Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 620276-B-6
GLB: The World's Legal Systems
Course info
Course module620276-B-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryBA (Bachelor)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg Law School; TLS: Public Law, Jurisprud.Legal History; Public Law, Jurisprudence and Legal History;
Is part of
B Global Law
Contact personP.M. Paiement
Coordinator course
P.M. Paiement
Other course modules lecturer
P.M. Paiement
Other course modules lecturer
dr. G. van der Schyff
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2018
Starting block
SM 1
Course mode
RemarksThis information is not up to date. Check the Course Catalog 2019 or select the course via “Register”.
Registration openfrom 13/08/2018 09:00 up to and including 31/07/2019

Students taking this course will learn to:

  • Describe and explain the comparative and transnational study of legal traditions.
  • Differentiate between the major legal traditions of the world and describe their basic elements and characteristics.
  • Discuss the historical backgrounds of these traditions.
  • Apply the basic methodology of comparative law to critically analyze and evaluate differences between legal traditions


Attendance for this course is mandatory, as with all Global Law Bachelor courses. Students are expected to attend class having read the required course materials and to actively participate in class discussions. 

The exam is a written open book exam. 

Exchange students please contact the Exchange coordinator, Nicolas Bohórquez Cortés for more information on how to enrol for this course.


Aims and learning outcomes

The course 'World Legal Systems' offers a general introduction and lays the foundations necessary to study the law in a comparative and transnational perspective. The course has three main aims. First, it gives students insight in the general characteristics of the leading legal traditions in the world, as well as the major differences between national legal systems within these legal traditions. Second, it will explain the differences between legal traditions and systems by exploring the historical development of these legal traditions and systems within their different political and cultural contexts. Third, it will acquaint students with the methodology of comparative law.


The course consists of two major parts. The first part pertains to the study of the main formal characteristics and institutions of the major legal traditions and some important national systems which represent these traditions. The focus is on the formal, external characteristics pertaining to the process of lawmaking and law enforcement. The major traditions to be studied are the civil law tradition, the common law tradition, the tradition of Islamic law and the tradition of Chinese law. In this part, the four legal traditions are studied autonomously, without direct comparison. For each tradition, the main stages of its historical development and the current status of the lawmaking and law enforcement mechanisms and underlying theories are explained. The historical analysis is external and contextualized, in the sense that the historical development is used to indicate the interactions between cultural, political and legal developments. The second part is comparative. It introduces some major theories about the methodology of legal comparison. Typical questions to be dealt with are: how can knowledge about a foreign legal system be gained so that real comparison between two or more systems becomes possible? What obstacles is one likely to encounter when comparing legal traditions, concepts and institutions? In this part, students will apply these methods in relation to two or three major material legal issues for the four legal traditions studied.

Type of instructions


Type of exams

Written Exam
The exam is a written open book exam.

Compulsory Reading
  1. Patrick Glenn, Legal Traditions of the World, Oxford UP, 2014, ISBN 9780199669837.
  2. Mathias Siems, Comparative Law, Cambridge UP, 2014, ISBN 9780521177177.
Timetable information
620276-B-6|GLB: The World's Legal Systems
Written test opportunities
Written test opportunities (HIST)
Schriftelijk / WrittenEXAM_01SM 1107-12-2018
Schriftelijk / WrittenEXAM_01SM 1204-01-2019
Required materials
Recommended materials


Kies de Nederlandse taal