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Postgraduate course

Comparative Constitutional Law

Semester of Instruction

Autumn

Objectives and Content

Course Description: This course introduces students to the study of constitutional law through the lens of comparative law. The course will provide a foundation for a structural approach to constitution making and constitution interpretation. By using a comparative approach students will examine the possibilities and limits of modern constitutions. The course will include the study and evaluation of the role of judicial review, individual freedoms, separation of powers, centralization of decision making, pluralism and the protection of democratic principles.

Purpose: Globalization and the development of new nations and expanding economics require lawyers to understand competing constitutional structures, principles, and limitations if they are to effectively represent their public or private clients. Lawyers must go beyond domestic law and should be aware of constitutional trends in order to assess and evaluate foreign or transnational developments when advising public institutions or business clients. The course will also encourage students to evaluate the foundation of individual legal systems, to study the competing cultures in the world and how they address similar problems and to assess the role of adjudicatory bodies in judicial review and constitutional interpretation. Finally, the course will address a number of questions related to social welfare and personnel freedoms and how these issues are considered in emerging and traditional constitutions.

Coverage: Topics to be covered in the course are the following:

  • Definitions of a Constitution
  • Constitutions and Constitutionalism
  • Courts and Constitutions
  • Separation of Powers and Governance
  • Pluralism
  • Personnel Freedoms
  • Social Welfare Rights
  • Centralization and Federalism
  • Privacy
  • Economic Rights
  • Due Process
  • Guarantees of democracy

Required Previous Knowledge

Three years of university 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

Seminars.

Students will be expected to attend class and participate in class discussions.

Schedule: Class schedule reflect 2 hours (45 minutes per hour)

Session 1 Introduction to comparative constitutional law, why study comparative constitutionalism, rule of law, historical and contemporary constitutional structures, written and unwritten constitutions.

Session 2 Role of the judiciary, judicial review, constitutional adjunication, standing, justiciability, constitutional interpretation, foreign and comparative materials.

Session 3: Historical constitutions, basic frameworks, primary components, separation of power and federalism,

Session 4: Emerging national constitutions, current frameworks and principles.

Session 5: Pluralism and constitutional guarantees of democracy

Session 6: Freedom of expression, comparative perspective of free speech, freedom of religion, church and state

Session 7: Equality, individual, minority and group rights, dignity and privacy

Session 8: Economic rights, regulation, contracts, choice of occupation, and social welfare rights.

Session 9: Due process, comparative systems, trials, protections, responsibilities and rights.

Session 10: Conclusion, evaluation, summary and course review.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

None

Forms of Assessment

Semester with teaching:

  • A paper of 1800 words maximum. Topic for the paper will be announced by the lecturer at the beginning of the semester.
  • A final four hour digital examination consisting of two or more essay questions.

The paper will count for 25% and the final examnination will count for 75% of the final grade.

Semester without teaching:

A four hour digital school exam

A - E for passed, F for failed. 

Exam language:

- Question paper: English

- Answer paper: English

Support materials allowed during school 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

No academic overlapping with courses at the Law Faculty in Bergen.

Course Evaluation

According to administrative arrangements for evaluating courses at the Law Faculty

Contact

Contact Information

Course teacher: Professor II Larry Bakken

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

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Written examination

    Date
    30.11.2017, 09:00
    Duration
    4 hours
    Withdrawal deadline
    16.11.2017
    Examination system
    Inspera
    Digital exam
    Location