Aims of the course are the following: a) introduction to the study of comparative law through the analysis of history, goals, methods and classifications usually used by comparative legal scholars; b) identification of the peculiar aspects of the main Western civil law and common law systems; c) understanding and evaluation of the similarities and differences between legal systems.

The second part of the course shall be devoted to the study of comparative company law, applying the comparative devices learnt during the first part. The topic becomes quite relevant in view of the several (spontaneous or statutory) harmonization processes this area of law is undergoing.

During the course, there will be case discussions and students’ presentations

Part I

Functions, aims and methods of comparative law
Classification of different legal systems.
The Western legal tradition in the main civil law and common law legal systems: sources of law; patterns of legal reasoning; interpretation of law; lawyers’ education and practice; judiciary power and courts’ organization; style of laws, courts’ decisions and scholarship contributions and their interrelations; importance of binding precedents. Review of the basic institutions in the various systems, such as, in the common law, the use of trust in commercial activity.

Introduction to comparative law. Unification and harmonization of law

The civil law systems.
History. French, German and Swiss legal systems

The common law systems.
History. The English system and the US system.

Peculiarities of the common law: the law of trusts

Part II

Comparative company law, with a focus on the main corporate governance issues in civil law and common law systems

Sources of law and types of companies

Introduction to corporate governance

Ownership structure and agency problems

Organization of the company. Two-tier and one-tier systems