Comparative Private Law - Bachelor

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Students are introduced to comparative law as a method of legal enquiry, which is significant to the cosmopolitan lawyer who requires knowledge of more than one legal system. They will consider the practical aims and theoretical underpinnings of the comparative legal method and examine how the process of comparing laws has moved from a pure descriptive analysis into a normative evaluation.

Emphasis is placed on the current use of the comparative method by global actors such as the International Financial Institutions (World Bank, IMF, EBRD) to promote national legal reforms for a better and sustainable economic performance based on the Rule of Law.

Learning Outcomes


On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand the main aspects of the distinction between common law and civil law legal systems
  • analyze the impact of comparative law from comparative and international perspectives, and in the context of social and cultural diversity-understand the reasons for pursuing, and the factors of resistance against, legal harmonization of private laws


On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • identify the different role played by judicial interpretation in the civil law and common law based legal systems
  • understand the reasons supporting the process of harmonization of private laws in Europe
  • cooperate with law students from other countries, and gain perspectives on common legal challenges from students from a legal background different than their own
  • contribute with perspectives from their own country and legal background.

General competence

On successful completion of the course students should be:

  • able to participate in discussions concerning the role of comparative law in the making of legal reforms
  • familiar with the use of comparative law made by international institutions to propose best models for updating private and commercial laws
  • able to present and evaluate legal analyses and points of view in English, both orally and in writing

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Faculty of Law, University of Bergen
Required Previous Knowledge
Two years of law studies
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Good level of English language
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

In combination with JUS358 Comparative Private Law, JUS278-2-A Comparative Private Law or JUS3504 Comparative Private Law this course generates no new credits.

The course combines well with

  • JUS2313/3513 Human Rights and Welfare Policies
  • JUS2321 Introduction to Chinese Civil and Commercial Law
  • JUS2317/3517 Comparative European Constitutional Law
  • JUS2307 Introduction to European Human Rights
  • JUS2308 Constitution, Courts and Politics
  • JUS2320 Comparing Legal Cultures in Europe
Access to the Course

The course is available for students:

  • admitted to the five-year master programme in law
  • exchange students at the Faculty of Law

The pre-requirements may still limit certain students' access to the course

Teaching and learning methods
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Compulsory attendance at lectures/seminars.
Forms of Assessment

Four-hour digital school exam.

Information about digital examination can be found here:

Exam language:

  • Question paper: English
  • Answer paper: English
Grading Scale
A - E for passed, F for failed
Assessment Semester


Students who do not pass the examination may re-sit in the following semester provided that the mandatory activity has been approved and when the examination result is due to

  • legitimate reason for non-attendance (see Section 3-4, paragraph 3 b ii in the Supplementary Regulations)
  • failed result

For rules regarding voluntary re-sit, see Section 3-4, paragraph 1 c.

Reading List
The reading list will be ready 1st July for the autumn semester.
Course Evaluation
According to the administrative arrangements for course evaluation at the Faculty of Law
Examination Support Material

Support materials allowed during the school exam:

Students may bring their own copy of a bilingual dictionary to/from English and any other language, in one or two volumes.
For further info see section 3-9 of the Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.

Programme Committee
The Academic Affairs Committee (Studieutvalget) at the Faculty of Law is responsible for ensuring the material content, structure and quality of the course.
Course Coordinator
Professor Berte-Elen Konow and Guest Professor Gianmaria Ajani.
Course Administrator
The Faculty of Law's section for students and academic affairs (Studieseksjonen) is responsible for administering the programme.