Comparative constitutional traditions (2016/2017)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Matteo Nicolini
Matteo Nicolini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
2° periodo di lezioni - 1° anno (2B) dal Mar 23, 2017 al May 6, 2017.

Lesson timetable

2° periodo di lezioni - 1° anno (2B)
Day Time Type Place Note
Thursday 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall F from Mar 30, 2017  to Apr 20, 2017
Friday 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall F  
Saturday 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall F from Mar 25, 2017  to Mar 26, 2017
Saturday 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall F from Apr 29, 2017  to Apr 30, 2017
Saturday 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall F from May 6, 2017  to May 6, 2017

Learning outcomes

The course intends to examine the legal systems of the world that are not part of the Western legal tradition, in general, and on African constitutionalism, in particular. The course will use the comparative legal method, which is useful in cross-national analyses, and will focus on the interrelations between non-Western legal systems and Euro-Atlantic constitutionalism. Therefore, the course will start with the definition of the concept of tradition, which governs the constitutional narrative in the different legal systems of the world. Thus, the constitutional narrative resorts to the concept and to the institutes that are typical of a specific legal tradition in order to confer legitimization to constitutional and legal changes in the different legal families. The lectures will shed light on the non-Western legal tradition by examining the sources of law, the frame of government, and the protection of minorities


The course will be divided into three parts:
1. Comparative method and constitutional legal studies. The concept of legal tradition. Assessing of the Eurocentric classifications: the legal systems of the world. Legal systems, legal families, ethnocentrism and Euro-Atlantic constitutionalism: mutual interferences and legal borrowings. The role of legal linguistics, legal geography, legal anthropology in assessing the legal traditions of the world. The functions and forms of the constitutional designs in non-Western legal systems: protecting, overriding and legitimising the legal tradition.
2. African Law. Mixed jurisdictions. Islamic Law. Hindu Law. Hebrew Law. Far Eastern legal systems. The Russian area.
3. Southern African Legal Systems. African constitutionalism: Kenya, Malawi, Zambia.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam

Teaching aids