Loyola University Chicago

School of Law

International and Comparative Law

260: Comparative Civil & Criminal Procedure

Credit Hours



Perspective Elective

The criminal justice process in the United States is shaped by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, statutes, rules and case law. This course will examine the role of these guiding principles in the various stages of the criminal justice process, such as the means by which information is gathered during an investigation, the circumstances under which an individual can be detained, and the type of evidence that can be used at trial. The course will focus on the salient points of comparison between the American adversarial system of criminal justice and the European civil law tradition, historically called an inquisitorial system. These points of comparison include the role of the judge/magistrate; the prosecutor's role and plea bargaining; the role of defense counsel; and the role of evidentiary and constitutional rules of exclusion of evidence.  We will compare our criminal justice process to that of Italy and other countries, and Italian officials will participate as guest lecturers to talk about their own experiences with the Italian system. The course will also cover a comparison of procedure for civil law issues.  The Amanda Knox trials in Italy will be used as a case study in addressing these procedural comparisons. (Carey, Kiley)