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Unit information: Comparative Law in 2021/22

Unit name Comparative Law
Unit code LAWD20001
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Giliker
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Comparative Law is the study of the development and key characteristics of common and civil law legal systems. Students will be introduced to the historical origins of common and civil law legal traditions, comparative law methodology, sources of law, the role of courts, judges and lawyers, globalisation and harmonisation, and the structure and development of legal principle from a public and private law perspective. It provides an essential basis for those studying abroad, but will also give those hoping to enter international legal practice a broader understanding of global legal systems. The unit aims to introduce students to the methodologies of comparative law as a discipline as well as to give a basic grounding in common law and civilian legal systems. This will include the historical development of the systems, their structure, the different sources of law and basic distinctions between public and private law, as well as specific topics in these areas. Finally, the unit aims to introduce students to phenomena of legal globalisation and projects involving the harmonisation of laws, as well as enabling them to evaluate such developments.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the value of comparative law;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the differences (and similarities) between common and civil law systems;
  • Access and interpret sources of law;
  • Demonstrate a core understanding of public and private law in common and civil law systems.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

Assessment Information

1 x summative assessment: coursework with a specified word count (100%)

The assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. LAWD20001).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.