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Comparative Law and Society

Past Offerings

Comparative Law and Society (5042): This is a course about the relationship between law and the larger society--but with readings drawn almost entirely from studies carried out in countries other than the United States. The course will look, for examples, at readings from Chile, China, England, Germany, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Venezuela. Introduction: The aim of the seminar is to introduce students to studies of the relationship between law and society, but with an international and comparative perspective. The readings use a broad range of methods and techniques, to explore how legal rules, processes and institutions are framed by, and influence, the social context. Paying attention to the social context opens the door to a richer understanding of the law, a better explanation of what makes it work (or not work) and how it changes over time. Traditionally the field called comparative law has concentrated heavily on differences between common law and civil law; and at principles and doctrines and formal rules. But in the real world we know that systems can behave every differently even if they share formal rules and institutions. Consider, for example, Canada and Jamaica, both common law countries; or Japan, Haiti and Spain --all civil law countries. In many ways, the world today is a global village. Lawyers, too, often work across borders. It is the theory of the course that we can learn a lot about law and legal institutions, if we look at experiences in different countries: plea bargaining in England; how victims of motorcycle accidents in Changmai, Thailand, deal with tort law; how the black market for used cars functioned in the former East Germany; the controversy over honor killings in Jordan; disputes over the sale of tunas in Tokyo's fish market; informal lending markets in Taiwan. The aim is a more general understanding of how legal systems work, how structure and culture interact; and the role of lawyers, judges, courts, and institutions in different societies. There are lessons to be learned about American society as well. Methodology and evaluation: The discussions in the classes will focus on a selection of readings from Law in Many Societies --a reader edited by Lawrence Friedman, Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo and Manuel Gómez (Stanford University Press, 2011). Other readings are contained in a package available to students in the class. Some of the readings are classics in the field. Others raise contemporary problems. The course is a traditional seminar, in the sense that everyone in the seminar will be encouraged to speak, and to contribute to general discussion. For each class, each student must write a short essay, reflecting on the readings (two or so pages at most or about 500 words). These should be sent to both professors (lmf@stanford.edu & rperez3@law.stanford.edu) and to fellow students, by email, not later than 24 hours before the class. These reflection papers allow participants to tell us what aspects of the readings they found significant, and what they found right or wrong about the readings. No footnotes or research are expected, and are, in fact, discouraged. The reflection papers are required; but they are not graded. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer, with consent of the instructor, from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement. Automatic grading penalty waived for writers. Elements used in grading: The course grade will reflect class participation, and an extended take-home exam or a research paper at the end of the quarter.

Sections

Comparative Law and Society | LAW 5042 Section 01 Class #1044

  • 2 Units
  • Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
  • 2021-2022 Autumn
    Schedule No Longer Available
  • Enrollment Limitations: Lottery 15
  • Exam:
    • Extended Take-Home Exam
  • Exam:
      • Remote: Details to come
  • Learning Outcomes Addressed:
    • LO1 - Substantive and Procedural Law
    • LO4 - Ability to Communicate Effectively in Writing
    • LO5 - Ability to Communicate Orally
  • Course Category:
    • Comparative Law & International Law

  • 2021-2022 Autumn
    Schedule No Longer Available

Comparative Law and Society | LAW 5042 Section 02 Class #1045

  • 2 Units
  • Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
  • 2021-2022 Autumn
    Schedule No Longer Available
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent
  • Graduation Requirements:
    • R -Research Requirement for Law Degree
  • Learning Outcomes Addressed:
    • LO1 - Substantive and Procedural Law
    • LO3 - Ability to Conduct Legal Research
    • LO4 - Ability to Communicate Effectively in Writing
    • LO5 - Ability to Communicate Orally
  • Course Category:
    • Comparative Law & International Law

  • 2021-2022 Autumn
    Schedule No Longer Available

Comparative Law and Society (5042): This is a course about the relationship between law and the larger society--but with readings drawn almost entirely from studies carried out in countries other than the United States. The course will look, for examples, at readings from Chile, China, England, Germany, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Venezuela. Introduction: The aim of the seminar is to introduce students to studies of the relationship between law and society, but with an international and comparative perspective. The readings use a broad range of methods and techniques, to explore how legal rules, processes and institutions are framed by, and influence, the social context. Paying attention to the social context opens the door to a richer understanding of the law, a better explanation of what makes it work (or not work) and how it changes over time. Traditionally the field called comparative law has concentrated heavily on differences between common law and civil law; and at principles and doctrines and formal rules. But in the real world we know that systems can behave every differently even if they share formal rules and institutions. Consider, for example, Canada and Jamaica, both common law countries; or Japan, Haiti and Spain --all civil law countries. In many ways, the world today is a global village. Lawyers, too, often work across borders. It is the theory of the course that we can learn a lot about law and legal institutions, if we look at experiences in different countries: plea bargaining in England; how victims of motorcycle accidents in Changmai, Thailand, deal with tort law; how the black market for used cars functioned in the former East Germany; the controversy over honor killings in Jordan; disputes over the sale of tunas in Tokyo's fish market; informal lending markets in Taiwan. The aim is a more general understanding of how legal systems work, how structure and culture interact; and the role of lawyers, judges, courts, and institutions in different societies. There are lessons to be learned about American society as well. Methodology and evaluation: The discussions in the classes will focus on a selection of readings from Law in Many Societies --a reader edited by Lawrence Friedman, Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo and Manuel Gómez (Stanford University Press, 2011). Other readings are contained in a package available to students in the class. Some of the readings are classics in the field. Others raise contemporary problems. The course is a traditional seminar, in the sense that everyone in the seminar will be encouraged to speak, and to contribute to general discussion. For each class, each student must write a short essay, reflecting on the readings (two or so pages at most or about 500 words). These should be sent to both professors (lmf@stanford.edu & rperez3@law.stanford.edu) and to fellow students, by email, not later than 24 hours before the class. These reflection papers allow participants to tell us what aspects of the readings they found significant, and what they found right or wrong about the readings. No footnotes or research are expected, and are, in fact, discouraged. The reflection papers are required; but they are not graded. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer, with consent of the instructor, from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement. Automatic grading penalty waived for writers. Elements used in grading: The course grade will reflect class participation, and an extended take-home exam or a research paper at the end of the quarter.

Sections

Comparative Law and Society | LAW 5042 Section 01 Class #1052

  • 2 Units
  • Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
  • 2020-2021 Autumn
    Schedule No Longer Available
  • Enrollment Limitations: Lottery 15
  • Exam:
    • Extended Take-Home Exam
  • Exam:
      • Details to come
  • Learning Outcomes Addressed:
    • LO1 - Substantive and Procedural Law
    • LO4 - Ability to Communicate Effectively in Writing
    • LO5 - Ability to Communicate Orally
  • Course Category:
    • Comparative Law & International Law

  • 2020-2021 Autumn
    Schedule No Longer Available

Comparative Law and Society | LAW 5042 Section 02 Class #1224

  • 2 Units
  • Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
  • 2020-2021 Autumn
    Schedule No Longer Available
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent
  • Graduation Requirements:
    • R -Research Requirement for Law Degree
  • Learning Outcomes Addressed:
    • LO1 - Substantive and Procedural Law
    • LO3 - Ability to Conduct Legal Research
    • LO4 - Ability to Communicate Effectively in Writing
    • LO5 - Ability to Communicate Orally
  • Course Category:
    • Comparative Law & International Law

  • 2020-2021 Autumn
    Schedule No Longer Available
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