A Cosmopolitan Ethos within a Global Law Curriculum: Comparative Law as its Promoter

By Antonios Emmanuel Platsas.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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In this paper the author will commence his analysis by exposing the apparent absence of a global law curriculum for law students. He will attempt to highlight the fact that lawyers around the world tend to engage themselves with national law material, when our world environment asks for a legal education of a more ecumenical character. Accordingly, the paper acts on the assumption that national law curricula tend to operate on the basis of predisposed agendas. Therefore, we, in the discipline of law, find ourselves in a clearly paradoxical situation, a situation which conflicts not only the epistemological unity of other disciplines but also the very process of globalisation. As the leading law comparatists Zweigert and Kötz have argued some time ago ‘[t]here is no such thing as “German” physics or “British” microbiology or “Canadian” geology’. But we in the discipline of law find ourselves teaching national law curricula which are the by-product of nationalisms and historical accidents. It is believed that there has to be re-alignment of the law curriculum by re-enforcing the international and comparative law elements and by reducing the national law elements thereof. In other words, we must push for a law curriculum which truly reflects a global studies state of affairs, a global law curriculum. We need to re-address the matter by promoting a law curriculum which will promote a more cosmopolitan legal ethos, a better understanding of universal truths such as legal axioms, principles and ideas which are appealing and comprehensible to legal scientists from all over the world. The analysis will conclude that the subject of comparative law acts as the driving force for a more internationalised legal education and that such a type of education is something that has to be sought in the modern academic world.

Keywords: Cosmopolitan Legal Ethos, Global Law Curriculum, Comparative Law, Globalisation, Legal Education of Ecumenical Character

Global Studies Journal, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.57-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.245MB).

Dr. Antonios Emmanuel Platsas

Lecturer in Comparative Law, School of Law and Criminology, Faculty of Business, Computing & Law, University of Derby, Derby, UK

Dr. Antonios E. Platsas, LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D., PG.P.L.T., is currently Lecturer in Comparative Law (Derby) and has previously been Research Associate on Globalisation and Law in the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (Oñati) under the Juan Celaya Grant scheme. Antonios researches in the areas of comparative law, international economic law and the idea of convergence of legal systems. He is the module leader for a number of modules in the LLB and the LLM curriculum of the School in which he is employed. The author wishes to acknowledge research support in relation to this article from his colleague, Joel Klaff. He also wishes to thank another colleague of his, David Hodgkinson, for proofreading the work. The work has been conducted under the Teaching Informed by Research (TIR) Initiative of the University of Derby. The usual disclaimer in relation to personal omissions and errors applies.


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