This course is suitable for 2nd and 3rd year students in Law, Social Sciences (anthropology, sociology of development, public administration), and Humanities (history, area studies, arts). Non-Law students should be willing to familiarise themselves with the outlines of law, whereas law students should be willing to engage in subjects beyond the rules of black letter law. For this course is a sufficient command of English (IELTS 6.5 or higher) required.
About 125 states in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are referred to as ‘the global South’, ‘developing’ or ‘emerging’ or ‘non-western’ countries. Their law and governance systems are the subject of this comparative course. The course starts with the question to what extent and how foreign interventions can contribute to better legal systems, good governance and development? This leads us to the second question: how do law and governance actually function in these countries? Several economic, political and social problems cause tensions and conflicts in laws, legal institutions, and legal processes, especially when large scale violence has erupted. Domestic institutions for law and governance are to solve those conflicts, but how do they operate? Often they themselves are subject to the problems they are supposed to solve. What are the chances and ways of breaking through this vicious circle? Whereas there has been widespread frustration about the state of law and legal institutions in the developing world, this course shows that some are remarkably capable of moderating the complex relationships between modern state law, (post-)colonial law, religious norms and customary rules. The problems and solutions that we encounter in this field are of critical importance to the development process as a whole.
Objectives of the course
The full course objectives are outlined in the reader. The first objective is to provide introductory knowledge about the formation and functioning of legal systems in developing countries; the effectiveness of those legal systems in contributing to governance processes and goals of development; and the feasibility of external interventions aimed at making the systems more effective. Secondly, the course aims at explaining the interdisciplinary nature of the domain of LGD and the interrelationships between law, governance, and development. Thirdly, the course discusses some of the main problems of LGD and introduces key concepts of the field. Finally, it also discusses several practical applications of LGD studies in professional domains.
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:
- See the above information
The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.
Mode of instruction
Number of (2 hour) lectures: 2 × 2 hours for 7 weeks
Names of lecturers: Prof. Jan Michiel Otto
Required preparation by students: : reading of two to three English articles before each session as well as preparing one group presentation and its written version.
Number of (2 hour) seminars: Not applicable
Names of instructors:
Required preparation by students: reading two or three English articles before each session, as well as preparing one group presentation and its written version.
Other methods of instruction
Description: Not applicable
Number of (2 hour) instructions:
Names of instructors:
Required preparation by students:
Written exam: partly closed book, partly open book (85%)
One group presentation-cum-paper (15%)
If the overall grade is lower the 5,5 the student can do a retake of the exam.
Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination matter consists of the required reading for the course, additional lecture notes (mainly slides) as put on blackboard, and the subject matter actually taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.
More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.
Obligatory course materials
Course information guide:
- Not applicable
- Reader will be available via Readeronline.nl
Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.
Exchange students have priority and will be registered for the course first. Any remaining seats will be available for students from Leiden University and other Dutch Universities.
Co-ordinator: Prof. Jan Michiel Otto
Work address: KOG, room B3.15
Contact information: via secretariat Ms Kari van Weeren
Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7260
Institute: Meta Juridica / Jurisprudence
Department: Van Vollenhoven Institute
Room number secretary: KOG room B3.13
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 9.00 – 12.30 and 13.30 – 16.00
Telephone number secretary: +31 (0) 527 7260