91364 - Foundations Of Public Comparative Law

Course Unit Page


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

Gender equality Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course unit, students: - know the basic aspects of contemporary constitutionalism in Western democracies, countries in transition to democracy and beyond; - may evaluate the foundations of individual legal systems: the assumptions, choices and values that have formed them; - acquired a critical understanding of the strengths and limits of constitutional law in regulating social and political processes.

Course contents

Module 1 (Mancini)

1) What is a Constitution?

2) Why Comparative Constitutional Law?

3)Constitutional Models

7) Protecting Fundamental Rights: Equality, Minority and Group Rights

8) Freedom of Expression

9) Freedom of Religion and Belief

Module 2 (Biagi):

4) Judicial Enforcement of the Constitution and Models of Constitutional Adjudication

5) Horizontal Separation of Powers: Presidentialism and Parliamentarism

6) Federalism Vertical Separation of powers

 Course contents do not vary for Erasmus/Exchange students.


Dorsen, Rosenfeld, Sajo, Baer and Mancini, Comparative Constitutional Law. Cases and Materials, Third Edition, West, 2016 (relevant pages will be uploaded on Virtuale)

Teaching methods

Course requirements include regular class attendance, active participation in class discussion

Assessment methods

The final grade will be determined in the light of a take-home paper (3000 words including footnotes but not including bibliography).

The wordcount for the paper is 3000 (papers will be accepted so long as they are no more 10% below or above that figure).

Students will be able to choose among three topics, which will be made public early at the beginning of the course. You should use the coversheet provided on Online Materials. Papers should contain different Sections, with titles, starting with an Introduction. Papers should not consist in a mere juxtaposition of cases and/or legislation, and should be analytical. You are welcome to provide your personal opinion on your topic, as long as it relies on a robust analysis and on a solid bibliography. Papers should not simply list different countries' legal frames , and should rather engage in a fruitful comparison (comparing the rationale of different laws and different judicial approaches).

You should rely mainly on books, law journal articles and cases (NEVER on Wikipedia). In order to conduct your research, you should go to the Law School library and in case you have difficulties, schedule an appointment with a librarian who can teach you how to access databases. I expect a paper to have a bibliography consisting as a minimum of 15 entries.

Papers should be written in English (spelling must be consistent and can be American or British) in a clear, correct, idiomatic and comprehensible manner.

Papers should include a bibliography at the end, listing all cited works and cases, and should include footnotes (not endnotes). Papers with no footnotes and/or no bibliography will be given a failing grade. Also, below you see how to quote your entries according to the Chicago Manual of Style. You should strictly follow these rules, unless you prefer to quote according to the Oxford (Oscola)style. No other citation style is accepted.Please bear in mind that your grade will be determined also in the light of how accurately you quote your entries.

How to quote different entries:



(up to two authors): Liam P. Unwin and Joseph Galloway, Peace in Ireland(Boston: Stronghope Press, 1990), 193.

(more than 3 authors): Charlotte Marcus et al., Investigation into the Phenomenon of Limited-Field Criticism (Boston: Broadview Press, 1990), 163-165.

(edited books): Anthony B. Tortelli, ed., Sociology Approaching the Twenty- first Century (Los Angles: Peter and Sons, 1991).


Cartright C. Bellworthy, “Reform of Congressional Remuneration,” Political Review 7 , no. 6 (1990): 93-94.



(up to two authors): Unwin, Liam P., and Joseph Galloway. Peace in Ireland. Boston: Stronghope Press, 1990.

(more than 3 authors): Marcus, Charlotte, Jerome Waterman, Thomas Gomez, and Elizabeth DeLor. Investigations into the Phenomenon of Limited-Field Criticism . Boston: Broadview Press, 1990

(edited books): Tortelli, Anthony B., ed. Sociology Approaching the Twenty-fi rst Century . Los Angeles: Peter and Sons, 1991.


Bellworthy, Cartright C. “Reform of Congressional Remuneration.” Political Review 7 , no. 6 (1990): 87-101.

For further clarification please visit the Chicago Manual of Style online at<http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html>


Assessment methods do not vary for Erasmus/Exchange students

Teaching tools

Materials will be available online

Office hours

See the website of Susanna Mancini

See the website of Francesco Biagi