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Lecture Series, Summer Semester - Introduction to the Common Law

Titel der Lehrveranstaltung/Title of subject: An Introduction to the Common Law - Part II — Lecture Series (in English)

Name des Dozenten/Teacher: Prof. Gerard C. Rowe, BA LLB MTCP LLM

Zeit/Timetable: Block lecture series; various (see timetable)

Ort/Place: noch bekanntzugeben/to be notified (see timetable)

Beginn/Starting date:

Please note: All sessions will begin at the exact time noted (s.t.), not 15 minutes later.

Wednesday 18.05.2022 14:00 - 18:00 GD 04
Thursday 19.05.2022 09:00 - 13:00 GD 04
14:00 - 16:00 GD 04
Friday 20.05.2022 09:00 - 13:00 GD 311
14:00 - 15:30 GD 311
Monday 23.05.2022 09:00 - 13:00 GD 102
Tuesday 24.05.2022 09:00 - 13:00 GD 04
14:00 - 16:00 GD 04
Exam date to be settled

Teilnahmevoraussetzungen/Conditions of participation: The lecture series is in principle open to all students in all faculties and programmes.

For law students it falls within SPB 1, Module III (old); it also provides a Zusatzqualifikation for law students. It is also especially suitable for students in the MES and MEPS programmes.

Good ability in English is desirable in order to be able to understand the lectures and read the recommended literature. The active participation of all students is be expected.

Participants do not need to register in advance but simply come to the first lecture.

There is a written exam (120 minutes) available to all participants, conducted at an agreed time in the final teaching weeks of the semester.

Gegenstand der Lehrveranstaltung/ Subject of the lectures: The ‘common law’ is the label applied to many legal systems around the world which derive originally from, or have been influenced by, the law and legal system of England. This occurred largely as a result of the process of colonisation and its political, legal, and institutional consequences. The name ‘common law’ points not only to deep historical origins (reaching back to the 11th century and before), but also to the type of law and legal institutions found in the legal systems concerned. Most especially, the term ‘common law’ refers to a particular legal methodology and culture which is distinguished generally from other legal traditions and families (such as Romanic/Civil Law, Islamic Law, Talmudic Law, and numerous customary legal traditions). The common law can, without fear of exaggeration, be said to be one of the most significant legal traditions of the world, in regard to its methodology, effectiveness, and international distribution, being found importantly in the British Isles, Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and India as well as many other countries. This lecture series will provide an understanding of the basic elements of the common law tradition, drawing attention also to differences which have developed between common law countries themselves.

Part II of this introductory course is a continuation of Part I (offered in the Winter Semesters and focussed on foundations and aspects of public law). It is not necessary to have participated in Part I of this introductory course in order to attend this sequel. In Part II participants will be introduced to selected substantive areas of private law, in particular property, torts, and contract law. A knowledge and understanding of the common law will assist comparative legal studies and contribute to a better understanding of one’s own legal system. Such an introduction will also provide a preparation for international legal activity which may occur in a wide range of legal or business careers. The material covered is also of interest to non-law students in fields such as history, political science, economics, international relations and cultural studies. Some aspects of British constitutional law are briefly addressed alsomin Part II, casting light upon, among other things, current political and legal debates in the Brexit process and related institutional issues.

The lecture series provides an opportunity to develop specialised English language and vocabulary skills.

Literatur: Alan B. Morrison (ed.), Fundamentals of American Law (1996); William P. Fishback, A Manual of Elementary Law — Being a Summary of the Fundamental Principles of American Law (1997); Mary-Anne Glendon, Comparative Legal Traditions in a Nutshell (1999); Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law — An Introduction (1998); Howard Abadinsky, Law and Justice — An Introduction to the American Legal System (1998); Gerard C. Rowe, Reflections on the Common  Law — Relating it to the European Context, in: Beichelt/Choluj/Rowe/Wagener (eds), Europa–Studien — Eine Einführung (1st ed., 2006) 289–310.

Materials on Moodle platform: go to for the outline of lectures, detailed bibliography and selected readings.

ECTS: 4 (special ECTS requirements for particular study programmes can be agreed upon).