I came across the following series of recent panels on comparative law, part of the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Comparative Law, on Youtube:
- Panel One: The Basic Comparative Law Course Today
This session addressed the objectives and contents of the basic course in comparative law. Doing so forces one to confront the fundamental questions of why students should study comparative law and whether there is an essential core to the field of which any serious student should be aware. Is the goal of comparative law to examine differences and similarities in discrete subjects of private and/or public law from which students might better understand the competing policies and rule choices in specific fields? Or, is the goal to understand competing legal systems and underlying modes of thought (e.g., common law, civil law, and non-Western traditions, such as Islamic law) from which might flow discussions of the underlying nature of law and legal order? Or, is the essential core to understand the methods by which scholars in different legal systems can compare one with another (as well as the inherent limitations on such comparisons)? How should the objectives of the course change in the future, and how should basic courses in comparative law change in to meet these goals?