Introduction to comparative judicial politics, focusing on the relationship between law and politics in cross-national perspective, as well as on the functioning of supranational and international legal entities in the international system. May not be taken for credit if student has taken LSJ/JSIS B 366. Offered: jointly with POL S 367.
This course aims to familiarize the students with major legal traditions of the world. Among the legal systems to be covered in the course are the Common Law, Civil Law, Islamic Law, Judaic Law and Asian legal traditions. The course will first start with a brief introduction to the concepts of “law” and “courts” as well as major political systems. In the second part of the course, these concepts will be placed in a global perspective by looking at how courts function in different legal systems. In this regard, we will specifically focus on different types of judicial review and compare constitutional courts of major European countries. After a comprehensive analysis of Civil and Common Law systems, we will then turn our attention to non-secular or religious legal systems by closely analyzing the cases of Islamic and Jewish law. The next challenge that the course will tackle will be to understand the increasing “political” role that courts play by asking whether courts or law in general can be mobilized to bring about social change. In addition to analysis of formal legal structures, we will also adopt a pluralistic approach and closely analyze non-state sources of law and informal dispute resolution mechanisms in some Western and non-Western societies. In the very last part of the course, we will briefly talk about the international and transnational jurisdictions by closely examining the European Court of Human Rights and International Criminal Court.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
Class Assignments/Participation (15%); Midterm (35 %), Final Research Paper --not to exceed 12 double-spaced pages in length (50%)