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Postgraduate course

American Law

Semester of Instruction

Spring. (Exam each semester.)

Objectives and Content

Purpose: Provides a summary of the principle features of the law and legal system of the United States and introduces foreign lawyers to basic legal research, writing and oral advocacy skills as taught in American law schools. Law in the United States is primarily derived from judge made common law and statutory (code) law. Early American law was taken in most part from England and its common law system. Later with the increased activity of state and federal legislatures American law has become a mixture of common law and code-based law. Generally American law is less theoretical and more practical than many other legal systems. When examining the course material it will become obvious that the American legal system is a comprehensive collection of case law and statutory law. When studying American law it is necessary to remember that even if there is significant similarities between many civil law systems the influence of common law principles and approaches must be understood to appreciate the legal system found in the United States. The study of the role of individual cases is an important part of any law student┬┤s education and the ability to "read cases "is an important skill to develop when learning American law. In order to help understand the law and legal system of the United States several substantive areas of the law will be examined and then put in a general context for foreign students.

Coverage: The American legal system requires a significant amount of time to fully appreciate and one course cannot accomplish such a task but it can introduce students to many basic principles and create a foundation for further study. This course will introduce students to the history and structure of the American legal system. It will also introduce students to the legal methodology of American law and to the process of reading cases. The American legal system is unique in its use of the jury and the development of the adversary system. The judicial system and the American legal profession will be examined and several substantive areas such as constitutional law, administrative law, contracts and commercial law, tort law business law, alternative dispute resolution and trials will be covered. Particular attention will be paid to the idea of federalism and its influence on American law.

Learning Outcomes

Introduce students to the law and legal system of the United States. In addition students should become familiar with constitutional law principles, trial procedures and the role of lawyers and judges in the adversarial process and the fundamentals of American legal research and writing. Students will also be introduced to several substantive areas of American law.

Required Previous Knowledge

Three years of University studies

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Three years of Law studies

Access to the Course

The course is available for the following students:

  • Admitted to the integrated master programme in law
  • Admitted to the two-year master programme in law
  • Granted admission to elective courses at the Faculty of Law
  • Granted additional right to study following completed master degree in law at UiB
  • Exchange students at the Faculty of Law

The pre-requirements may still limit certain students┬┐ access to the course

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Lecture, guest speakers, class discussion, questions/answers, writing exercises, case analysis, research papers, exams, and common law/civil law comparisons.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

None

Forms of Assessment

Exam each semester.

Four hour digital school exam.

Information about digital examination can be found here:

http://www.uib.no/en/education/87471/digital-examination.

A - E for passed, F for failed.

Exam language:

  • Question paper: English
  • Answer paper: English

Support materials allowed during exam:

See section 3-5 of the Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.

Special regulations about dictionaries:

  • According to the Regulations for Studies, one dictionary is permitted support material during the examination. Bilingual dictionaries containing for example both Norwegian-English and English-Norwegian are considered as one dictionary.
  • Bilingual dictionaries to/from the same two languages - for example Norwegian-English/English-Norwegian - in two different volumes are also considered as one dictionary (irrespective of publisher or edition).
  • Dictionaries as described above cannot be combined with any other types of dictionaries.
  • Any kind of combination which makes up more than two physical volumes is forbidden.
  • In case a student has a special need for any other combination than the above mentioned, such combination has to be clarified with/approved by the course coordinator minimum two weeks before the exam. Students who have not been granted permission to have a special combination minimum two weeks before the exam will be subject to the usual regulations (Section 3-5) about examination support materials.

Subject Overlap

Combined with JUS317 American Law this course generates no new credits.

Course Evaluation

According to administrative arrangements for evaluating courses at the Law Faculty.

Contact

Contact Information

Course teacher: Professor Ernst Nordtveit / Professor II Larry Bakken

Administrative contact: elective-courses@jurfa.uib.no

Exam information

  • Note that the time may change up until 14 days prior to the day of the examination. The location will be published 14 days ahead.

  • Type of assessment: Written examination

    Withdrawal deadline
    14.11.2017
    Examination system
    Inspera
    Digital exam