Professor Peter Tiersma, (Loyola Law School, Los Angeles)
This course is a broad overview of the world's major legal traditions. We first will briefly examine customary and ancient law, especially Roman law, which was rediscovered in Bologna in the eleventh century and is the basis of the civil law system used in Europe, Latin America, and parts of Asia. Next, we will discuss the modern civil law tradition, including its use of codes, as well as substantive areas like constitutional, contract, and tort law. Finally, we will survey the pre-eminent contemporary supranational legal system: the European Union. Although time constraints will limit our treatment of these various legal systems, we will cover the basic principles and the most salient features of each one, hoping in this way to gain a greater appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of our own machinery of justice.