Common Law and the Legal System in England and Wales

Course Level

intermediate - advanced / 3rd - 4th year

Course Language

The language of instruction will be English (British / United Kingdom), though your Professor / Lecturer speaks a number of other languages and may occasionally refer to certain words, terms, or expressions in these languages for ease, understanding, and/or comparison.

Course Type and Contact Hours

Lecture and seminar / 5 hrs per week in the second half of the lecture period


5 (if course has been attended regularly and exam has been passed)


This course is going to take place for the first time in the summer term 2019.

Time Schedule and Course Venue

Teaching and sessions will take place over the course of 6 weeks, beginning on the week commencing 3 June 2019.

An up-to-date electronic course catalogue will be available for the winter semester from late August to late February and for the summer semester from late February to mid August on the website Please select "Fachbereiche" - "Rechtswissenschaft" - "Staatsexamensstudiengang" and "Rechtswissenschaft (SPO 2015)" in order to access the Law courses.

Course Description

This module will study the origins and development of common law, and how the system specifically operates within the jurisdiction of England and Wales (E&W). It will explore the ideas, principles, and sources that underpin its contemporary set up; the distinct branches of law and common areas of legal practice that exist within it before, then, moving to consider the institutions, personnel, customs, and methods that are essential to its everyday operation. In the latter respect, the module will specifically focus on some of the policies, practices, and procedures that have contributed to, or inhibited, the development of common law in E&W, as well as the attempts that have been made to modify or reform the present structure. To better appreciate the most important features of the legal system in place in E&W and common law in general, the lectures, seminars, and materials will occasionally refer to comparative sources, comparing the E&W jurisdiction to that of common law, civil, and/or code-based systems in other parts of the world.

Given the impact it will have on the legal system and laws of E&W, part of the module will focus on the consequences facing the United Kingdom (UK) following its decision to leave the European Union (EU). As of 23.00 hours on 29 March 2019 the UK will no longer be a member of the EU; this follows the British electorate having been invited by the UK Government to participate in a referendum on continued membership of the EU, which was held on 23 June 2016. The vote led to a narrow majority of the electorate voting to leave the EU, and the UK Government triggering Article 50 of the Treaty of the EU (Withdrawal). This module will not consider the social and political ramifications surrounding the UK’s vote to leave the EU; rather, its focus will be on the legal processes leading up to and following the vote, and the legal consequences facing E&W and its legal system following its departure.

No prior knowledge of the laws of E&W, the UK generally, or common law, is required to participate in this module.

Restricted Enrollment

yes (that means that the number of participants is limited and that you might not get a place in this course)

Course Registration

via Campus Management

Please sign up for this course under the module "Study Program Themis & Overseas - Module 6".

registration period: 1 - 5 April 2019, 12 p.m. (noon)

In order to know if you have obtained a place in this course, please check out your course plan on Campus Management (tab "Stundenplan") from 6 April 2019.

As long as there are still seats available after the registration period has expired, they will be allocated according to the principle "first come, first served" if you sign up by 26 April 2019.

De-Registration from this Course

via Campus Management

regular drop period: 1 - 26 April 2019

After the regular drop period you can only drop this course with a valid cause until 14 days prior to the exam. Please contact the International Office at the Law Department if you have to use this option.

Type of Exam

written exam

Exam Period

The exam will take place during the last class session in the last week of the lecture period. Academic Calendar

Registration for the Exam

Students will automatically be registered for the exam when they sign up for this course.

De-Registration from the Exam

Students who drop this course via Campus Management are automatically de-registered from the exam. Students who do not drop this course via Campus Management and do not take the exam, are going to finish this course with a non-passing grade (0 points).

Grade Release

via Campus Management