LL4Z6      Half Unit
Comparative Constitutional Law

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jo Murkens NAB7.31


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places and we cannot guarantee all students will get a place.

Course content

Comparative Constitutional Law is a rejuvenated discipline that attracts a broad range of interdisciplinary interest in the formation, design, and operation of constitutions. This course examines the central issues across a range of jurisdictions and from a variety of perspectives. Part I discusses various approaches to the study of CCL as well as the migration of constitutional ideas and related notions of constitutional borrowing and legal transplants. Part II deals with key constitutional concepts, such as fundamental law, constitutional change, the rule of law, as well as an introduction to the constitution of the United Kingdom, which are discussed from a historical and comparative perspective. Part III deals with constitutional design, a classic as well as topical area of comparative law. As well as offering a critique of mainstream liberal thought that idealises constitutions as normative constraints on politics, these sessions examine whether formal constitutions in divided and authoritarian societies facilitate democratisation and political change or whether they undermine democracy and entrench the rulers. The study of law, like the study of all social phenomena, is always comparative - and inevitably fragmented. This objective of the course is to study comparative constitutional law comprehensively, critically, and contextually (historical, conceptual, regional). This approach enables the student to branch out independently into related areas and topics.


This course will have two hours of teaching content each week in Michaelmas Term, either in the form of a two hour seminar or an online lecture and one hour class. There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

One 2,000-word essay.

Indicative reading

There is not a set book for this course. All materials will be made available in advance on Moodle.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2020/21: 36

Average class size 2020/21: 17

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills