Law in (Political) Context: An Introduction to contemporary Law & Politics approaches

Course content

The goal of this course is to provide bachellor students with an interdisciplinary perspectives to the explore the law-politics interface. The course connects what the students already know about legal studies in comparative law and legal institutions with the most recent developments from the political science disipline, by offering new insights about how law is deeply intertwined with the democratic political process and society. Specifically, the course deepens students’ knowledge on legal institutions by adding a political perspective to their current legal approach. This knowledge complements and creates synergies with other legal (e.g. constitutional law, administrative law, comparative and international law) and interdisciplinary perspectives offered in their legal studies in the Faculty in philosophy, sociology, anthropology and history.

This course enables students to critically discuss how law shapes political institutions, and vice versa. In this sense, during the course students will discuss the limitations and opportunities provided by combining political and legal perspectives. Reflecting on this complementarity will give students an added value that will improve their careers prospects as researchers, lawyers, judges, civil servants, etc., and, not least, their capacity to assess their political reality as citizens. All in all, by integrating knowledge and hands-on practice in law and politics, students will develop a deep understanding of the dynamics that rule the relations between these two disciplines, empowering them to become agents of legal change within the Danish society.

 

Therefore, the seminar will state how interdisciplinary law and politics approaches might help legal students and professionals in understanding challenges by focusing the discussion in diverse contemporary legal and political issues. Accordingly, the course will expose students to the basic literature and debates on comparative politics and law to provide context that enables the them to discuss core questions such as: Should lawyers care about the role of politics? To what extent is the law rooted in politics? How does the rule of law emerge? What kinds of political and social interests are reflected in the law? Under what conditions could the law limit the behaviour of politicians? Are these conditions the same under democratic and authoritarian regimes? All these topics will be discussed actively by the students using empirical evidence about the functioning and configuration of legal regimes and judicial institutions.

 

The course is divided into two parts; The first part introduces the students to the relevant approaches, concepts and methods for studying and understanding the interaction between law and politics (sessions 1, 2 and 3). These three sessions provide the students with the analytical and methodological tools to follow and develop discussions on legal issues in the framework of a broader political context. The second part of the course reviews the main questions and topics addressed by the literature in Law and Politics (sessions 4 to 12). The study of the syllabus’ topics is done by applying the analytical concepts and research tools showed in the first three
sessions. During the first sessions, students will be asked about their motivations and professional interest in order to identify topics of their interest for their assignments.

 

Learning outcome

This course will contribute to the students’ competence profile in the following terms.
A) In terms of knowledge, they will be learn and understand the fundamental theories and approaches in the discipline of Law & Politics.
B) Within this framework, the students in terms of skills will be able:
(1) To apply this knowledge and analyze conceptual frameworks to account for the relationship between politics and the law;
(2) To identify the central issues in the field of Law & Politics.
SIDE 11 AF 14
(3) To articulate and develop coherent debates and arguments on the topic;
(4) To work independently with different forms of academic reasoning and collaborate with other peers in the development of these capabilities and skills in the framework of groups’ presentations, essays and discussions.
C) Finally, based upon this knowledge and skills, the student will analyse, contrast and evaluate different approaches to the theories of Law & Politics. As a result the student will be able:
(1) Critically reflect upon the concept of law as a political phenomenon and to evaluate the role and impact of compared institutions in its formation.
(2) To develop students’ competencies to analyze legal issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.
(3) To enable the student to carry out independent research on the discipline of Law & Politics.
(4) To improve students’ understanding of the political system and political processes affecting:
- Their skills to communicate with political actors or within political work environments (e.g. government, NGOs or European/international organizations).
- Their legal reasoning as a judges or lawyer helping them to solve legal issues of their clients or litigants with a high political profile.

Knowledge and interest in international and constitutional law is recommended.

Proficient level in English

Written
Oral
Individual
Collective
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Individual written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 35
  • Preparation
  • 171,25
  • English
  • 206,25