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Study information

Comparative Law Dissertation

Module titleComparative Law Dissertation
Module codeLAW3047A
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr Ben Hudson ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module, you will produce a comparative law dissertation on a legal or socio-legal topic of your choice. Your supervisor will guide your research and writing according to an individually agreed framework, but you are largely expected to determine your own deadlines and define your own work programme in order to meet the final submission deadline set by the Law School.

The module convenor will finalise the allocation of supervisors/supervisees and will provide general guidance about supervision arrangements.




  1. The module cannot be taken together with the Dissertation module (LAW3047) or the Research Paper modules (LAW3151A and LAW3151B).


  1. The module is compulsory for LLB with International Studies students.


  1. The module is optional for LLB with European Studies students.


4. The module is NOT available to LLB Law students.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of the Comparative Law Dissertation module is to give you the opportunity to develop further your independent research and argumentation skills, and to acquire knowledge on a discrete set of legal issues chosen by you. The module also aims to encourage and inspire you to engage critically with legal research and scholarship on a specific research question. It further aims to give you the opportunity to engage in comparative work, namely to identify, collect, and process research materials from the jurisdiction of England and Wales as compared with the study abroad jurisdiction in which you have spent your third year. It provides particularly good practice in carrying out and presenting legal research if you are considering post-graduate degrees.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Identify, define and construct a critical analysis of a discrete research topic in Law from a comparative perspective and using comparative methodology;
  • 2. Identify and define key research questions and hypotheses about the chosen comparative research topic;
  • 3. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the selected legal issues acquired through independent research and study;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Integrate and assess information from a comprehensive range of relevant legal materials;
  • 5. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of a range of complex legal issues and their contextual implications, where relevant;
  • 6. Evaluate critically the materials considered and used for the Dissertation;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Plan and undertake tasks efficiently, to reflect critically on the learning process and to make effective use of feedback from the supervision process;
  • 8. Work independently, to manage time efficiently and meet strict deadlines;
  • 9. Develop and structure an argument over a sustained piece of writing and in an effective manner;

Syllabus plan

You will choose your research area at the end of your second year and fill in the form that is sent to you by email. You are expected to use the summer months to do some background reading, but no written work is expected of you. No supervision takes place over the summer.


You will confirm the research question at the start of term 1 of your final year. The allocation of supervisors is confirmed by the module convenor at the start of term. As this is a Comparative Law Dissertation, your topic and research must involve a comparative dimension and comparative methodology.


The module is essentially facilitated through individual supervision. From September to submission in March, you will have a number of meetings with your supervisor, following a schedule set out in the module handbook.


ELE is used to provide you with materials and to enable the module convenor to communicate with you throughout the duration of the module.


You will have to keep a ‘learning log’ to reflect on your research as it progresses. This is a formative part of the module (i.e. non-assessed) and you are encouraged to write regular entries in your journal each week to monitor and reflect on how your research is developing. As a rough guide you may wish to write 200 words in your reflective learning log per week. You and your supervisor may wish to discuss this during supervision meetings.


NOTE: If you think that as part of your research you will need to carry out interviews, issue questionnaires or undertake any other form of interaction with people, you MUST discuss this with your supervisor and ensure ethical compliance. Any such research may only proceed once ethics clearance has been acquired.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity3Individual Supervision meetings; a minimum of three hours contact is expected over the year.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity21Six 1.5 hour training sessions on research preparation, skills and legal academic writing and six 2 hour facilitated peer support sessions.
Guided Independent study12Learning log
Guided independent study30Identifying and locating research materials
Guided independent study117Carrying out research, reading and taking notes
Guided Independent study 117Drafting and writing up

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Learning LogYou are expected to write about 200 words per week in your log. 1-2, 4, 6-9You may discuss with your supervisor specific issues arising in your research and noted in your log; peer feedback available through research discussion meetings.
A sample of writing submitted to your supervisor for feedback as set out in the module handbook. 2,500 words 1-9Individual oral and/or written feedback from supervisor during supervision meetings as set out in the module handbook.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Comparative Dissertation1009,000 words1-9Written feedback and (if needed) individual meeting with supervisor

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Comparative DissertationComparative Dissertation(9,000 words)1-9August/September reassessment period

Re-assessment notes

It is expected that students who fail their dissertation will re-submit it on the same topic to reflect on and learn from the feedback they will have received on the dissertation originally submitted. Any derogation from this will have to be discussed with and approved by the module convenor.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

-       S Geoffrey, An Introduction to Comparative Law Theory and Method (Hart, 2014)

-       PG Monateri, Methods of Comparative Law (E Elgar, 2012)

-       M Bussani and U Mattei (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Law (CUP, 2012)

-       A Harding and E Örücü (eds), Comparative Law in the 21st Century (Kluwer, 2002)

-       R Huxley-Binns et al, Unlocking legal learning, (Hodder Arnold 2005), ch.5 

-       M Salter and J Mason, Writing Law Dissertations: an Introduction and Guide to the Conduct of Legal Research (Longman, 2007) 

-       M McConville, Research Methods for Law (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)

-    R Banaker and M Travers, Theory and Method in Socio-Legal Research (Hart, 2005)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

There will one joint ELE page with Dissertation LAW3047

Indicative learning resources - Other resources


Key words search

Law; Dissertation; Comparative Law

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

Being registered on the LLB with International Studies or on the LLB with European Studies.

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date