Report on French Law Teaching at University Law Faculties in the United Kingdom 2000

Report on French Law Teaching at University Law Faculties in the United Kingdom

By: Hamish Adamson OBE
(FBLS Director of Academic Relations)


When the Management Committee of the FBLS first began to look for ways of promoting the involvement of the academic legal community in its work, we asked a number of academics in the UK for their ideas.  One suggestion, put forward by Professor Brice Dickson of the University of Ulster, was that we should undertake an "audit" of the various courses and programmes relating to French law at present offered by UK law faculties.

Although we knew that many law faculties offered French law in some form as part of their degree courses, and had exchange programmes and other links with French universities, there seemed to be no comprehensive collection of information about them.  We therefore agreed that it would be an appropriate task for the FBLS to collect and maintain this information for the benefit of law teachers, students and practitioners on both sides of the Channel.  We decided to undertake a survey on the subject, in the first place among UK law faculties, but with a view to considering whether it may be appropriate to extend the survey to cover the teaching of UK law in French law faculties at a later stage.

We accepted Professor Dickson's offer to conduct the survey on our behalf.  With the assistance of Eva Steiner of the School of Law at King's College, London (whom we thank for her continuing help on this project), he prepared a questionnaire for circulation to all law faculties in the UK.  Unfortunately, from our point of view, he was prevented from completing the project himself by his appointment to the important post of Chief Commissioner of the newly created Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.  However, we are very grateful to Professor Dickson for taking the trouble to arrange for the circulation of the questionnaire in March 1999, just before taking up his new duties, in which we wish him every success.

Preparation of Report

I then assumed the task of collecting the responses to the questionnaire and compiling a report on the results.  In September 1999 I circulated for comment a draft report with a table showing in condensed form the information provided by those faculties which said that they offered French law or law with French.  As a result of this exercise a few of the entries in the table have been corrected and some new entries have been added.

Altogether 61 replies to the questionnaire have been received.  This represents about 75% of all recipients.  Only 14 respondents reported no French law teaching at all.  It is perhaps likely that most of those institutions which have not replied have no French law teaching to report, but there may still be a few relevant courses or programmes which have gone unreported.

All the generally positive responses, totalling 47, are summarised in tabular form in the Annex to this Report.  Although it cannot be guaranteed to be completely exhaustive, it can be regarded as a reasonably comprehensive overview of the current state of French law teaching in UK law faculties.

More detailed comments on the results of the survey will be made in the next section of this Report.  At this point it should be said that the contents of the Annex are based as closely as possible on the replies given by respondents to the questionnaire.  This was designed to be completed quickly and simply, to maximise the response and also to enable replies to be tabulated in a way which would be easy to read and compare.  Inevitably, however, some replies were more detailed than others and not all information has been given in the same form.

I have made some effort to summarise the replies in a consistent form in the Annex but I did not feel able to go too far in this direction for fear of misinterpretation.  It would be impracticable to undertake more detailed research at this stage without unduly delaying publication of the Report.  I therefore apologise in advance to those who may find obscurities, ambiguities or inconsistencies in the summary of replies.  I hope that in any future updating of the Report it may be possible to improve its format so as to achieve greater clarity and consistency in the information provided.

Comments on Responses to the Questionnaire

The questionnaire asked eight substantive questions:

1.    Is French law taught at your institution?
    If not, for what reason?
    If so, at what level?
    Do you provide a degree in the title of which French law features?
    If so, what is the title of the degree?
    Do you have a specific link with a law department in a French university?
    If so, which?
    Please list the subjects/modules in which you teach French law, with numbers of staff contact hours involved.

Annexed to this Report is a summary in tabular form of the positive replies to these questions from each law faculty, with contact names.

