LLAW6156 Comparative constitutional law

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6156 / JDOC6156
Course name: Comparative Constitutional Law
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: Second
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credit / 6 credits

1.2 Course description

This interdisciplinary course will survey a combination of fundamental questions and cutting-edge scholarly debates concerning both constitutional drafting and constitutional adjudication. Readings will consist primarily of social science scholarship as opposed to judicial decisions and will have a primarily empirical as opposed to normative orientation.

Law school courses in comparative constitutional law have traditionally focused on constitutional adjudication to the exclusion of constitutional drafting. However, questions of constitutional drafting and constitutional design are of considerable and growing importance. Accordingly, this course will address not only how constitutions are interpreted and enforced, but also how they are created in the first place. The course will begin by considering foundational questions, such as: What is a constitution? What purpose(s) do constitutions serve? What practical effect, if any, do constitutions have? What topics should be addressed by a constitution?

Other topics to be addressed include the process by which constitutions are drafted; the extent to which the content of national constitutions has become standardized;  the relationship between constitutional law and international law; the extent to which constitutional courts around the world employ common analytical techniques and the usage of foreign law by constitutional courts. The goal will be to develop an empirically informed understanding of recurring patterns and contemporary standards in constitutional drafting and constitutional adjudication. The course will be conducted in a seminar format, meaning that much of class time will be spent exploring the questions and arguments posed by the material through group discussion rather than through lectures by the instructor.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor David Law dslaw@hku.hk CCT-306 By email

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Compare and critically evaluate competing descriptive theories of constitutional drafting.

CLO 2 Apply social science theories to describe and explain the behavior of courts.

CLO 3 Describe and explain competing views of the impact of globalization on constitutional law.

CLO 4 Critically evaluate constitutional jurisprudence and make constitutional arguments from a comparative perspective.

CLO 5  Critically evaluate constitutional jurisprudence and make constitutional arguments from a comparative perspective.

2.2 LLM Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

PLO A On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the body of legal knowledge and the capacity to conduct research on, critically analyse and evaluate legal principles, at a level required to meet the standards and expectations of the legal profession and the community at large.

PLO B On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply their legal knowledge and research skills to practical situations or theoretical challenges, and utilise their comparative understanding of the law and its political, social and cultural contexts to provide original and creative insights to legal problems.

PLO C On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply the knowledge, lawyering skills and legal reasoning to real and novel situations in life, with a view to resolving issues, problems and disputes within the legal parameters.

PLO D On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to present effectively legal arguments in the professional context, as well as conveying and explaining the law effectively to lay clients and members of the larger community.

PLO E On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to appreciate the underlying moral values of the law and ethics in the profession and the legal system in the broad social, economic, political and cultural contexts: justice, the Rule of Law, and protection of rights and liberties which form the fabrics of a civilised society, and the importance of upholding these values by the legal community.

PLO F On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to develop a strong awareness of social issues and conditions, and utilise analytical abilities and rhetorical advocacy to provide leadership for the betterment of the human community.

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course

PLO A PLO B PLO C PLO D PLO E PLO F
CLO 1  ✓
CLO 2  ✓
CLO 3  ✓
CLO 4  ✓
CLO 5  ✓

3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
To be advised TBC 100% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/grading-criteria/

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/

By the publication of the course profile online, the Faculty deems the student as having been notified of the course requirements.