Understanding Legal Systems


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AREA EDITOR EXAMPLE RESOURCE:This series of class sessions and assignments is designed to introduce students to the way legal systems are organized around the world as well as within the United States by covering the history of modern legal systems; the structure of the US government and law-making process; families of law (common, civil, theocratic, authoritarian, and tradition); types of law (criminal, civil, and administrative); and processes of dispute resolution. This learning resource includes two PowerPoints, a quiz, and an essay/take-home exam assignment in which students analyze the legal system of an imaginary country to apply what they have learned.


Resource Type(s):
Assignment, Class Activity, PowerPoint 
Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Law and Society 
Class Level:
College 300 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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First, we discuss the US legal system. Students read the US Constitution & text sections and take a quiz (“us legal system quiz.pdf”) in Blackboard before class. We review the quiz in class, focusing on the checks and balances system, Constitutional scrutiny, and the law-making process (using the Schoolhouse Rock...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
1) Understand the differences and similarities between legal systems around the world2) Reinforce basic civics knowledge about the U.S. legal system
Assessment 1:
Individual completion of a take-home essay/exam based on an imaginary country scenario
Goal 2:
3) Understand how modern legal systems emerged in world-historical perspective4) Apply and interpret legal concepts in unfamiliar settings

Files for Download:

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sample midterm.pdf
us legal system quiz.pdf