Instructor(s) Barkan, Steven, Marauhn, Thilo, Merhof, Katrin
The primary goal of this course is to provide an understanding of the legal systems of both the European Union and Member States of the Union, represented by France and Germany. The course also will compare and evaluate the similarities and differences between European Civil Law systems and the US Common Law system.
The subject of the first part of the course, taught during the first six weeks of the semester by Giessen Visiting Professors Merhof and Marauhn, will be an "Introduction to the Law of the European Union." This will be a general introduction to the legal system of the European Union covering both its constitutional and institutional architecture and focusing on a selection of issues including (1) the EU institutional setting, (2) sources of EU law (treaties, secondary legislation, law-making procedures, direct effect, supremacy), (3) remedies in EU law (enforcement proceedings, preliminary references, direct actions, liability), (4) general principles of EU law (human rights, citizenship, rule of law, discrimination, proportionality), (5) the internal market (free movement of goods, persons, services and capital), and (6) a brief overview of other policies of the EU. The focus will be on understanding the underlying principles of European legal integration and becoming familiar with European Union legal sources.
The second part of the course, taught by Professor Barkan, will introduce the European Civil Law (private law) tradition by focusing on the tort and products liability law of France and Germany. The course will compare some of the basic principles of French, German, and US tort law, including both substantive law and civil litigation. As a specific application of the principals and policies presented in the first part of the course, the European approach to products liability (the European Directive and French and German national law) will be discussed and compared with the US approach. No background in products liability law is needed.
For students who are considering applying to participate in the UW exchange program with the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, this course is essential preparation and preference will be given to applicants who have completed this course.