INTRODUCTION TO THE AMERICAN LEGAL SYSTEM
Professor Alexandra Carter
Course Description: This course will give participants an introduction to important aspects of the U.S. legal system. Some aspects of the American legal tradition are drawn from other nations and societies, but many are distinctive. Our primary emphasis will be on the American system of government as it affects the development of law, as well as on the procedure and structure of the civil litigation process. It is through the machinery of adjudication that the American legal system can be best understood. We will, therefore, study the jurisdiction and makeup of American courts, and trace the major stages of a lawsuit in the United States. In the process we will learn about the structure of the American Constitution, about the role of judges and lawyers and about the adversary system – as well as about Alternative Dispute Resolution, the fastest-growing method of case disposition in the United States. Although our emphasis will be on civil procedure, we will be able to compare it with the American criminal and administrative justice systems in the United States. In other words, we will touch upon many major strands of American law in a general way. But we will look at civil litigation in some depth.
Course Materials: Information about course materials will be provided one month before the beginning of the course.