Custom and Law

This seminar is a component of the Duke Project on Custom and Law Duke Project on Custom and Law and will focus on the relationship between custom and law. This relationship has both perplexed and intrigued legal scholars through the ages, as it is a feature of almost every legal system and implicates almost every subject area of the law. The relationship also takes a wide variety of forms, with custom sometimes informing the law, at other times resisting the law, and in some instances actually being the law. Examples include tort law's consideration of the custom in an industry in determining the standard of care. Custom also has a potentially significant influence on what is considered "fair use" in intellectual property law. One goal of the seminar is greater understanding of how custom can support or influence the development of law.
The seminar will meet six times each semester and students must enroll for both semesters. Grading would be based on the quality of both reaction papers responsive to class readings and class discussions. Enrollment in the seminar is limited to 12 students. Students enrolled in the seminar would be allowed (and encouraged) to attend the faculty workshops that will be taking place as part of the Duke Project.
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