Comparing Legal Cultures in Europe

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


  1. Learn to appeciate and actively use the legal cultural model as analytical tool for legal comparative analysis.
  2. Increase students understanding of the legal cultures of England, Scotland, Norway and Germany from a comparative perspective.
  3. Improve your ability to communicate to members from other legal cultures and critically evaluate legal cultural challenges, developments and changes both domestically and abroad.

As a general competence the student should improve their skills in writing and comunication academic English and identify and overcome potential challenges when working with lawyers or other professionals in an international environment.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • identify the main structural elements and the subcategories of the legal cultural model
  • apply the legal cultural model in order to identify similarities and differences in legal cultures in Europe and by doing so
  • compare central features in these legal cultures.

In addition, you should be able to

  • use legal cultural model in combination with the functional and historical approach to legal comparative reserarch in order to
  • identify,
  • describe,
  • categorise,
  • explain
  • and discuss both orally and in writing differences and similarities of institutionalised forms of norm production and conflict resolution as well as the prevailing ideal of justice, legal methods, the degree of and attitude towards professionalization and internationalisation of law and its impacts on the English, Scottish, Norwegian and German legal culture.

Furthermore you should be able to

  • critically evaluate the narrative of different legal traditions in Europe, and
  • discuss possible challanges and solutions for, but also limits of, the harmonization of legal cultures in Europe
  • interpret, dixuss and develop legal domestic solutions based on value based assessments and relevant policy-considerations taking into account the specific legal cultural context the solution is ment ot produce effects in.

You should improve your ability to

    • communicate both orally and in writing in English by
    • critically apply established legal comparative terminology and methods and
    • to work independently as well as in groups


Full time

ECTS Credits

10 ECTS Credits

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Bergen Law Faculty
Required Previous Knowledge
Three years of university studies.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Three years of law studies.
Subject Overlap

Overlaps 50% with JUS134. In combination with JUS134, JUS290-2-A gives 5 ECTS

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

Overlaps 50% with JUS134. In combination with JUS134, JUS290-2-A gives 5 ECTS

Combines successfully with

Introductory course for exchange students ¿ Exploring the Norwegian Legal Culture. The course is not mandatory, however a good preparation for this course as it is based on the same operationalised concept of legal culture as JUS290-2-A.

In addition

JUS297-2-A Comparative European Constitutional Law

JUS292-2-A Introduction to Chinese Law

Access to the Course


The course is available for the following students:

  • Admitted to the integrated master programme in law
  • Admitted to the two-year master programme in law
  • Granted admission to elective courses at the Faculty of Law
  • Granted additional right to study following completed master degree in law at UiB
  • Exchange students at the Faculty of Law

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

Teaching and learning methods
Lectures and seminars.
Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching
Lectures and seminars.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

One paper maximum 5000 words written by teams of 5 - 6 students. The individual contributions are max 1000 words. The paper will be peer assessed by fellow students in addition to receiving a teacher¿s review. All students are expected to submit peer comments.

The assignments are considered both as a whole and in their individual parts with pass/fail (not part of the final grading). Contribution to the group paper and peer assessment is mandatory. Only students who have met both individual and group requirements are admitted to the final home exam.

The groups are also given the opportunity to (voluntary) present the assignment in order to get feedback from fellow students/course teachers and make adjustments before the final submission deadline.

Forms of Assessment

Home exam. Maximum 2000 words in total.

Exam in teaching semesters only.

Exam language:

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


Resit reserved for students who have completed the formative assessment (i.e. essay and peer review process).

Course Evaluation
According to faculty routines.
Examination Support Material

Support materials allowed during school exam:

See section 3-5 of the Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.

Special regulations about dictionaries:

  • According to the Regulations for Studies, one dictionary is permitted support material during the examination. Bilingual dictionaries containing for example both Norwegian-English and English-Norwegian are considered as one dictionary.
  • Bilingual dictionaries to/from the same two languages - for example Norwegian-English/English-Norwegian - in two different volumes are also considered as one dictionary (irrespective of publisher or edition).
  • Dictionaries as described above cannot be combined with any other types of dictionaries.
  • Any kind of combination which makes up more than two physical volumes is forbidden.
  • In case a student has a special need for any other combination than the above mentioned, such combination has to be clarified with/approved by the course coordinator minimum two weeks before the exam. Students who have not been granted permission to have a special combination minimum two weeks before the exam will be subject to the usual regulations (Section 3-5) about examination support materials.
Course Coordinator
Professor Søren Koch.