The 14 respondents who reported no relevant French law teaching are not included in the table, but their answers to Question 2 may be of interest.  The reason most often cited for not teaching French law is inadequate student demand (9);  one respondent reported having recently dropped a French law course for this reason.  The absence of adequate teaching expertise is also mentioned by 8 respondents, and inadequate room in the curriculum and inadequate library materials by 6 each.  In respect of two of the faculties included in the Annex it has been reported that the French law courses offered in previous years are not currently available but they have still been included as it does not appear to be intended to drop French law teaching permanently.

For an organisation like the FBLS, which exists to promote Franco-British legal co-operation, the fact that over half of UK law faculties do provide courses or programmes in French law in some form is good news.  Included among these positive responses are those who report that, although they do not themselves teach French law, they offer courses such as "Law with French", which usually include a period at a French university where some French law is taught.

Some 13 respondents report that they award Ll.B. degrees (or their equivalent) "with French law" (a few being in the form "with French law and language").  8 respondents mention Ll.B. or Ll.M. degrees expressly referring to European law, which includes French law.  About 13 respondents report awarding degrees in "Law with French", including either some direct teaching of French law as well as language or, if not, a period at a French law faculty where some French law is taught.  6 responses also refer to the possibility of taking a diplôme, licence or maîtrise in French law at a partner faculty in France. 

On the question of the level of teaching of French law, there are various permutations among undergraduate years 1-4 and/or postgraduate.  The largest number of respondents (9) report that the teaching takes place in undergraduate year 2.  The other most frequent replies are undergraduate years 1-3 (7 respondents), undergraduate years 2-3 (5 respondents), undergraduate years 2-4 (5 respondents) and undergraduate years 1 and 2 (4 respondents).  In addition, 11 respondents mention teaching at postgraduate level.

40 replies mention links with French universities, mostly with law faculties.  Some respondents have links with two or more different French universities.  There is a certain amount of duplication:  in some cases different respondents report links with the same French universities.  But the contacts reported are very widespread, covering a range of law faculties both in Paris and throughout the provinces.  In at least 11 cases the response expressly indicates that the content includes a year of the relevant course studying at a partner faculty in France.  Unfortunately the format of the questions may not have brought out all the cases where this applies.  There is also room for fuller information about the form taken by other contacts.  This is an example of an area which could usefully be clarified in future updating of this Report.

The replies to the question about subjects/modules of French law and language teaching, and the teaching hours involved, are difficult to synthesise.  The reader is referred to the summaries of each reply appearing in the Annex.  This is the question where it has been most difficult to present the responses in a consistent form and where an improvement in the format would be desirable when the Report is updated.


This report is being circulated to all the law faculties who provided positive responses to the Questionnaire and to the other respondents who asked to see it.  We are grateful to all respondents, without whose help it would have been impossible to compile what we believe to be a unique source of information.  The report will also be made available to members of the FBLS and others interested in the subject.

Although it is satisfying to be able to report that such a wide range of French law and language teaching and contacts with French universities is available in the UK, it may be as well to sound a note of caution.  The Report is no more than an imperfect snapshot of the position as it was in 1999.  It does not show whether the range of teaching and contacts, or the number of students availing themselves of it, is increasing or decreasing.  This can only be shown if we repeat the exercise in a few years time by circulating an improved questionnaire in order to update and refine the information in this Report and reveal any significant trends.

It may be worth noting that one respondent reported (in October 1999) experiencing a significant drop in demand for law and French courses in the last year.  The respondent attributes this to three causes.  One is greater competition among universities offering these courses, which is hardly a matter for complaint.  The other two, which are more important and disturbing, are the cost of fees for the extra year required for a law/French degree and the fact that fewer students study French at "A" Level.  If these observations ring a bell with other law faculties, then there is a problem which should concern the FBLS as a whole. 

A final suggestion is that, after this Report has been circulated, it might be appropriate to arrange a meeting, under the auspices of the FBLS, of those concerned with the teaching of French law and language in the UK (and their French counterparts) to discuss matters arising from it.  I would welcome comments on this idea from recipients of the Report so that we can gauge the extent of likely support for such a meeting.

