Foundations of Law

Module 1b

Prof. Clifford Larsen, Dr. Dr. Adem Koyuncu, Georgiana Capraru Ianus

The legal systems of different countries resemble each other in some ways, for a variety of reasons, including common legal heritages, efforts to achieve international harmonization of laws, and others.  However, there remain significant differences in legal systems.  Attorneys and businesspeople are often unaware that legal structures and concepts that they take for granted in their home countries are not shared elsewhere.  An awareness of these similarities and differences is particularly important for businesspeople and attorneys working in the international arena.

The Foundations of Law module considers a number of topics, an understanding of which is of significant practical use to businesspeople and attorneys.  Through the analysis of a hypothetical case in three different legal systems, the Comparative Law section of the module considers the differences and similarities in the concepts, organization, and functioning of national legal systems.  Unlike much comparative law instruction, this module section analyzes not just directly relevant substantive law, but also other legal principles that can be decisive in any given situation. These principles include procedural law generally, the (non) availability of discovery, and the compensation of attorneys.  This module section is "team-taught" by two lecturers.

A second section of the module consists of a critical discussion of fundamental features of the United States legal system.  In this context, students will consider constitutional law, statutory law, and case law principles, the concepts of court jurisdiction and court structures, and the legal profession.  A "moot court" competition highlights the intersection of legal principles with the actual work of practicing attorneys. 

A third section of the module focuses on the European Union, the importance of which has grown exponentially in recent years.  The analysis of European Union law is thus important not only in its own right; this analysis also creates the means to compare and contrast the European Union with the U.S. system and provides students with an additional perspective on systems in which legal competences are divided between different law-making levels.

Throughout the module, emphasis is placed on the practical application of principles and on insights gained through the comparative analysis. This emphasis is also seen in the module lecturers, who come from and are admitted to practice in several different countries