91365 - Foundations Of Private Comparative Law

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Peace, justice and strong institutions Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course introduces students to the knowledge of private law from a comparative perspective, encouraging the acquisition of a critical awareness of the strategic role that this perspective assumes in the contemporary legal context.

The aim of the course is to provide students with the basic methodological knowledge of comparative analysis, applied to the Western Legal Tradition (and to the two major sub-traditions of common law and civil law). Particular attention is paid to the study of the similarities and differences in legal mentality, to the study of the phenomena of circulation of legal models between different legal systems and to the study of the interaction between legal formants - doctrine, case law and legislation in the first place - in defining the norms and the great classifications of private law sector.

The outcome of the course is the development of knowledge and work skills when operating with different rules and regulations, as well as the development of skills that contribute to forming a legal scholar of international dimension.

Course contents

The course is divided into two modules of 15 hours each.

The course program is organized as follows:

1 Introduction to comparative law

2. The Common law system

2.A. The British Model

2.B. The US Model

3. The civil law system

2.A. The French Model

2.B. The German Model

4. Micro-comparison: Contract Law

5. Micro-comparison: Tort Law

6. Micro-comparison: Property Law


Rodolfo Sacco, "Legal Formants: A Dynamic Approach to Comparative Law" (I and II), in American Journal of Comparative Law, n. 39 vol 1 and 2, 1991.

William Tetley, "Mixed Jurisdiction: Common Law v. Civil Law (Codified and Uncodified)", in Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 60 n. 3, 2000, pp. 676-738.

Teaching methods

The course follows an interdisciplinary approach, aimed at the direct involvement of the students, combining the classic frontal lessons with the study and critical analysis of some case law that have played a central role in the definition of the rules and in the evolution of the system. The reading of some fundamental texts for the framing of normative contexts and the various legal processes and the vision of some films that represent the legal experiences of common law, in its main expressions, will also be included as teaching methods.

The lessons of the first semester of the academic year 2021/2022 will be held in a mixed method, in presence and online, in order to allow students that are not able to be in class, to follow the course.

The course is held by prof. Marina Timoteo and Prof. Angela Carpi

The participation to to course is compulsory for students of Legal Studies degree. The intensity and continuity of participation to the course will be assessed by the professors at the beginning of each class

Assessment methods

The evaluation takes place only through the final exam, which ensures the acquisition of the required knowledge by conducting an oral examination.

The oral examination consists of an interview with the teacher or the assistants of the teacher, on both modules, which can not be object of separate examination.

The examination is designed to appreciate the level of understanding and mastery of the comparative method in the study of private law topics, as well as the ability of active working with the fundamental rules of the different systems. The achievement by the student of an organic vision of the issues addressed, and in particular the ability to capture the dynamic aspects of private law topics, in a comparative perspective, gathering similarities and differences, influences and cohesion, will be evaluated with marks of excellence. The knowledge of the topics covered in the course that is mainly mnemonic and notional and that will lead to an oral colloquium not well supported by reasoning of synthesis and analysis of the issues, and the using an organic and correct language but not always appropriate, will lead to an average pass outcome; training gaps and / or inappropriate language, albeit in the context of a minimal knowledge of the exam material, will lead to just enough mark; training gaps, inappropriate language, lack of guidance within the texts, will be adversely evaluated.

In order to sit for the exam, registration through the electronic platform "Almaesami" is required, in compliance with mandatory deadlines (usually 7 days before the date set for the examination). Those who do not succeed with the enrolling by the due date, are required to report promptly (and in any case before the official closing of the registration lists) the problem to the school's secretary office. The professor, evaluated the problem, will decide about the admission to sit for the exam.

Registration via email and out of the terms, will not be accepted.

The course will be held in the first semester and therefore students who have chosen the course in the current year will be able to sit for the exam starting from the month of January.

Only students that are regularly enrolled, that paid all the due university taxes will be able to sit for the examinations. Under no circumstances it will be possible to sit the examination and proceed with the registration not simultaneously.

Teaching tools

The lessons could be integrated with seminar meetings and workshops.

Office hours

See the website of Marina Timoteo

See the website of Angela Carpi