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Semester 1

Fundamental Issues in Comparative Constitutional Law (LAWS10211)







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**This course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.** Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces. If there is sufficient space for other visiting students to enrol at the start of the semester, visiting students must have completed at least 3 Law courses, INCLUDING a course equivalent to Public Law of the UK and Scotland (LAWS08123), at grade B or above to qualify for this course; we will only consider University/College level courses. This course therefore cannot be taken alongside Public Law of the UK and Scotland (LAWS08123).

Course Summary

This advanced course in public law will build on the themes and subjects studied in PLUS and PLAIR at Ordinary level. The course will be an advanced introduction to contemporary comparative constitutional law and applied constitutional theory, and will engage with particular themes and issues emerging in these fields. In particular, the course will examine: the theory and practice of constitution-making; comparative constitutional design; models of liberal and non-liberal constitutionalism; forms of government including parliamentarism, presidentialism, and hybrid forms; and the constitutional accommodation of societal pluralism. At the end of the course, students would have gained a solid grounding in the methods of comparative constitutional law, a good awareness of some of its major current substantive and theoretical concerns and debates, and perhaps equally importantly, an opportunity to understand the practice of constitutionalism in empirical contexts very different to those of the UK and Scotland.

Course Description

In recent decades the comparative approach to studying constitutional law has become a major and perhaps even a dominant method in the field. It has generated a very substantial literature and the course reading will reflect many of the central texts. Adopting this comparative approach, students will be expected to develop a sophisticated sense of how to read relevant primary materials, such as constitutions, primary and secondary legislation, and key political documents such as peace agreements. They will also be expected to develop the ability to engage with demanding secondary texts dealing with substantive constitutional law, theoretical work that helps us to understand constitutionalism in context, and literature from relevant related disciplines like comparative politics, political sociology, constitutional history, and political economy. Through consideration of major themes, they will have the opportunity to consider how these play out in distinctive political, social, economic, and cultural contexts of countries in different regions of the world. The course will be seminar-based with a 2-hour seminar every week. Students will be given listed readings based upon current developments. They will be expected to discuss these in class, and students will be assessed on class participation.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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