Fundamentals of Anglo-American and Polish legal systems

Course description

Lecturer: dr hab. Jan Halberda.

Syllabuses for "Law" field of study: Sylabus przedmiotu / Karta opisu przedmiotu (PL) - Sylabus / Educational subject description sheet (ENG)

Syllabuses for "Administration" field of study: Sylabus przedmiotu / Karta opisu przedmiotu (PL) - Sylabus / Educational subject description sheet (ENG)

Course contents: 

The lecture will be conducted for 20 hours (10 meetings of 2 hours each) for the "Law" track (and 30 hours = 15 meetings of 2 hours for the "Administration" track).

The block of first meetings will be devoted to issues of public law: sources of law, Brexit issues, special problems of constitutional law in the area of legislative, executive and judicial power. The next meetings will focus on selected issues of private law with special emphasis on contract law. The specific issues of the functioning in Anglo-American laws of the division between common law and equity law, as well as the issue of "safety valves" in legal systems will also be discussed at the classes.

Topics of individual meetings (the "Law" track):

1. Sources of law in the United Kingdom, the United States and Poland (precedent law vs. statute law)

2. The issue of the United Kingdom leaving the structures of the European Union and the impact of the so-called Brexit on the application of law in Poland

3. Separation of powers vs. supremacy of parliament (including the application of checks-and-ballances on the example of the American case of Wickard v. Filburn (1942))

4. The relationship between the legislative and executive branches of government (including issues of the presidential veto, with the special case of the American pocket veto; issues of the British monarch's loss of prerogatives in the area of royal assent)

5. Judicial review of the constitutionality of laws (using the example of the American case of Madison v. Marbury (1803) and the British institution of declaration of incompatibility)

6. Equity law and Common law in Anglo-American laws (still visible in the 21st century remnants of the old division formally abolished in the course of the judicial reforms carried out in the 19th century)

7. Contract law part 1 (prerequisites for the conclusion of a contract in Polish law and common law jurisdictions, the phenomenon of the doctrine of consideration on the example of the jurisprudence from the XIX century to the XXI century).

8. Contract law part 2 (mechanisms for adapting contracts to changed circumstances - the civilian doctrine of rebus sic stantibus and the Anglo-American mechanism of frustration of contract - on the example of case studies of the impact of war, Brexit or pandemic on existing contracts)

9. Tort law (structure of tort law and prerequisites for liability)

10. "Safety valves" (known to Polish law prohibition of abuse of rights and the principle of good faith in the objective sense, and known to Anglo-American law piecemeal solutions in the form of, for example, varieties of estoppel: promissory estoppel, proprietary estoppel, estoppel by convention, etc.). 

Students' materials:

Links to pieces of academic literature, cases and statutes' texts might be provided by the lecturer via mail. 

Links to the presentations: 

  1. 01-02 Sources of Law (version 2021/2022)
  2. 03 Striking points of contrast (2020/2021)
  3. 04 Separation of powers vs Supremacy of parliament (2020/2021)
  4. 05 Checks and Ballances (2020/2021)
  5. 06 Judicial Review (2020/2021) 
  6. 07 Contracts - Basic Ideas (2020/2021) 
  7. 08 Contracts - Mistake (2020/2021) 
  8. 09 Contracts - Discharge (2020/2021) 
  9. 10 Torts - Basic Ideas (2020/2021) 
  10. 11 Torts - Negligence (2020/2021)
  11. 12 Safety valves (2020/2021) 



The course will end with an on site, written, open-book, English language exam scheduled to take place during Winter exam session. Students will answer three problem questions, including 1 - a comparison of selected institutions in the field of constitutional law in Poland, the United Kingdom and the USA, 2 questions - a comparison of selected institutions in the field of private law in Poland and in common law. Exam's duration is one hour. Registration via usos.