Section Description Provided by Instructor
The Course is open to Upper Class students in the Law School, studying for the JSD, LLM and JD, and at SIPA, as well as graduate students in other relevant disciplines. There are no other limitations.
Method of evaluation:
Evaluation will be on the basis of a comprehensive research paper submitted at the end of the Semester on a pre-approved topic, a mid-term paper on a subject from selected topics, and class participation. The research paper will account for 75% of total marks; the mid-term paper and class participation will account for 25%.
Major or Minor writing credits may be earned for a research paper graded B or above, subject to Faculty Rules.
The primary purpose of this course is to explore, by the comparative method, the basic concepts of african legal theory and practice, the evolution of modern African constitutions; the structure and content of african legal systems; the reception of foreign laws in Africa; the nature and in particular the place of african customary law in post independence Africa: the interaction of customary law and the received foreign law, including applicable international human rights law and the application of alternative mechanisms for conflict resolution in failed states. The class will also examine the role of law in fostering social and economic change and development, to reduce poverty, disease and malnutrition and, in that context, will evaluate the effectiveness of regional economic cooperation arrangements and foreign trade laws in fostering foreign direct investment, international trade and economic development in Africa.
Each student will be required to select a specific topic for in-depth study with a view to making a class presentation on the findings of his/her research and submission of the research paper (about 35 pages) for the final examination. Student will also be required to submit a mid-term paper in mid-October (about 15 pages) on any one of a number of selected topics already covered in class.
1. African conception of law and practice: (a) definition, nature and status of african customary law - content of customary law and its interaction with the received foreign law; (b) evaluation of the norms governing personal relations and their consistency with minimum standards of constitutional and human rights law. 2. Selected topics in African Law: a) comparative study of laws of: marriage and divorce - interaction of african law and received law; b) Inheritance - evaluation of clashing conceptions of customary law of primogeniture and and constitutionally mandated gender equality; and c) real property law and practice - review of the African communitarian conception of land use and the evolving nature of individual land ownership regimes; 3. african constitutional theory and practice - analytical examination of judicial approaches to constitutional challenges from State and individual actions; 4. economic cooperation arrangements: assessment of the status and role of regional economic communities and the African Union and its institutions in fostering economic growth. 5. transitional justice and reconciliation: a review of alternative modes of conflict resolution in fragile states and role of the International Criminal Court in internal conflict resolution (cases of Sudan, Uganda and Kenya).
T 4:20 –7:10 p.m.
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Minor (upon consultation), Major (only upon consultation)