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Law and Governance in Developing Countries


Admission requirements

This course is suitable for 2nd and 3rd year students in Law, Social Sciences, Public Administration, History, Arts. Non-Law students should be willing to familiarise themselves with the outlines of law.


About 125 states in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are generally referred to as ‘developing’ or sometimes ‘non-western’ countries. The legal and administrative systems of these countries are the subject of this comparative course. The key question is to what extent and how foreign interventions can contribute to a better legal system, good governance and development.

However, the vast economic, political and social problems in these countries cause much tension in their respective legal and administrative systems, and have led to some frustration with the effectiveness of legal and administrative institutions. In many of these countries the law consists of different, separate elements: apart from modern state law, we can find colonial law as well as Islamic sharia and customary rules. Processes of nation building are often painfully incomplete. Yet in all of these countries national and regional legislation is being adopted, judicial decisions are made every day, and the bureaucracy is supposed to implement central policies while adhering to the rule of law. The problems that we encounter in this field are of critical importance to the development process as a whole.

Course objectives

objectives of the course:

  • to be announced

Achievement levels:

  • The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:


See: .

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 2 × 2 hours for 5 weeks

  • Names of lecturers: Professor Jan Michiel Otto

  • Required preparation by students: reading of two to three English articles before each session.


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars:

  • Names of instructors:

  • Required preparation by students:

Other methods of instruction

  • Description:

  • Number of (2 hour) instructions:

  • Names of instructors:

  • Required preparation by students:

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Written exam.

Submission procedures

Areas to be tested within the exam
The compulsory literature, the reader, lecture notes and any topics discussed during classes.


More information on this course is offered in “Blackboard”:

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • to be announced

Course information guide:

  • to be announced


  • Reader, available at Onderwijsmaterialen (KOG, room A.045)

Recommended course materials:

  • to be announced


Students have to register for courses and exams through “U-twist”:

Contact details

  • Coordinator: Prof. Jan Michiel Otto

  • Work address: KOG, room B3.07

  • Contact information: via secretariat

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7260

  • E-mail:


  • Institution: Meta Juridica / Jurisprudence

  • Division: Van Vollenhoven Instituut

  • Room number secretariat: KOG, room B3.05

  • Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 9:00-12:30 and 13:30-16:00

  • Telephone number secretariat: +31 (0)71-527 7769

  • E-mail: