Comparative Law Final Exam

LAW 6250: Comparative Law (2-3 credits)
Professor Pedro A. Malavet
Spring 2020

Final Examination
(Posted: April 24, 2020)

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 office hours on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. 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. All papers will be uploaded to TurnItIn for analysis. 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.

The College of Law Definition of Plagiarism:

  • 6. Plagiarism. A student shall not represent as the student’s own work all or any portion of the work of another. Plagiarism includes (but is not limited to):
    • a. Quoting oral or written materials, whether published or unpublished, without proper attribution.
    • b. Submitting a document or assignment which in whole or in part is identical or substantially identical to a document or assignment not authored by the student.
    • (LCOL Student Honor Code).
Here are some useful resources from the University of Florida on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism:

DUE DATE. Your answer must be submitted on or before Thursday, May 7, 2020, at NOON Eastern Time using the examsoft system. You must follow instructions given by the Office of Student Affairs. The system is setup to allow you to make multiple submissions, up until the deadline.

SUBMISSION PROCESS. You must upload your files as instructed by the Office of Student Affairs. You may use MS Word or PDF files only. Consult with the Office of Student affairs about any problems. DO NOT EMAIL ME; you must maintain anonymity, so if you have any problems, coordinate with the office of the Office of Student Affairs. Under no circumstances should you send an exam answer directly to me.

  • As you have been informed by the Office of Student Affairs, you will submit through "ExamSoftnot Examplify. We will use a web portal on the ExamSoft website, which is designed specifically for Take-Home exams. Click “Login” in the Exam Takers section to Login with your Gatorlink Credentials. You will see a course titled Comparative Law in the web portal. Click to find your exam. Follow these instructions on how to download the exam."


  • Answer. A printed answer with a cover page with the name 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 character count, you must certify the character length in an additional page of the submission.
  • Bibliography. You may submit a separate file with a bibliography so that you can shorten your references in the answer. The bibliography is not subject to the character count described below.

EXAM NUMBERS ONLY. Do not include your name in the answers, use your examination numbers only. You should eliminate the identifying meta-data from your file before uploading it even though the Office of Student Affairs will simply be printing them for me.

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. You may also use the university's cloud service, GatorCloud, by using your Gatorlink ID in the link below:

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 Levin 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 24, 2020. 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 of Thursday, May 7, 2020. 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 OF THE ANSWER. You should not repeat the question, just write an answer essay. 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. 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. You may upload a separate file with a bibliography that is not subject to the character count.

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.


Given what you have learned bout the functions and characteristics of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Conseil D'Etat and the Conseil Constitutionnel of France—in the context of their respective systems of civil, criminal, administrative and constitutional adjudication— what are the relative strengths and weaknesses of each system in offering meaningful remedies for possible violations of constitutionally protected individual rights.

  • In detailing your analysis, please cover the following topics:
  • (1) Which of these institutions is responsible for ruling on the constitutionality of executive, legislative or judicial action that is based on a national or federal legislative enactment?
    • How does each body fit within the respective separation of powers views of each country?
  • (2) What are the number, qualifications, length of service and method of selection and appointment of members of each institution?
    • Specify, if applicable, any particular specialty education, school, degree.
    • Specify, if applicable, any examination requirements (for school entry or exit, or to qualify for the profession).
  • (3) How does each institution relate to the systems that traditionally adjudicate civil, criminal or administrative matters?
    • Is the institution part of the system(s)? Independent of them?
  • (4) How and when are matters submitted to each institution? (e.g., appeal from lower courts, reference procedure, citizen complaint, request for advisory opinion by those with special standing, like the President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the House, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, President of the National Assembly, President of the Senate, any number of legislator and senators).
  • (5) What is the effect of the decisions each institution when interpreting the Constitution of the United States or that of France? (Please consider three areas:
    • (1) In the same case, as to courts and parties involved;
    • (2) Within the judiciary generally as de facto or de jure "precedent"; and
    • (3) As to the other branches of government (legislative, executive and judiciary).
  • (6) As to each institution, how would a particular result be changed by other branches of government?