Comparative Law Final Exam

LAW 6250: Comparative Law (2 credits)
Section 0827
Professor Pedro A. Malavet
Spring 2016

Prof. Pedro A. Malavet
Final Examination
(Posted: April 22, 2016)

The Exam GENERALLY. This exam is TAKE-HOME AND FULLY open-book. You may consult any materials you deem appropriate. PROVIDED HOWEVER THAT: Your work must be original. You may not show your written answer or a draft thereof to anyone, nor may you receive any assistance from anyone in writing the answer. You may not coordinate your answers with any classmate. I will not answer questions about the examination after extended office hours on Monday, April 18, 2016. However, should some important matter requiring clarification come up after that, I will post a note about it in the website and send an email to the entire class.

PLAGIARISM. Your work must be original. Please take care to avoid plagiarism, which —in the era of electronic cutting-and-pasting— can happen remarkably easily. Putting material within quotation marks or otherwise properly identifying the source of text that someone else wrote is crucial. For a helpful definition of plagiarism, please see the St. Louis University School of Law Statement on Plagiarism, which includes the following: “Direct appropriation of another author’s words must be indicated by quotation marks, a block quotation or other formatting, and a footnote or other reference must identify the source from which the quoted material was taken.” (, the new Student Handbook provides very good examples of plagiarism).

DUE DATE. Your answer must be submitted on or before Monday, May 2, 2016, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time in Gainesville.

SUBMISSION PROCESS. You must submit a printed answer that has a cover page identifying our course and myself as the professor and using your assigned exam number only for identification purposes. The printed answers may be turned in to my assistant, Ms. Nathaly Rugel, in Office 343, or in the Office of Student Affairs. Alternately, and only in case of emergency, you may send a file attachment of your exam to Ms. Rugel via email: You may also email it to anyone in the Office of Student affairs. DO NOT EMAIL ME; you must maintain anonymity, so if you have any problems, coordinate with my assistant, the office of the Dean or the Office of Student Affairs. Note that exam accommodation policies are implemented by the Office of Student Affairs and not by faculty. Under no circumstances should you send an exam answer directly to me.

WHAT MUST BE TURNED IN?: A printed answer with a cover page with the namer of our course, my name as the professor for the class, and your exam number. You should use a header or footer to include your exam number in every page of your answer. Using the characher count, you must certify the character length in an additional page of the submission.

Print and Back-Up your work regularly. Because computers crash, disks get “fried,” and laptops get stolen, I urge you to be careful with your exam. Print drafts of your answers regularly and backup your work on a regular basis as well. One way to keep copies is to send e-mail to yourself with the exam attached.

Use Exam Numbers Only. Do not include your name in the answers, use your examination numbers only. Each page of your answers must bear your examination number.  Because the exams may be collected by the Office of Student Affairs, be sure to include our course title, and my name on the first page of your answer, to ensure that the document is routed properly.

RULES. By turning in your answer, you certify that: (1) you have neither received nor given any aid beyond the allowed use of materials; (2) your work is original and is in no way improperly copied from or inappropriately influenced by any source; and (3) you have complied with all applicable instructions and rules, including, but not limited to, those set forth herein and in the University Student Code of Conduct and the College of Law Honor Code. Violation of the rules may result in a failing grade or a reduction thereof and in appropriate student disciplinary action.

TIME MANAGEMENT. I will post this exam on the first day of the exam period, Friday, April 22, 2016. I want to afford you the choice of turning in your answer when it is most convenient to you, prior to the final due date. But this is not an invitation for you to engage in weeks of research and writing. This is one exam among several and perhaps many that you will take this term. As a general guide, I would estimate that no more than three days should be spent in researching, drafting and revising your answer.


