Comparative Private Law (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Marco Torsello, Giorgia Guerra
Marco Torsello
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
2° periodo di lezioni - febbraio/marzo 2021 dal Feb 15, 2021 al Mar 29, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

This course provides students with an introduction to comparative methodologies in the study of law, focusing on the distinction between the civil law and the common law legal tradition and on the process of unification of private law. Moreover, through the study of specific issues relevant to private business relationships (property, contract, torts, IP), it provides students with a comparative analysis of legal solutions found in different legal systems and in supranational uniform law instruments.
Upon completion of the course, students shall have acquired the ability to identify and analyze problems common to several national and transnational legal systems, to identify the different legal solutions available and measure similarities, differences and effectiveness, through critical thinking and personal analysis. Moreover, they shall have developed the abilities to arrange for solutions and use legal arguments, as required in subsequent years of study and in the exercise of professional activities related to the topics covered by the course.


The expected learning outcomes for this course are:
(A) Knowledge:
1. Using comparative methodologies in the analysis of private law matters so as to measure similarities and differences between the main legal systems;
2. Identifying the law applicable to a transnational private relationship, by selecting between national and supranational legal sources;
3. Arranging the national solutions adopted as regards the law of property, contract and torts in accordance to the different models that characterize different legal traditions;
4. Acquiring the basic legal tool necessary to practice the legal profession in a transnational context.
(B) Skills:
5. Utilizing the freedom granted to party autonomy in order to efficiently select the law applicable to a given relationship on the basis of a comparative analysis of the solutions adopted in different legal systems;
6. Transposing legal concepts from one legal system to another with an emphasis on the conceptual differences in legal notions that appear to be similar;
7. Predicting and guiding the process of identification, interpretation and application of foreign law before national courts.
With the view to pursuing the said learning outcomes, the course will cover the following topics:
- Object and methodology of comparative law;
- National law, conflict of laws and legal unification;
- Comparative contract law: formation and fairness of the contract;
- Comparative contract law: performance and warranties;
- Comparative contract law: breach and supervening events;
- Comparative law of torts: liability for fault;
- Comparative law of torts: strict liability;
- Comparative law of property and IP law;
- Comparative law of competition and market regulation.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Franco Ferrari, Marco Torsello International Sales Law - CISG in a Nutshell (Edizione 2) West Law Publishing, St. Paul 2018 9781640201279

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam, consisting of an oral discussion, aims at verifying the level of achievement of the learning objectives previously identified. The final grade will be based as for 2/3 on the evaluation of the knowledge indicated in the expected learning outcomes and as for 1/3 on the evaluation of skills. In particular, as for the knowledge, one question will deal with comparative methodologies in the analysis of private law and/or with the legal approach to the assessment of the law applicable to cross-border relations; another question will deal with one of the substantive private law matters encountered in class (property, contract and torts) as well as with the relevance of comparative law for the legal profession. As to the relevant skills identified in the learning outcomes, a last question will aim at evaluating the student's ability to use party autonomy on the basis of a comparative analysis of the relevant legal rules.