Public University of Navarre

CastellanoEuskara | Academic year: 2021/2022 | Previous academic years:  2020/2021 
Bachelor's degree in Law at the Universidad Pública de Navarra
Course code: 351604 Subject title: INTRODUCTION TO COMMON LAW SYSTEM
Credits: 3 Type of subject: Mandatory Year: 3 Period: 2º S
Department: Derecho

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Module/Subject matter




Main focus on (North) American legal system: general description, structure, legal sources, case law and Private International Law.

  • The nature, classification and sources of law.
  • Public Law: The Law of the Constitution.
  • The administration of the Law: the role of the Judge in the Common Law. The role of Lawyers in the Common Law.
  • Procedure and evidence.
  • Private Law: The Law of Contract, the Law of Torts, the Law of Property, Trusts and Family Law.


General proficiencies

  • English language skills (C.G.4)
  • Critical analysing skills (C.G.14)
  • Ability to recognize diversity and multiculturism (C.G.13)


Specific proficiencies

  • Ability to express in English using specific terminology [C.E.b.2]
  • Ability to describe the main concepts covered in the course [C.E.b.9]


Learning outcomes

  • Systematize in a coherent way the basic contents of the subject in the English language, if necessary.
  • To write written material related to the subjects of study in a clear way and using the precise terminology, in English if necessary.
  • Recognize the diversity and multiculturalism of today's society and adapt to new situation.
  • Critical analysis of common law institution.
  • The student will identify and know how to describe the basic institutions of Common Law.
  • The student will know how to differentiate and contrast the basic institutions of Common Law and the institutions of Spanish Law.






Activity On-site class time Non-class time  
A-1 ¿ Expositive/participatory lectures 22    
A-2 ¿ Practical cases 8 18  
A-3 ¿ Debates and group assignments      
A-4 ¿ Work on the assignments      
A-5 ¿ Individual reading      
A-6 ¿ Individual study   25  
A-7 ¿ Exams or other evaluation tests 2    
A-8 ¿ Individual tutorship      
Total 32 43 75



Learning outcomes Evaluation system % final grade Second chance
R10,R186,R204,R213 Attendance and active participation 15% No.
R10,R151,R186,R204,R213            Case resolution and presentation: two group works and one individual case work. 35% Yes. Written proof.
R10,R151,R186,R204,R213 Final exam 50% Yes.




I: Precedents: history and originality of American Law

1.1 Colonisation.

1.2 Independence and Confederation.

1.3 1787 Constitution and Federalism.


II. The Constitution of the US:

2.1 Introduction.

2.2 Structure.

2.3 Articles: government structure and shared powers.

2.4 Amendments: fundamental rights and freedoms.


III. American judicial system.:

3.1 Introduction.

3.2 Federal courts.

3.3 Choice of court: jurisdictional issues.

3.4 State judicial system: some remarks.


IV. Sources of law:

4.1 Sources in US legal system vs. Sources in Spanish legal system

4.2 The role of the case law: introduction.

V. Development of common law and the case law as reference:

5.1 Common Law: introduction.

5.2 Study and analysis of the case law.

5.3 Stare Decisis rules.


VI. Corporate Law in the US:

6.1 Introductory remarks.

6.2 Typology.

6.3 Comparative law.


VII. Dispute resolution in the US:

7.1 Introductory remarks.

7.2 Alternative dispute resolution:

    a) Arbitration.

    b) Mediation. 

7.3 US procedural law:

    a) Civil procedures.

    b) Criminal procedures.

    c) Appeals.


VIII. European PIL and American PIL ¿ a comparative analysis:

8.1 Introductory remarks.

8.2 Role of the US in the main international rules and instruments:

   a) Commercial law.

   b) Maritime law.

   c) Judicial cooperation.

   d) Family law.

8.3 International commercial arbitration and the US.

a) The US Code and the Federal Arbitration Act

b) 1958 New York convention.

c) 1965 Washington convention.



Access the bibliography that your professor has requested from the Library.

  • DOMINO, J.C., Civil Rights and Liberties in the 21st Century. Routledge, 2018.
  • BRADLEY. C., International Law in the US. Legal System, Oup, USA, ,2013.
  • FINE,Toni M., An introduction to the Anglo-American legal system, Global Law Collection, Pamplona,Thomsom Aranzadi,2011.
  • TARDIF, Eric, Sistemas jurídicos contemporáneos. Derecho comparado.Limusa 2012.
  • SEROUSSI, Roland, Introduction aux droits anglais et américain, Paris, Dunod,2008.
  • ALCARAZ, Enrique, CAMPOS, Miguel Angel y MIGUELEZ, Cynthia. El inglés jurídico norteamericano, Ariel, 2007. 



The course is given in English and most of the materials in class will be in English.



See assigned classroom.