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Legal Systems: Sources & Operation - LAW00018M

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Kathryn Wright
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

The overall objective of the module is to help provide a context within which you will study other modules the LLM programmes. It provides both an introduction to different legal regimes and a foundation for understanding English law in relation to other jurisdictions. This means that you will be introduced to some different theoretical and methodological frameworks across different legal jurisdictions, which are necessary for a fuller appreciation of the international context of law. In addition, the module will introduce you to legal skills in relation to locating legal sources.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module will be a compulsory element of the LLM degree, to prepare students for the rest of the taught course. It will provide an introduction to the study of comparative law and a foundation for understanding the study of English law in so far as it is relevant to the rest of the course. These skills will be developed through lectures, seminars and exercises on relevant legal topics.

The principal aims are:

  • To give students a grounding in the understanding of the difference between common law systems (such as England) and civil law systems 
  • To introduce students to the techniques and methodologies of studying law in a comparative manner, including reading cases and statutes/codes and undertaking legal research
  • To give students an awareness of the usefulness of studying law comparatively, in the context of internationalisation of law
  • To introduce students to the core skills for studying law at York Law School

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

  • An ability to classify different legal systems
  • An understanding of some key similarities and differences between common law systems (such as English law) and civil legal systems
  • An ability to identify sources and institutions of public and private international law
  • An ability to undertake legal research (including finding and using primary sources such as cases and statutes/codes and secondary sources such as academic journal articles) from the University library and its on-line resources

Academic and graduate skills

  • Act autonomously and in a group to define legal problems and determine how to research legal issues relevant to those problems
  • Critically evaluate and understand relevant theoretical and methodological frameworks in different legal jurisdictions
  • Begin to construct coherent and logical arguments at a basic level, addressing legal and practical issues relevant to legal problems
  • Make use of appropriate legal materials
  • Begin the practice of reflecting critically on their own learning in the course


Task Length % of module mark
Reflective Report
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Reflective Report
N/A 100

Module feedback

Individual feedback form with reference to assessment criteria returned at end of term 1

Indicative reading

M Siems, Comparative Law (Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 2018)

K Zweigert & H Koetz, An Introduction to Comparative Law (Oxford University Press, 3rd edition, 1998)


The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.