(March 2000)


niversity Level of French Law teaching Degree Expressly Featuring French Law Other Details (including teaching hours) Link with French University Contact Name
Aberdeen ug years 1+2 Ll.B with French Law Introduction to French law – 24 hrs Lyon II 
Clermont Ferrand 
Grenoble II
Hélène Boiron-Nguyen
Birkbeck College, London ug year 4   German and French law as final year options – 1.5 hrs per week   Dr Anton Schütz
Birmingham ug years 1-4 Ll.B Law with French :intrduction
to French law – 40 hrs, modern and contemporary France – 40 hrs 
Year 2: French property law 
40hrs and French language – 40 hrs 
Year 3: Diplôme d'Etudes Juridiques – Limoges – 1 year full time 
Year 4: Law with French – 40hrs; 
French history and literature – 40hrs.
Limoges Sophie Boyron
Bristol ug year 2   Introduction to French law – 18 hrs Poitiers 
Marie-Christine Allaire-Rousse
Cambridge ug year 3 and pg New course:  2 years Cambridge and 2 years Paris II – Double Maîtrise Comparative law (tripos) – 40 hrs 
Comparative law (Ll.M) – 40 hrs + 16 seminars
Paris II 
J A Weir (Trinity) 
Dr R Munday (Peterhouse)
Cardiff ug Ll.B Law with French (Ll.M English and European Laws to be introduced shortly) Module "French Legal System" 
– 10 lectures and 10 2hr seminars
Visiting lecturers come from: 
Toulouse I
Dr Stewart Field
Central Lancashire ug years 2-4 Ll.B Law with French Year 2:Aspects of legal French (1 module of 6) 
Year 3: In France studying French law 
Year 4: Dissertation on aspect of 
French law or legal system (1module of  6)
Paris VII 
La Réunion
Maria Lee
College of Law pg   French law and language (optional) – 12 hrs. Bordeaux IV Peter Burbidge
De Montfort, Leicester ug year 3 Ll.B Law with French – 4 years Year 3: Studying French law at Chambéry Savoie (Chambéry) Mrs Mary Mulholland
Derby   Law and French     Richard Grimes
Dundee ug years 2-4 Ll.B Law with French + possible Diplôme de Droit Français(Grenoble) Approx one third of course
+ possible full year studying French 
law at Grenoble
Grenoble II 
Toulouse I 
(from 2001)
Robin M White
East Anglia (Norwich) ug years 1+2 Ll.B Law with French Law and Language : 1st semester – introduction 
to French law – 30 hrs;  2nd semester – droit constitutionnel – 25 hrs 
Year 2: 1st semester droit des obligations  – 30 hrs;  
2nd semester – droit administratif- 25 hrs 
Year 3: Compulsory year of French law at French university 
Lyon III 
Nancy II 
Claudina Richards
Edinburgh ug years 3+4 French Law (Hon) 
Comparative Criminal Procedure (Hon) Comparative Law (Hon)
Each course -40 hrs Aix en Provence Paris Sud 
Joëlle Godard/ Elspeth Reid
Essex ug year 2 Ll.B English and French Law Introduction to French law – 80 hrs Lyon III 
Paris X
N Bernard
Exeter ug years 1-3 and pg Ll.B (European) (French Law) Ll.B: introduction to French legal system and public law – 30 credits
law of obligations I – 30 credits
law of obligations II – 30 credits
aspects of French law – 30 credits 
Ll.M: European systems of law / comparative constitutional law – 10 credits
Aix – Marseille III Rennes I Professor J W Bridge
Glasgow[1] ug years 3+4   French law (Hon) – 40 hrs   Professor Esin Orucu
Hull ug years 1-3 and pg European Public Law (Ll.M) Ll.B Law with French French public law – 22 hrs 
Droit administratif – 4 hrs 
Introduction to French law – 24 hrs 
Comparative law – about 12 hrs
Strasbourg III 
Grenoble II (inc. Valence) 
Bretagne Sud 
Dr John Hopkins
Keele ug year 2   French law – 20 hrs 
Comparative law – 20 hrs
W Kennett
Kent ug years 1+2 Ll.B English and French Law 
Ll.B Law with French
Droit constitutionnel et administratif -66 hrs 
Droit civil – 60 hrs
Paris X 
Bordeaux IV
Susan Millns
Kings College London ug years 1-4 (including 4 year Ll.B with German Law or European legal studies – 3rd year at continental university) Ll.B English and French Law : French legal system – 40 hrs 
Year 2: French private law – 40 hrs 
For students not doing Ll.B in 
English and French Law or not going 
to Strasbourg on Ll.B(ELS): 
Years 2, 3+4: elements of French 
civil law – 40 hrs 
comparative law (French 15-20 hrs)
Paris I (for Ll.B in English and French Law) Strasbourg (for Ll.B with European Legal Studies) Madame Eva Steiner
Kingston ug years 1-3 Ll.B with French Law French law I -40 hrs 
French law II 40 hrs 
Comparative law – 40 hrs
Lyon III Eric Jean-Pierre
Leeds ug year 1 Law and French French law (10 credits) – 10 hrs Le Mans A Cerfontaine
Leicester ug years 1-3 Ll.B Law with French Law and Language : introduction to French legal 
system I – 11 hrs – introduction to
French legal system II – 11 hrs 
Year 2: French legal studies I – 36 hrs 
French legal studies II – 36 hrs 
Year 3: French public law – 22 hrs 
French private law – 22 hrs
Strasbourg Lyon III Paris XII Pascale Lorber
Liverpool ug years 1-3 (year 3 abroad) 
+ possible pg
Ll.B English and French Laws with French  (+ Licence en Droit) : droit constitutionnel – 45 hrs 
Year 2: droit administratif – 45 hrs – droit des obligations – 60 hrs 
Year 3: droit du travail, administratif, commercial, libertés 
publiques – optional subjects- 240 hrs
Bordeaux IV Paris I Kirsty Keywood
London School of Economics ug years 2+3   Introduction to civil law – 60 hrs Strasbourg Dr Igor Stramignoni
London – Guildhall ug years 2+3 and pg   ug: introduction to French law – 33hr 
pg: comparative company law37.5hrs
Paris V Lyon III Stephen Judge
Liverpool ug years 1-3 (year 3 abroad) + possible pg Ll.B English and French Laws with French (+ Licence en Droit) : droit constitutionnel – 45 hrs 
Year 2: droit administratif – 45 hrs 
– droit des obligations – 60 hrs 
Year 3: droit du travail, administratif, commercial, libertés 
publiques – optional subjects- 240 hrs
Bordeaux IV Paris I Kirsty Keywood
London – Guildhall ug years 2+3 and pg   ug: introduction to French law -33hrs 
pg: comparative company law37.5hrs
Paris V Lyon III Stephen Judge
Manchester ug year 2 Ll.B English Law and French Law Comparative law – 35 hrs Bourgogne (Dijon) Andrew Bell/ Martin Davey
Manchester Metropolitan ug years 1, 2+4 Ll.B(Hons) with French Year 1: introduction to French law – 30hrs 
Year 2: droit public – 30 hrs
legal translation –
30 hrs
Year 4: droit Européen – 30 hrs
legal translation – 30 hrs.
Toulouse I IEPs at Aix, Lille, Lyon, Strasbourg Nantes (Faculté des Lettres) R McKeon
Newcastle upon Tyne ug year 2 BA Law with French French law – 36 hrs (20 credits) Socrates Exchanges – Nancy 
Paris XII 
Jean-François Pépin (to 30.6.99)
UC Northampton pg   International business crimes15 hrs 
Comparative criminal law – 15 hrs
ESCEM Poitiers Peter Johnstone
Northumbria ug years 1-3 Ll.B(Hons) exempting with French Law Licence en Droit : comparative legal studies – 22 hrs 
Year 2: French law – 44 hrs 
Year 3: studying French law at 
Orléans (droit administrative or
droit des sociétés, droit des obligations + 3 French law options)
Savoie (Chambéry)
Dr Eileen Fry
