Contacto WhatsApp 961135355

Universidade Lusófona do Porto

Introduction to Law I


This CU intends to transmit to students the basic operating instruments for an initial reflection on the content and extension of the concept of law, its foundations, purpose and sources, as well as for a comparative analysis on various legal systems.



Level of Qualification|Semesters|ECTS

| Semestral | 7

Year | Type of course unit | Language

1 |Mandatory |Português



Recommended complementary curricular units

Philosophy of Law

General Theory of Civil Law

Professional Internship



The problem of the definition of law
1.1. Aristotle's legal philosophy

1.2. The legal experience of the Romans

1.3. The legal philosophical thought of St. Thomas

1.4. Law as social ordination according to justice

1.5. Foundations of law: jusnaturalism vs. legal positivism

2. The scope of law

2.1. Justice

2.1.1. The conceptions of Kelsen, Ross, Hart, Rawls

2.2. Equity

2.3. Legal certainty

2.4. Relationship between justice and legal certainty

3. Legal coerciveness

3.1. Modalities: public and private guardianship; preventive vs. repressive

3.2. Legal sanctions

3.3. The State apparatus

4. Nation, State and Law

4.1. Nation and State

4.2. The State-Law relationship

4.3. The rule of law

5. Sources of Law

5.1. Voluntary sources: law, corporate norms, jurisprudence, doctrine

5.2. Non-voluntary sources: custom, general principles of law

6. Legal systems

6.1. The European continental family vs. Anglo-American (case law)


It is intended to develop the capacity of legal analysis of students and prepare them for the application of the theoretical knowledge acquired to legal praxis in order to allow them access to the basic concepts of legal systems in general. Theoretical-practical presentation of the subject, complemented by debates on current issues, with a view to deepening the knowledge of students and the development of their capacities for critical legal analysis and synthesis.

Teaching methodologies and assessment

In the scope of continuous assessment is 50% the weighting attributed to each of the two written tests, to be held in the middle and end of the semester, obtaining approval students with an average of 10 values (whose rounding is operated at the end of the two tests).


  • Baptista Machado, J., Introdução ao Direito e ao discurso legitimador, Coimbra, Almedina, 1989;

  • Bigotte Chorão, Mário, Introdução ao Direito I. O conceito de Direito, Coimbra, Almedina, 1989;

  • Brito, António José de, "A obrigatoriedade do Direito positivo" in Filosofia Jurídica Portuguesa Contemporânea (ResJuridica, Porto, s/d);

  • Brito, Paulo de, "Jusnaturalismo e positivismo jurídico: algumas reflexões" in Para Jorge Leite, Escritos Jurídicos (Coimbra Editora, 2014), pp. 59-78;

  • Castro Mendes, J., Introdução ao estudo do Direito, Dislivro, 1997;   

  • Santos Justo, A., Introdução ao estudo do Direito, Lisboa, Petrony, 2021.



Office Hours

Nome do docente  

Horário de atendimento


Paulo de Brito

Quartas 17h30-18h30m, Quintas 20h-21h