Comparative Legal Studies

Below is an overview of the courses that have been taught at Berkeley Law in this area. Not every course will be offered in the future and course descriptions, content, and requirements are subject to change. Please browse the Schedule of Classes for more specific information about current and next semester classes, including detailed descriptions and schedules.



Advanced Comparative Law Seminar

This seminar is designed to acquaint the student with the basic institutions and policies in legal systems adhering to continental European legal traditions (so-called civil law countries), with emphasis on judicial organization, the scope of judicial power, and the protection of civil and human rights.

Chinese Legal Institutions

This course examines the full range of legal concepts in modern China. It concentrates on post-1949 developments in the People's Republic of China, but also touches upon earlier concepts that shaped these developments. Special attention is paid to the Maoist version of the law and post-1978 developments aimed at economic modernization through the legal structure.

Comparative Constitutional Law Seminar

This research seminar is for students wishing to write an extended paper on some aspect of constitutional law outside the United States.

Comparative Law

This basic course on comparative law is an introduction to the method and concept of comparative law and to the study of different legal systems, in particular the system of the civil law (Europe and Latin America). Topics include the legal profession, the judicial system, civil procedure, contracts, and the role of foreign law in the American legal system.

Comparative Tort Law

Japanese Law and Society

The course introduces students to Japan's legal system and to some of the social science and legal literature showing how that system works. Among the topics examined are the degree of litigiousness; informal systems for adjudicating disputes; the Japanese constitution; public interest litigation; the judicial system; the bar; and law and practice as they relate to international trade, business relations, administrative regulation, contractual relations and criminal justice.

Legal Institutions

When compared to other industrialized democracies, the United States seems more likely to resort to courts for enforcement of public norms, dispute settlement and political action. American methods of policy implementation and dispute resolution generally seem more legalistic and costly than those of comparable nations. This course asks: Is this assessment accurate? If so, why do these patterns recur? And are they a bad thing?