Nottingham ug year 2   Introduction to French law – 18 hrs    
Nottingham Trent ug years 2+3 (Yr 2 for Law with French students, 
(yr 3 for the few opting for French law module in Montpellier)
(Yr 4 for Law with German students)
Ll.B Europe (either Law with French or Law with German) Introduction to European legal 
systems  –  5 out of 18hrs 
Introduction to French law – 18 hrs 
(for all Ll.B Europe students)
Montpellier Rennes (Erasmus link) Rachael Stretch
Oxford ug year 2 and pg BA (English Law with French Law) Introduction to French law and 
method – 24 hrs (compulsory for BA 
English Law with French Law) 
Comparative law (delict) – 20 hrs 
(optional in Masters programme)
Paris II Director, Institute of European and Comparative Law
Reading ug year 2 and years 3+4 (optional) Ll.B Law with French Law French law – 60 hrs Paris X Peter Smith
School of Oriental and African studies (SOAS) – London pg   Comparative commercial law – 
10 hrs (Ll.M)
  N H D Foster
Sheffield ug year 2   Module – French law and legal system Aix 
Jeremy Scholes
Sheffield Hallam ug years 1, 2+4 Ll.B(Hons)/Maîtrise en Droit (4 yr degree:  Years 1+3 at Sheffield Hallam;  yrs 2+4 at Paris XII) Comparative law – 20 hrs Paris XII Andrea Nollent
Southampton ug years 2+3   Legal French – 60 hrs 
Comparative law –
20 hrs
  Dr R Trost/ M R Asariotis
Southampton Institute ug year 2 and pg   European perspectives on the common law – about 15hrs (with German and Spanish law) Reims Raymond Youngs
Strathclyde ug years 2+3 Ll.B European (French) 
Ll.B Law and Modern Languages (French)
Introduction to civil law systems 
(French – 24 hrs) 
Legal French – 24 hrs
Le Havre 
Annick Masselot
Sussex ug year 3 BA/Ll.B (with French) Year 3 spent at one of six law 
schools in France studying (interalia) 
French law
  Professor Harry Rajak
Thames Valley [2] ug years 2-4 Until 1996 Ll.B with French Law and Language, now Ll.B European Law Introduction to civil legal system – 12 hrs 
Introduction to comparative public 
law – 12 hrs 
Comparative obligations – 18 hrs 
Comparative criminal law – 12 hrs
Toulouse I 
Clermont Ferrand 
Nantes (1990/96) 
Eira Ruben
University College, London ug years 1+2 and pg Ll.B Law with French Law : French legal language –  60 hrs 
Year 2: comparative law – 20 hrs 
French law – 40 hrs 
pg: (Ll.M European legal systems) 
comparative law (inc
French law) – 50 hrs
Aix/Marseille III Paris II Margot Horspool
Wales (Aberystwyth) ug years 2-4 Ll.B Law with French BA Law with French Civil and compara- tive law – 48 hrs 
(including 25 hrs on French law and 
legal system) 
+ 1 yr studying French law in France
 Rennes I 
(and Lourain-la-Neuve in Belgium)
Anne Barlow
Wales (Swansea)     French legal language taught.  Those going abroad for one year are given an introduction to French law and then study it at French university Nantes 
Angers (Socrates)
Jenny Levin
Warwick ug years 1-3 Ll.B European (French) : French legal language – 40 hrs 
Year 2: French law (civil, constitutional, administrative) – 
40 hrs lectures, 20hrs seminars 
Year 3: studying French law in 
France (Bordeaux or Lille)
Marika Toumi

[1] No French Law course at Glasgow in year 1999/2000

[2]This entry summarises previous position:  ug teaching of French law will cease as from 2000 but development of Ll.M in Comparative Law is planned.

Table in PDF Form – UK Law Faculties teaching French Law (or Law with French)




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