ML 418 – Comparative law and legal systems



The first part of this module seeks to introduce the key concepts in exploring the comparative approach:
 Basic comparative method and theory
 Three families of Law: Civil, Common and Religious
 Defining Law and illustrating its function and development
 Characteristics of the legal basis
 Sections and branches of law
 Non-official sources
 Practicing law and principles governing it
 Defining right and illustrating its types
 Legal protection of right

The second part of the module aims at focusing on applications of Comparative law with examples from Islamic family law and Islamic commercial law:
 Husband and Wife
 Parents and Children
 Property
 Banking
 Law Reform in the Muslim World
 Application of Islamic Law in diasporic communities

The final part of the module aims at focusing on discussion groups that meet on at least six occasions in order to practice team work, learning from others, and collaborate on comparative approaches. It would encourage students to develop their ideas through research and preparation leading to a research based essay that is presented to the group.

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy

The module will be assessed by one 9,000 words comparative essay between two schools of law or two legal systems on a particular subject as suggested by the tutor to be written and presented to the discussion groups.
Assessment weighting
Comparative essay: 80 out of 100
Class discussion and presentation: 20 out of 100

Learning materials

Core readings
An-Naim, A.A. (ed.,) (2002) Islamic Family Law in a Changing World, UK: Zed Books
De Cruz, P (1999) Comparative Law in a Changing World, UK: Routledge
Ezzati, A.F. (Trans.) (2008) Concise Description of Islamic Law and Legal Opinions. UK: ICAS Press.
Kamali, H. (1989) Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. Cambridge: The Islamic Text Society.
Khan, M.A. (1996) Islamic jurisprudence: Islamic laws in the modern world. UK: Avon Books
Kotz, H. (2008) An Introduction to Comparative Law: The framework: V1 of An Introduction to Comparative Law. US: University of California
K. Zweigert & H. Kötz, An Introduction to Comparative Law 3rd ed. Oxford 1998.
Otto, J.M, (2010) Sharia Incorporated: A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present. Amsterdam University Press
Menski, W. (2006) Comparative law in a global context: the legal systems of Asia and Africa. UK: Cambridge University Press
Riles, A. (2001) Rethinking the masters of comparative law. UK: Hart Publishing
Sadr, M.B. (2003) Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, UK: ICAS Press.
Stewart, D.J. (1998) Islamic Legal Orthodoxy: Twelver Shi’ite Responses to the Sunni Legal System. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.