PSC/IR 263 Comparative Law and Courts

Political Science Field: Comparative Politics
International Relations Track: Governance of Nations (C)
Typically offered every 2-3 years

Gretchen Helmke
Spring 2013 ("W" Optional) — W 14:00-16:40

Course Syllabus

This course examines courts from a comparative perspective. Although long a central focus of American politics, increasingly courts have become important political institutions around the world. Among the questions that we will examine throughout the course include: Why are some judiciaries more independent than others? What effect does independence have on economic development and democratic consolidation? What role do formal institutional guarantees play in shaping the role of courts? How accountable are judges to the public or elected officials? What factors account for judicial decision-making? Taking the U.S. experience as a starting point, the course will explore answers to these questions by drawing on the recent literature on judicial politics from Europe, Russia, Africa, and Latin America.

Gretchen Helmke
Spring 2008

Course Syllabus

This course examines courts from a comparative perspective. Although long a central focus of American politics, increasingly courts have become important political institutions around the world. Among the questions that we will examine throughout the course include: Why are some judiciaries more independent than others? What effect does independence have on economic development and democratic consolidation? What role do formal institutional guarantees play in shaping the role of courts? How accountable are judges to the public or elected officials? What factors account for judicial decision-making? Taking the U.S. experience as a starting point, the course will explore answers to these questions by drawing on the recent literature on judicial politics from Europe, Russia, Africa, and Latin America.