LAWS368-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022

Comparative Law: New Zealand Law in Global Context

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 21 February 2022
End Date: Sunday, 26 June 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 6 March 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 15 May 2022


Comparative Law is the study and understanding of different systems of law both as an end in itself and as a means of better understanding the "home" jurisdiction. In an increasingly globalised world, it is fundamentally important to understand the variety of approaches to law that exist and to understand that our own approach is merely one of many. This course provides a basic introduction to the methods of comparative law and a brief overview of key differences in the world’s various legal systems. Case studies will provide a deeper understanding of selected overseas jurisdictions and aspects of law. Students who study this course will be well equipped to face the increasingly globalised nature of law and society.

In an increasingly globalised world, it is vital for law graduates to understand how other legal systems work and the place of New Zealand in the global legal world. Comparative law is the study and understanding of different systems of law both as an end in itself and as a means of better understanding the "home" jurisdiction. This course aims to provide students with an understanding of comparative law in practice and in theory as well as giving students a basic understanding of selected overseas jurisdiction.
The course begins by considering the nature of comparative law, its history and importance. This introductory section will also expose students to selected theories, methods and challenges present in comparative legal studies. To assist with this understanding, students will be introduced to the main legal traditions (or legal families) which exist globally, including drawing relevant contrasts and similarities between the dominant legal traditions. Particular attention will be paid to the continuing role of indigenous customary law in many legal systems.

The second part of this course will be taught through case studies. This method is used to illuminate the challenges inherent in comparative legal studies and help students develop a degree of substantive knowledge about particular jurisdictions. These case studies will be both regionally and thematically chosen. Case study examples will be chosen from across a range of countries from the Asia/Pacific, Europe, Africa and the Americas. The specific themes of these classes will vary depending upon the research interests of staff and issues of contemporary relevance. They will include topics diverse as: the law of obligations; administrative law; contemporary environmental challenges (such as natural resource depletion and climate change); indigenous and customary law.

The course will be delivered through weekly two hour student-led seminars. Participation in seminars is compulsory and students should arrive ready to engage in discussion. This will require at least one piece of reading prior to each class.

Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student at the end of this course will be expected to explain and critically evaluate:
  • A variety of legal systems existing in the world today;
  • The conceptual theories to understand and critique such systems;
  • Methods and techniques of comparative research;
  • The importance of customary and indigenous legal systems.

    A successful student at the end of this course will be expected to be able to:
  • Present their comparative research through oral and visual mediums.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Timetable 2022

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 13:00 - 15:00 Jack Erskine 340 (22/2-1/3, 15/3-5/4, 3/5-31/5)
F1 Lectorial (8/3)
21 Feb - 10 Apr
2 May - 5 Jun

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

John Hopkins


Elizabeth Macpherson


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Research Essay 03 Jun 2022 40%
Student Seminar Presentation 10%
Seminar Portfolio 50%

Assessment methods are 100% internal. There is an emphasis on continuous assessment in this course.

The assessment will be confirmed in the first week of lectures.

Textbooks / Resources

There is no set text for this course. Specific reading will be provided in seminar handouts and via LEARN. This will be available in the library either in physical form or in digital copy. Students are encouraged to read beyond the recommended reading and develop their own bibliographies.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $845.00

International fee $4,313.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Faculty of Law .

All LAWS368 Occurrences

  • LAWS368-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022