
20. Wed. April 22nd Strict liability
21. Thurs. April 23rd Theories on causation
22. Fri. April 24th Case simulation or student presentation
23.Wed. April 29th Protected interests
24. Thurs. April 30th Damages
25. Wed. May 6th Guest lecture by Visiting Professor S. Banakas
26. Thurs. May 7th Guest lecture by Visiting Professor S. Banakas
27. Fri. May 8th Guest lecture by Visiting Professor S. Banakas
28. Wed. May 13th Overview and final revision for the exam


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