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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to courses and exams may be necessary at short notice (e.g. cancellation of on-site teaching and conversion to online exams). Register for courses/exams via u:space, find out about the current status on u:find and on the moodle learning platform.

Further information about on-site teaching and access tests can be found at https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

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030558 KU Introduction to Formal Logic in Legal Argumentation - Comparative Case Studies (2020S)

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


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 30 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Due to the current Covid-19 crisis measures in place at the University of Vienna and its law school the class cannot be held in its usual classroom setting. It will be implemented as a home- and e-learning course, also causing some amendments and re-arrangement concerning course methods, structure, and grading requirements.

By May 8th, 2020 you will find a Moodle course related to the class online. There we will make available the introductory course sessions in the form of screencasts. We kindly ask you to watch these presentations and to consult the indicated and uploaded reading materials as a guidance individually.

On May 15th at 3 p.m. (15:00–16:30) we will offer a first online consultation session on any questions resulting from the first home learning week and introduce you to the forthcoming preparatory home exercises and case analysis paper tasks.

On May 25th at 3 p.m. (15:00-16:30) a 2nd online consultation session dedicated to a model case analysis in preparation of your own case study task will follow.

Subsequently you will have time until 12 06 2020 to submit a structured written case analysis (3 pages) following the instructions given in the case study template. Your course requirements will be concluded by a short written comment on 3 case studies (half a page each, due by 19 06 2020) of fellow class participants and upon assignment by the course teachers, again following a structured feedback template that will be provided to you.

On June 19th at 3 p.m. (15:00-16:30) a final online feedback session will be offered.

Grading for the class (3 ECTS corresponding to an expected average total workload of 75 working hours incl. online consultation hours) will be based on the following criteria:
• small intermediate written tests according to the course instructions (exercises 1, 2, and 3 due by 22 05 2020);
• a written case analysis (3 pages , due by 12 06 2020);
• a short written feedback to three other case studies (1,5 pages in total, due by 18 06 2020).

Friday 08.05. 15:00 - 18:00 Seminarraum SEM51 Schottenbastei 10-16, Juridicum 5.OG
Monday 11.05. 15:00 - 18:00 Seminarraum SEM64 Schottenbastei 10-16, Juridicum 6.OG
Friday 15.05. 15:00 - 18:00 Seminarraum SEM51 Schottenbastei 10-16, Juridicum 5.OG
Thursday 18.06. 15:00 - 18:00 Seminarraum SEM51 Schottenbastei 10-16, Juridicum 5.OG
Friday 19.06. 15:00 - 18:00 Seminarraum SEM51 Schottenbastei 10-16, Juridicum 5.OG
Monday 22.06. 15:00 - 18:00 Seminarraum SEM64 Schottenbastei 10-16, Juridicum 6.OG


Aims, contents and method of the course

This course introduces the use of formal logic for the analysis of legal arguments as developed by several European partner universities within the Erasmus Intensive Programme LAWGIC (i.a. European University Institute Florence, University of Bologna, the European Academy of Legal Theory) and including the so-called 'logocratic method' by Professor Scott Brewer (Harvard Law School). It aims at providing the analytical tools for students to critically evaluate legal arguments in all fields of law regardless of a specific jurisdiction.

The first part of the course will be input from the lecturers on the so-called 'logocratic method' along with reading assignments and exercises developing the necessary basic knowledge and skills for the subsequent second part. During the latter part students are required to prepare, present, and discuss comparative group presentations: In a blended learning environment they 1. apply national and international legal research tools, databases and search engines in order to 2. apply the logocratic method on selected individual cases out of various jurisdictions.

Accordingly, students will learn to identify the specific logical mode of legal arguments, to critically reflect on their use and their strength in a comparative way across various national and international legal orders and legal cultures, to use various national and international online research tools for comparative law purposes, and to participate in an international blended learning environment.

Assessment and permitted materials

Grading for this class is based on three components: active participation during class sessions and working group preparation; oral presentation of a case study as part of a joint working group effort; written paper summarizing the orally presented case analysis incl. comparative aspects.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

In order to obtain a positive grade, students have to be present in class on a regular basis (and cannot miss more than 2 sessions) and actively contribute to discussions of the content of the introductory sessions offered by the lecturers and of the case study presentations offered by the students. They have to form part of a student working group preparing comparative case studies outside class and involving blended learning exercises (amounting to 25% of the overall grade). Participants have to present a case study analysis in class as a result out of such a comparative and thematically coherent group work preparation and discuss it together with the lecturers and peer student groups (amounting to 50% of the total grade). Finally they have to contribute to a group paper with a written summary of their case study (amounting to 25% of the final grade).

Examination topics

The case studies to be presented in class as part of one of the thematic working group's comparative case analysis have to be based on the basic analytical concepts and tools provided during the introductory class sessions and guiding class materials. By applying the logocratic method, students have to identify the particular modes of logical inference enshrined in the arguments present in the selected case law examples and to critically analyze the particular strengths and weaknesses these arguments reflect. Participants have to make an effort to formally represent rule and argument "enthymemes" and to identify the basic logical form of such arguments (whether they are presented as a valid or strong deductive, inductive, abductive, or analogical argument).

Reading list

Materials listed and available in the blended learning tool: https://lawandlogic.org

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:19