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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rachel A Cichowski
POL S 367
Seattle Campus

Comparative Law and Courts

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 LSJ 367.

Class description

Are you interested in why law and courts matter for international and comparative politics and policy? This course, a basic introduction to comparative judicial politics, is targeted at undergraduate students who are interested in learning about the interaction between law, courts and politics in countries throughout the world. This class is a required pre-requisite course for the Law, Societies and Justice program and consists of both large lectures and smaller quiz sections. We begin by critically examining the (alleged) functions of courts: to provide for “order,” resolve disputes, and to enforce legal norms. We then turn to constitutional politics in democracies, asking how constitutional courts have changed national policies and empowered individuals with new rights. Next we study the development of constitutional courts in new democracies. In particular, students will explore an increasingly powerful supranational court, the European Court of Justice. Another supranational court, the European Court of Human Rights, will serve as a comparison. Finally, we will end by examining a newly evolving international court, the International Criminal Court.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Assignments: Exams and Research Paper

Grading: Midterm Exam: 25 %; Research Paper: 30 %; Final Exam: 30 %; Participation: 15 %.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Rachel A Cichowski
Date: 09/28/2011