Basic Seminar A (Playing in the World of Civil Law)

Emiko CHIBA Professor

Department: Institute of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Class Time: 2003 Spring & Fall Tuesday (Fall) Tuesday (Spring)
Recommended for: School of Letters
School of Education
School of Economics
School of Law

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Course details

Students taking this course are divided into small groups and take turns acting as plaintiff, defendant, and judge. To play their parts, the students exchange opinions in advance in a group using, for example, the bulletin board system (BBS), and consult with the faculty member about strategies via e-mail in order to prepare for the presentation of their case in class. All participants should develop presentation, presiding, and debating skills naturally as they collect information and think about how to convince others, enabling them to enjoy debating.

*Although the lecture is offered only in Japanese, it is an excellent lecture worthy of being introduced in English.

Students Accomplishments

Presentation of summer assignment 1 (PDF, 80KB)

Presentation of summer assignment 2 (PDF, 61KB)

Presentation of summer assignment 3 (PDF, 96KB)

Presentation of summer assignment 4 (PDF, 80KB)

Presentation of summer assignment 5 (PDF, 32KB)

Key Features

The aims of this course are that students become able to identify legal issues on disputes related to daily life, to analyze those issues from different perspectives, to acquire presentation, presiding, and debating skills regarding those issues, and to write logical sentences on relevant assigned topics. This course is conducted as a small-group seminar for students majoring in liberal arts, who have just entered the university. The course details may be considered very orthodox in terms of achieving goals, but some new ideas and techniques have been incorporated in the course.

Courses using various IT tools are conducted systematically at the Graduate School of Law at Nagoya University, with which I am affiliated. My "basic (liberal arts course) seminar" is designed to make the most of these tools in the School of Law and in university-wide Public Education. All lecture information can be obtained from the lecture homepage. Students can submit assignments through an IT tool, a system for anonymous voting that enables mutual evaluation by students.

To nurture presentation, presiding, and debating skills, which were completely suppressed in high school, the following efforts are also made. Twelve students enrolled in this course are divided into three groups of four students, and they take turns acting the roles of the plaintiff, defendant, and judge. To act their part, the students exchange their opinions in advance within their group using, for example, BBS. They can consult with the faculty member about strategies via e-mail to prepare for the presentation of their case in class. All participants should acquire presentation, presiding, and debating skills naturally as they help each other in collecting information and think about how to convince others, enabling them to enjoy discussions. Looking through the course records, you can sense the enthusiasm of students who participated in the lecture on the "Ultraman Case".

Many people may think that the study of Japanese law concentrates on memorizing the Book of Six Major Codes, but law is only one window through which we observe the world around us. In a summer assignment, an attempt was made to encourage students to identify legal issues on their own through the use of a movie and to discuss their views freely. This provided an interesting opportunity for students to observe society from the aspect of law. This assignment was also effective for enhancing their presentation skills.

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Objectives and aims of the course

The following goals should be attained at the end of this course.

  1. The ability to identify legal issues pertinent to disputes relating to daily life
  2. The ability to analyze issues identified from different perspectives
  3. The ability to present, preside, and debate
  4. The ability to write logical sentences
  5. The ability to enjoy discussions by keeping up interest in the world of law
  6. The ability to learn fundamental ideas behind civil law

