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030233 KU Legal Writing (2020W)

3.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 3 - Rechtswissenschaften
Continuous assessment of course work

Unterrichtssprache Englisch
course language English

The course will be carried out in cooperation with the EALT Legal Writing Autumn School at Masaryk University Brno and is expected to be held from 12th to 15th October 2020 in Brno/CZ (subject to corona virus-crisis measures in place that might still affect these planned dates, alternative date: January 2021). In order to complete registration for the class and to prepare for the excursion, presence in the preparatory meeting at Juridicum in Vienna on 08.10.2020 at 17:30 is compulsory (intake of additional students on the waiting list will also take place at this meeting, subject to any remaining free places). Presence throughout the entire class is required. In duly justified cases (collisions with classes in Vienna) the presence requirement can be substituted for one half day by alternative accomplishments. For class materials nad subsistence a financial contribution of participants amounting to CZK 3.750 (approx. 146 EUR) will be due.



max. 15 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Due to the current developments of the COVID19 pandemic, the course cannot take place as planned at the Masaryk University Brno/CZ from 12th to 15th October, 2020. The class will now be held in Vienna and will comprise joint online teaching sessions among partner universities involved. Related new modalities will be presented in detail during the first class session on 8th October, 2020 at 17:30 at SEM33 at the Juridicum. Further planned dates for a first series of online sessions (always at 17:00-18:30) are: 12th (Overview of the US Legal System), 14th (Case Reading and Argumentation), 19th (Analogical Reasoning & Synthesizing Precedent), 21st (Legal Writing: Style & Organization), 26th (Persuasive Writing Techniques), and 28th of October (Problem Solving & Negotiation); 2nd (Mooting Skills), 5th, 9th (Introduction to Academic Legal Writing, part 1 and 2), and 11th (How to Write an Article or a PhD in Law) of November. Additional guiding (potential classroom-)sessions later in the semester will be announced.

Thursday 08.10. 17:30 - 18:30 Seminarraum SEM33 Schottenbastei 10-16, Juridicum, 3.OG (Kickoff Class)


Aims, contents and method of the course

Students will acquire basic legal writing and research skills. The course focuses on legal writing from a comparative legal perspective and offers an introduction to the US legal system. It will consist of the following topics:
(i) legal writing;
(ii) reading cases globally; briefing a case;
(iii) argumentation and presentation skills;
(iv) organization of sources:
(v) appellate writing;
(vi) finding the necessary information in books, journals, and case law;
(vii) citation skills: making correct citations, and avoiding copyright infringements (plagiarism);
(viii) find important information;
(ix) formal rules and structures for writing legal documents, seminar papers, and final papers.

Interactive class sessions in a highly international environment will stimulate active discussions and exchange between students and instructors. Presentations and basic input by the lecturers will accompany group exercises and presentations in class.

The course will take place within the framework of the Legal Writing Autumn School held at the Masaryk University Brno. The Autumn School is organized by the European Academy of Legal Theory (EALT), the Masaryk University of Brno, and the University of Vienna. Its teaching staff is from different jurisdictions (USA, Sweden, Slovenia, and Austria).

We will have a preparatory meeting at Juridicum in Vienna on 08 October 2020 at 5:30 pm. Students who do not show up during the preparatory meeting will be admitted if free places are available.

Assessment and permitted materials

We will base the grading on the quality of the active participation during the class modules (quality of ad hoc group discussion results and their presentation during and in classes) and on a written paper (summary of writing skill exercises carried out and/or explained in class) that you have to submit after the end of the class sessions.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Students should be advanced in their undergraduate law studies and going to prepare a seminar paper/master thesis or enrolled in a doctoral, Ph.D., or post-graduate master program.
We will assess the output according to the standards of good legal writing, and the individual level of the participant's legal writing tasks (seminar paper, master thesis, doctoral thesis).

Examination topics

The evaluation of the student's performance will be based on the content of the class sessions.

Reading list

Christoph Konrath (ed.), SchreibGuide Jus, 4th edition, Manz: Vienna 2018
John B. Thornton, U.S. Legal Reasoning, Writing, and Practice for International Lawyers, LexisNexis: New Providence/San Francisco 2014

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Fr 02.10.2020 15:07