This course is designed to give the students a general understanding of the specificities and interactions of Legal Systems today. In an age of globalization, the comparative study of different legal orders and institutions presents a strong practical motivation: it intends to give the legal background and reasoning skills to approach law at a global level. The legal practice of international business, international arbitration, international organizations and domestic litigation involving foreign interests illustrate the need to consider the different approaches of the law in the world today.
The course will focus on the identity and changes of the major legal systems and traditions in civil law and common law countries as well as in other contemporary legal societies. Several points of comparative discussion will be privileged: sources of law and codification, organization of courts and judicial processes, legal education and the legal profession, the role of law in society and the protection of fundamental rights. The adaptation to social or technological change will also be discussed.
Through the analysis of the effects of globalization and harmonization trends, we will discuss the development of “mixed legal systems”, with emphasis on the experiences of India and South Africa. Such considerations finally raise the issues of legal transplants, intercultural understanding and the importance of transnational evolutions, in order to better identify modern legal challenges.