The course is designed to introduce students to the civil law tradition, with specific reference to French and German civil law tradition. Constant reference will also be given to the Italian civil law tradition. The introduction to the civil law will mostly avail itself of comparisons between civil law and common law traditions. This approach will therefore call for a previous investigation on the theoretical underpinnings of “comparative” law as a legal discipline.
Emphasis will be placed on the historical ancient and more recent roots that help explaining why civil law systems have developed features that distinguish the two law systems. Attention will also be given to the supposed converging trends between the two legal families. In a world that is globalizing universal structures are on the increase and the exponential growth of technologies poses new challenges that need to be addressed by giving prompt and creative answers, without waiting for legislative solutions.
The course will consider topics such as legal reasoning the education of lawyers, the system of the civil codes, the judicial interpretation of statutes, the force of precedents and the role of judicial review. Firsthand experience of the civilian every day legal life will be shared as much as possible. The ultimate goal will be the student not only to “learn” but also, to some extent, to “experience” how civil lawyers approach the law.