Comparative private law LAW4133

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course is an introduction to comparative law, with a focus on private law. It is divided in two main parts. The first deals with the discipline of comparative law as such, and introduces students to the various methodologies and schools of thought through a variety of broad debates that affect private law (such as the harmonisation of private law, convergence of legal systems, or legal families). The second focuses on specific issues on private law (such as contract law, family law, property law and civil litigation), analysed through the lens of comparative law and with an emphasis on various comparative methodologies and foreign experiences.


Fifteen 2-hour seminars

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory requirements of entry: D3 or better in Obligations 1A and Obligations 1B (Scots Law LLB students), or Contract Law and Tort Law (Common Law LLB students), or courses equivalent to them (exchange students). It is recommended that students have previously taken Family Law and Property Law, but it is not indispensable, If the course is oversubscribed places will be allocated according to performance in those courses (or foreign equivalent). Thereafter, places will be allocated according to grade point average performance.

Excluded Courses





The summative assessment will be comprised of two parts:

- a three hour exam (70%).

- a 2,500 word essay (30%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course has several aims. First, to familiarise students with the discipline of comparative law and its different methodologies and schools of thought. Secondly, to acquaint students with the utility of comparative legal methodologies and convey a basic ability to engage with them. Thirdly, to enhance understanding of a variety of key topics in private law by drawing from foreign perspectives. Fourthly, to explore the links between private law and broader legal cultures. Finally, it offers an ideal complement to other private law courses (such as Private Law and Public Policy) and other comparative law courses (such as Comparative Constitutional Law).

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify the main schools of thought in comparative law and issues that are of interest to the doctrine

■ Apply the main comparative legal methodologies to issues of private law

■ Understand certain issues of private law through a comparative perspective

■ Identify the main differences between various legal orders on specific issues of private law

■ Identify the particularities of certain legal cultures

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.