ML 420 – Comparative Legal Systems


The first part of this module seeks to introduce the key concepts in exploring the comparative approach:

  • Comparative methods of legal theories
  • 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
  • Practicing law and principles governing it

The second part of the module aims at focusing on three applications of Comparative law:

  • Islamic financial and banking law
  • Islamic insurance (Takaful)
  • The distribution of ownership
  • Taxation systems
  • The Legislative process
  • Maternity and guardianship

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy

Assessment Scheme

Combination of lectures and seminars shall be used. The second part of the module aims at focusing on class discussion that meet on at least six occasions to practice collaborative and comparative approaches. It would encourage students to develop their ideas through research and preparation leading to a research based essay.

Formative Assessment:
Formative assessment for this module will consist of verbal feedback from the lecturer, questioning and discussion during class and class discussion. One draft of the coursework may be handed in to the lecturer before the 10th learning week for formative assessment, in which the lecturer will give the student feedback on how to improve their research and quality of writing.

Summative Assessment:
The module will be assessed by one 4,000 words comparative essay between two schools of law or two legal systems on a particular subject as discussed with the tutor demonstrating significant ability to critically debate and explore ideas.

Assessment weighting

Comparative essay: 100 out of 100

Learning materials

Core readings

Aldohni, A (2012) The Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Islamic Banking: A Comparative Look at the United Kingdom and Malaysia. Routledge, USA & Canada
Ali, N. Nisar, S (2016) Takaful and Islamic Cooperative Finance: Challenges and Opportunities. Edward Elgar Publishing, UK.
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.
Jomo, K.S. (2016) Islamic Economic Alternatives: Critical Perspectives and New Directions. Springer
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
McGee, R (2003) The Philosophy of Taxation and Public Finance. Kluwer Academic Publishers
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.