Comparative Law

Comparative Law, A level, 7,5 credits

Welcome to the Fall Semester 2017!

My name is Mattias Derlén and I am the teacher primarily responsible for the course Comparative Law. I hope the information below will answer any question you might have regarding the course. If you have some additional questions, do not hesitate to contact me by any of the means listed on the bottom of this page. Also, make sure to regularly check the course website, available through Cambro once the course starts.

What Will You Learn? 

As the name suggests, comparative law is the study of law by comparing legal systems. The course will in this regard give you an introduction to law by examining and comparing several different legal systems. As evident from the schedule, the acitivities of the course that achieve this are divided in four parts. (i) The first part contains an introduction the topic of comparative law as such as well as some of the major legal systems of the world, including their historical development. (ii) Once you have become familiar with these traditions, we will compare how they differ with relation to some general traits of the legal system by asking fundamental legal questions, such as what is law, what are relevant legal sources, and what are the roles of different legal institutions. (iii) The third part similiarly compares legal systems but this time with regard to specific substantive and procedural topics, for example contracts, family and criminal law. (iv) In the fourth part we discuss the future of comparative law and (v) the fifth and final part of the course consists of the examination (see below).


The schedule can be found on the link on this page. As the schedule shows, the course includes both lectures and seminars. In seminars, the students meet in groups and together with a teacher discuss a specific topic. Much of the learning in the course will take place in preparing for each seminar. Specific instructions regarding the topic, questions and materials for each seminar will be posted on the course website in Cambro.


To be able to follow the course you will need a copy of the course textbook (see the course litterature list). Throughout the course, additional material will also be distributed throught the course website. 


To pass the course you need to (i) actively participate in all mandatory seminars (as marked on the schedule) and (ii) write and defend a paper at the end of the course. The grade of the course is entirely determined through the paper. Further instructions about this paper will be given at the beginning of the course. If you fail to present an acceptable paper, there will be opportunities for reexamination. In preparing your paper, please observe that Umeå Univeristy takes plagiarism very seriously. If you have any doubts what constitutes plagiarism, please let me know.

Introduction & Registration

The course starts with introduction and registration Wednesday, August 30, at 13.15 in hall S304 of the Social Science Building (Samhällsvetarhuset), immediately followed by the first lecture of the course. If you are unable to participate at that time but intend to take the course, please contact me as soon as possible.


I am academically responsible for the course. If you have any problems or questions of academic nature, you can e-mail me at or call me at (+46) 090-786 92 32. Katarina Lundqvist is the course secretary and handles all administrative questions. You can e-mail her at or call her at (+46) 090-786 88 28. 

Best regards,
Mattias Derlén

Page Editor: Sofia Strömgren

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Course DescriptionApplication InformationSyllabusCourse Literature

The above syllabus also applies when the course is taken as a part of the Master of Law-programme, except that the grading scale for the Master of Law-programme is used.

For Admitted Students

Course Material (Cambro)Schedule