Textbook

not designated

Course Schedule

Class Schedule Assignment to be completed
before the class starts
1 Introduction of instructor, teaching assistant (TA) and students
Explanation of objectives, methods, and syllabus for the course
Team formation - four groups
Decide the rotation of chairpersons
2 Explanation of the system for submitting assignment with votes (with peer evaluation)
Practice with the system for submitting assignment with votes (with peer evaluation)
- Issuance of password
- Send e-mail address to TA
How to search for information
Assignments 2 (PDF, 15KB)
3 First theme
"Learning of a tort through the Ultraman case" (1)
A group of chairpersons prepares a "battle-plan sheet (plan of attack)" by predicting what issues will arise, the order in which those issues should be tackled, and how those issues should be debated. The groups of plaintiffs and defendants consider how to convince the opposing party. The group of judges searches for weaknesses in the arguments of the plaintiffs and defendants.
Assignments 1 (PDF, 63KB)
4 First theme
"Learning of a tort through the Ultraman case" (2)
Same as above.
5 First theme
"Learning of a tort through the Ultraman case" (3)
Vote (Evaluation) by participants who submitted brief comments on the first theme (using the system for submitting assignment with votes (peer evaluation)).
6 Second theme
"The case of a bar maid at the Cafe Marutama - promise and contract" (1)
A group of chairpersons prepares a "battle-plan sheet (plan of attack)" by predicting what issues will arise, the order in which those issues should be tackled, and how those issues should be debated. The groups of plaintiffs and defendants consider how to convince the opposing party. The group of judges searches for weaknesses in the arguments of the plaintiffs and defendants.
Assignments 3 (PDF, 37KB)
7 Second theme
"The case of a bar maid at the Cafe Marutama - promise and contract" (2)
Same as above.
8 Second theme
"The case of a bar maid at the Cafe Marutama - promise and contract" (3)
Same as above.
9 Discussion on the first-semester seminar
Guidance for submitting a report
How to take notes
Submission of lecture notes regarding the second theme (using the system for submitting assignments with votes (peer evaluation)).
Assignments 4 (PDF, 26KB)
10 Presentations by students (1)
Exploring legal issues using cases in movies
Explore legal issues encountered in movies and prepare presentations regarding your opinion of those legal issues.
11 Presentations by students (2)
Exploring legal issues using cases in movies
Same as above.
12 Third theme
"The film 'Rainmaker' - contract and clause" (1)
All students must watch a video of the "Rainmaker".
13 Third theme
"The film 'Rainmaker' - contract and clause" (2)
Consideration of the Great Hanshin Earthquake and fire insurance
A group of chairpersons prepares a "battle-plan sheet (plan of attack)" by predicting what issues will arise, the order in which those issues should be tackled, and how those issues should be debated. The groups of plaintiffs and defendants consider how to convince the opposing party. The group of judges searches for weaknesses in the arguments of the plaintiffs and defendants.
Assignments 5 (PDF, 26KB)
14 Third theme
"The film 'Rainmaker' - contract and clause" (3)
Consideration of the Great Hanshin Earthquake and fire insurance
Same as above.
15 Fourth theme
"Divorce and assets - When poverty comes through the door, does love fly out the window?" (3)
Submission of brief comments regarding the third theme (using the system for submitting assignments with votes (peer evaluation)).
Assignments 6 (PDF, 24KB)

Grading method

Students' remarks and participation in and presiding over discussions account for 60%, and reports and notes account for 20% each of the total grade.

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Lecture Handouts

No.1
Ultraman case - First lecture (PDF, 54KB)
No.2
Ultraman case - Second lecture (PDF, 65KB)
No.3
Ultraman case - Third lecture (PDF, 65KB)
No.4
Ultraman case - Fourth lecture (PDF, 70KB)
No.5
Ultraman case - Fifth lecture (PDF, 52KB)
No.6
Ultraman case - Sixth lecture (PDF, 51KB)
No.7
The case of a bar maid at the Cafe Marutama - First lecture (PDF, 64KB)
No.8
The case of a bar maid at the Cafe Marutama - Second lecture (PDF, 67KB)
No.9
How to take notes (PDF, 37KB)
No.10
Rainmaker case - First lecture (PDF, 48KB)
No.11
Rainmaker case - Second lecture (PDF, 48KB)
No.12
Rainmaker case - Third lecture (PDF, 60KB)

Assignments

  • Assignment 1:
    Ultraman case (PDF, 63KB)
    Assignment 2:
    Information search (PDF, 15KB)
    Assignment 3:
    The case of a bar maid at the Cafe Marutama (PDF, 37KB)
    Assignment 4:
    Exploring legal issues using cases in movies (PDF, 26KB)
    Assignment 5:
    Rainmaker case (PDF, 26KB)
    Assignment 6:
    Divorce case (PDF, 24KB)
  • Reference

    Susumu NODA and Shigeki MATSUI: "Invitation to Law through the movie screen (new edition)" Yuhikaku, 2004.

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    Page last updated September 19, 2008

    The class contents were most recently updated on the date indicated. Please be aware that there may be some changes between the most recent year and the current page.

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