LIMITED LENGTH. You should not repeat the question, just write an answer essay. Your answer must be printed on letter-sized paper, in double spaced lines, with one (1) inch margins all around. Typeface should be 12-14 points. Overall, the exam answer cannot be less than fifteen (15) pages and cannot exceed twenty (20) pages, calculated on the basis of a character limit. The character limit is computed as follows: Answer space shall be limited to 1800 characters (including spaces and carriage returns) per page. That is enough for 24 lines of double-spaced text in courier type, size 11 for each page. I want a maximum 20-page answer, which is 1800 x 20 = 36,000; the minimum would be 1800 x 15 = 27,000 characters. Each student is responsible for keeping track of answer length. You must certify answer length using your word processing software's character count command. Print out the character length including carriage returns and spaces at the end of your answer; submission of the exam certifies the printed character count as accurate. The penalty for exceeding the character limit will be a deduction from your essay score of a percentage equal to the percentage by which you exceeded the character limit.

PERSPECTIVE. You must write from the perspective of a United States law student.

GENERAL EXPECTATIONS. You are required to provide more comparative examples, details, and more analysis than would be required in a closed book, time-limited exam. This analysis should show your command of the material we addressed in class. In drafting your answers, please keep in mind these general parameters:

  • Show that you have a command of the material we covered in class that is pertinent to your answer. To this end, provide references to our assigned course packet, handouts, web and canvas postings, and to your notes of our class discussion. References should be simple and straight-forward. The date of a class session is enough to identify your notes, and the number of the Power Point slide as posted in Canvas is also an appropriate reference.
  • Appropriately identify your sources in your answer. All sources must be identified and textual citations must be properly set-off within quotation marks or in block indents. Please be mindful of the plagiarism warning included earlier. Footnotes and parentheticals are allowed, but you may not use endnotes. You may use a bibliography to identify sources outside of our class materials as well and the bibliography will not count towards your character limit.
  • Show that you can identify analogous United States or French legal concepts and materials that are the proper subject of comparative analysis. This may require you to conduct some modest research outside our class materials. Please keep it simple. However, you may use anything you deem appropriate including electronic research systems.
  • You should discuss the factual or legal factors disclosed by your research in a thoughtful, critical and original manner that shows your command of the material related to our course.


You are interviewing a family for possible representation in a law suit. The parents of a teen girl wish to challenge her suspension from a public school where she is a tenth-grader. Her principal suspended her after she refused to stop wearing a hijab, a traditional Muslim head covering.

You must explain to the girl, whose name is Fatima, and to her parents, Alwaleed and Maha Hasboun, how the process would work, and what the possible outcome, including remedies and effect of decision, would be. But you must do so by describing how the same legal matter would proceed if you were to pursue a Federal Court action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida or if you were to pursue the equivalent action in the French legal system.

In detailing your analysis, please cover the following topics:

  1. How will the legal process start and proceed through initial hearing and initial appeal(s) before possibly reaching the U.S. Supreme Court of the Constitutional Council?
  2. What is the nature of the body will be responsible for giving the final word on the constitutionality of the principal's actions (the Supreme Court in the U.S. or the Constitutional Council in France)?
    1. Specify how you view this body within the constitutional separation of powers scheme applicable in the U.S. and France, respectively.
  3. What is the number, qualifications, length of service and method of selection and appointment of members of the SCOTUS and the Constitutional Council, respectively?
    1. Specify, if applicable, any particular specialty education, school, degree that are required or perhaps common among those selected.
  4. How do these institutions relate to the systems that traditionally adjudicate civil, criminal or administrative matters in each country?
  5. How and when will matters be submitted to these institutions given the nature of your case?
  6. What will be the effect of the decisions of the constitutional review body when interpreting the Constitution of the United States or that of France respectively? Explain why, or on what basis. Please consider three areas:
    1. In the same case, as to courts and parties involved;
    2. Within the judiciary generally, meaning the systems that traditionally adjudicate civil, criminal or administrative matters in each country, as de facto or de jure "precedent"; and
    3. As to the other branches of government (legislative, executive and judiciary).