• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site
Thomas Nagel's theory of justice

Dmitry Balashov.

Russian Sociological Review. 2023. Vol. 22. No. 4. P. 83-106.

Book chapter
Legal semiotics and types of arguments in human rights cases in Russia

Anita Soboleva.

In bk.: Research Handbook on Legal Semiotics. Research Handbooks in Legal Theory series. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2023. Ch. 17. P. 254-266.

Working paper
Introducing Patent Linkage in Russia: An Odd Choice at Odd Times

Gavrilova O., Kotova D.

BRICS Competition Law and Policy Series. WP 22. Higher School of Economics, 2021

Introduction to English Common Law

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Elective course
2 year, 4 module


Course Syllabus


The common law of England and Wales is one of the major global legal traditions. Its principles appear for the most part in reported judgments, usually of the higher courts, in relation to specific fact situations arising in disputes which courts have adjudicated. Common law is the foundation of private law, not only for England, Wales and Ireland, but also in forty-nine U.S. states, nine Canadian provinces and in most countries which first received that law as colonies of the British Empire and which, in many cases, have preserved it as independent States of the British Commonwealth. All teaching is conducted in English. The course will give you an introduction to this influential legal system including its history, constitutional background, sources and institutions. You’ll learn about the different ways in which laws are made and interpreted, the English court system and the increasing importance of European Union and human rights law. Each week we’ll focus on one aspect of English common law, using video lectures, readings, discussion questions and activities to enable you to learn about and evaluate key issues.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Know historical conditions of formation of English Common Law
  • Know basic concepts of the English court system, its opportunities, limitations, and relevance
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Have skills to analyze the main provisions of the British Constitution
  • Have an idea about the functioning of the court system in England
  • Have skills to navigate in the most important statutes or Acts of Parliament
  • Know basic concepts of the doctrine of judicial precedent
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction to the English Legal System
    Week 1 is an overview of the English legal system. We will consider the history of the common law, and look at what it means to say that English law is a common law system. We will also explore some important themes in common law.
  • Constitutional Principles of the English Legal System
    This week will introduce you to the British Constitution and identify its sources. Week 2 will also look at the fundamental constitutional principles which underpin the English Legal System.
  • The Court System
    This week we'll look at how the court system works in England. We'll think about different courts in the system, and also other methods of resolving legal disputes.
  • Statutes
    This week will introduce you to statutes or Acts of Parliament, one of the most important sources of English law. Week 4 will cover how statutes are made and the different ways they are interpreted by the courts. You'll also consider whether statutes should be simplified.
  • Case Law
    Welcome to the fifth week of the course. This week we'll explore another key source of English law, case law. You'll be introduced to the doctrine of judicial precedent and the question of judges as law-makers. You'll have the opportunity to read a case yourself and write a case-note.
  • The European Union, European Convention on Human Rights and Human Rights Act 1998
    This week will introduce you to the European Union and to the European Convention on Human Rights. Week 6 will also consider the impact of membership of the EU and of the Human Rights Act 1998 on the English Legal System, in particular on the principle of parliamentary sovereignty.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking 14 graded multiple answer quizzes and a peer graded assignment
  • non-blocking essay
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.7 * 14 graded multiple answer quizzes and a peer graded assignment + 0.3 * essay


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Milsom, S. F. C. (2014). Historical Foundations of the Common Law. Burlington: Butterworth-Heinemann. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=922530
  • Sutherland, D. W. (1977). A. W. B. Simpson. A History of the Common Law of Contract: The Rise of the Action of Assumpsit. New York: Oxford University Press. 1975. Pp. xlv, 646. $35.00. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.7F48484A

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Kimball, E. G. (1974). R. C. Van Caenegem. The Birth of the English Common Law. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1973. Pp. vii, 160. $8.50. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.86588507
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes. (2010). The Common Law. [N.p.]: Digireads.com Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1559562