Comparative and European Private Law


This lecture echoes the phenomenon of globalization of contemporary Private Law. The aim of this lecture is to enhance student awareness that their own legal system is not the only way to apprehend the law. Today, lawyers can no longer study Swiss law from a purely national perspective, but have to understand, interpret and apply this law on the basis of Comparative Law.

The lecture is divided into four parts: the first part consists in an introduction to Comparative Law (meaning, origins, purposes and benefits). The second part is dedicated to the method of Comparative Law (functionality, micro- and macro-comparison, choosing the legal system(s) to compare, etc.). The third part studies the transplantation and reception of legal concepts (types of legal transplants, pitfalls, etc.). The fourth part focuses on the characteristics of Civil Law and Common Law (English legal system, US-American legal system) and related systems. The fifth part is devoted to the analysis of a specfic legal figure (i.e. liability for the breach of duty to negotiate in good faith) in different legal systems.
The lecture is designed for students who are interested in the international dimension of Private Law. It is highly recommended for students following the orientations "Business and Tax Law", "Avocature (professions judiciaires)" and "Droit international et européen".
As this lecture is taught in English, a fair mastering of the language of Shakespeare is indispensable, even though it will of course be taken into account that most students are not English native speakers.
The lecture includes a half-day extra muros at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law (ISDC) in Lausanne.


Spring Semester, Wednesday, 14-17, room B 32


Open book oral exam of 15 minutes in English (with 15 minutes preparation time).
Active participation in class discussions is required and counts for half of the final grade.

Course material

Markus Müller-Chen/Christoph Müller/Corinne Widmer-Lüchinger (eds), Comparative Private Law, Dike, Zurich/St. Gall 2015. Additional course material will be available on Moodle.