Spring 2014
    Law No.: LAW7635
    Sched. No.: 114219059

Legal Theory in Europe and the United States: A Comparative Analysis (SC)
Section 1
Duxbury, Neil T.

Administrative Information:
During SIS enrollment, check on SIS for real-time enrollment numbers
Days, Times (Room):MTWR, 0820-0950 (WB121)
Credits:1Type:Lecture - short course
Capacity:20 **This information is current as of 04/17/2014 06:14:37 AM**
Current Enrollment:13 **This information is current as of 04/17/2014 06:14:37 AM**
Syllabus: View Syllabus (requires LawWeb account)

Course Description:

This short course meets Monday-Thursday, 8:20-9:50 a.m., April 7-17.

Have American and European legal theorists tended to raise the same sorts of questions about law? If they have not, what are the differences in perspective? Twentieth-century European legal theory was dominated by the question of what gives law its validity, whereas American legal theorists have been preoccupied with rather different questions. Yet in Europe and the United States, legal theorists have ultimately found themselves worrying about much the same set of problems.

This short course is structured around two of these problems. The first of these concerns the notion of law as an autonomous entity. The American realist ideas that law is a form of politics, and that law might be profitably studied from the perspectives of other disciplines, took a long time to take hold in Europe. But what did Europeans do instead? The starting-point for the course is European legal positivism, the basic argument behind which is that the reason that laws are binding on citizens has little if anything to do with the moral content of those laws. We will consider the positivist approach alongside American legal realism.

The second problem on which this course focuses – a problem that neither the European positivists nor the American legal realists handled particularly well – is that of what makes for good judicial decision-making. In this part of the course we will see how Europeans and Americans have adopted similar approaches to this problem, and how they have developed similarly controversial arguments.

The course is designed to introduce American law students to a body of literature that they are unlikely to encounter elsewhere in their studies. It is anticipated that the course will provide students with broader perspectives on some of the problems encountered in other parts of their syllabus, and that it will familiarize them with arguments and literature that they might draw upon when studying, and completing assignments for, other law courses.

ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENT: Attendance at all class sessions is expected