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Freedom of Expression: Comparative Perspectives

Course Level

intermediate - advanced / 3rd - 4th year

Course Language


Course Classification

This is a Themis course. It is also open to non-Themis students.

Course Organization under Pandemic Conditions
face-to-face teaching in the winter term 2021/22

Contact Hours

2 hours per week


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


This course will be taught at irregular intervals. It will be available in the winter term 2021/22.

Time Schedule and Course Venue

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 http://www.fu-berlin.de/vv. Please select "Fachbereiche" - "Rechtswissenschaft" - "Staatsexamensstudiengang" and "Fremdsprachiges rechtswissenschaftliches Lehrangebot" in order to find out course hours and rooms.

Course Description

This course will explore freedom of expression as a fundamental right in democracies. It will first introduce different philosophical foundations of free speech, before comparing the American free speech tradition with other Western traditions, including Germany and the United Kingdom. It will also examine the legal limits of free speech and other less direct forms of speech restriction and look at the regulations of free speech in work settings and universities. The course will draw extensively upon Anglo-American scholarship and utilize legal texts and examples from various Western countries.

Learning Objectives

Students will
  • deepen their understanding of free speech traditions and philosophical foundations in different jurisdictions
  • appreciate the importance of freedom of expression and its limits and learn the importance of defending other people’s right to express opinions different from their own
  • be able to articulate perspectives and arguments on complex free-speech related problems

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 for Exchange Students - Module 3".

registration period: 1 October - 15 October 2021, 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 16 October 2021.

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 5 November 2021.

De-Registration from this Course

via Campus Management

regular drop period: 1 October - 5 November 2021

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 is going to take place in the last class session.

Registration for the Exam

International exchange 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 part any longer, are going to finish this course with a non-passing grade (0 points).

Grade Release

via Campus Management