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General information and requirements for participation

The programme consists of 3 semesters, in total 16 hours a week. The objective is a sound education in English (legal-) language as well as intensive work on selected areas of Anglo-American law, including international and comparative questions. During the lectures, participants will receive precise knowledge of language and the Anglo-American legal system which is important in the professional world for legal practitioners. This includes subjects from the core areas of common law as well as commercial and constitutional law. At the same time, the participants broaden their horizons by gaining fascinating insights into often very different (legal) cultures.

The course has been accredited as a UNIcert® programme by the Association of Language Centres in Germany (AKS) since winter semester 2011/12. Hence, we are empowered to award a UNIcert® III certificate.

UNIcert® is a programme acknowledged within the university area as well as outside of it. It facilitates the standardised assessment and accreditation of language education which meets certain strict criteria. UNIcert® is based on a policy document agreed by leading German universities in 1992. Its governing authority is the Association of Language Centres in Germany (AKS).

Having passed all of the obligatory requirements of the requisite education and examination regulations, the participants will receive a certificate that is achieving high recognition both within universities and externally.

For further information - including the different levels of assessment, please visit the webpage www.unicert-online.org.

As the Language Centre of the university is generally the designated responsible body of the UNIcert©-accredited education on languages in Bonn, our programme is also under the (organisational) “roof” of the SLZ and the Faculty of Philosophy. As a consequence, the members of the examination board are quite varied. Nevertheless, a university lecturer or a member of our department, i.e., a representative of our programme will always be part of the examination board.

New examination regulations have been in place since 21 August 2017. You find them here.

Yes, if you have successfully completed the course you can apply for a free attempt at the state office for legal examinations, cf. § 25 subsec. 2 Nr. 4 JAG NRW. A free attempt in the sense of § 25 subsec. 1 JAG NRW is possible only if the student has registered to take all the exams of the state compulsory subject examination (Staatliche Pflichtfachprüfung) by the end of their eighth semester (in the case of an uninterrupted study). When calculating this number of semesters, one semester will not be taken into account if the student is able prove that he or she has successfully completed an education in foreign legal terminology at a domestic university, which has comprised at least sixteen hours per week.

Please note: With regard to the determination of the number of semesters in the sense of § 25 (1) JAG NRW, the state office for legal examinations will allow a free attempt only if the compliance with the conditions – i.e., in this case, the successful completion of the education in foreign legal terminology – is verified when registering for the state exam.

In case you start with the FFA for law students in Bonn in a higher semester and you see that you will be able to finish the programme only after the deadline for the free attempt has ended, you are allowed to pause the FFA-programme for the length of the procedure of the state exam, so that you can uphold the opportunity of a attempt. You can resume the FFA in a later semester, as long as you are still enrolled as a student in Bonn (e.g., because of the completion of your area of focus). In this case, the completion of the FFA programme will not result in the recognition of a sabbatical term in your student account because you will not need this to have the free attempt.

Please inform us as soon as possible if and for which period of time you are planning to pause the FFA-programme. In view of a maximum number of 25 participants on our courses, we need this information to plan ahead and ensure the smoothest continuation of the programme that is possible for you.

Yes. A maximum of 25 students of the University of Bonn can participate in the programme.

Yes. This programme requires a certain English language competence as well as legal knowledge of German Law and a basic understanding of Anglo-American Law. This leads to the following conditions of participation:

1. Successful passing of the following exams:

  • "Einführung in das Anglo-Amerikanische Recht" or an exam from a comparable lecture
  • "Einführung in das BGB und AT" or an exam from a comparable lecture
  • "Staatsrecht I" or an exam from a comparable lecture
  • "Schuldrecht I" or an exam from a comparable lecture

2. Successful participation of following "Arbeitsgemeinschaften"

  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft zum Allgemeinen Teil des BGB or comprarable AG
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft zum Staatsrecht I or comparable AG

3. Evidence of language competence level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in an entrance test

The level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is usually attained if the English lessons were successfully attended until the Abitur.

Interested students can typically apply for admission after finishing the second semester of their legal studies.

Exception for the final exam from the lecture: Introduction to the Anglo-American Legal System ("Einführung in das Anglo-Amerikanische Recht"): During the approval process for the FFA-programme, applications are conditionally accepted without passing the exam beforehand. In this case, the exam has to be passed during the semester that one was accepted for.

Yes. In every semester a new class will be formed, provided that there is sufficient demand (at least 8 eligible students).

The participation is free of charge.

You can pause your participation in the FFA for the period of your stay abroad (only complete semesters – max. 4 semesters) and resume it once you are back and still are a student in Bonn. We will strive in every case to ensure a smooth transition to the course of the then following FFA-semesters for you. With a view to the maximum number of participants of 25 and the necessary planning which results from this, you have to inform us as soon as possible if and for which period of time you are planning to pause the FFA-programme.


The application

Yes, there is one information event at the end of every semester.

For this purpose, please note the announcements on our webpages, in "<link www.jura.uni-bonn.de/aktuelles/ _blank external-link-new-window "Interner Link">Aktuelles</link>" auf www.jura.uni-bonn.de and the notices displayed in the Juridicum.

In order to apply for next semester’s FFA course, you will have to file an application of admission to the FFA for jurists to the chair(wo)man. To this aim, you will find a form which also enumerates all the necessary documents for your application here.

Please find the requisite deadlines for your application under “news” as well as notices in the Juridicum.

Please print your application and send it with your signature along with all the other relevant documents in time to

Fachbereichsmangement Rechtswissenschaft Visitors’ address: Adenauerallee 18-22, 53113 Bonn

Postal address: Adenauerallee 22-42, 53113 Bonn

Fax: 0228-73-62409

Or post box 36 (at the caretakers in the Juridicum).

You can also send in your application via e-Mail. Please fill out your application digitally and send it with your signature and all the other relevant documents to ffa(at)jura.uni-bonn.de

The completeness of your documents will be checked first. Afterwards you will receive an invitation to the obligatory assessment test. On the basis of the results of the assessment tests, the examination board will decide which participants will be admitted to the programme. All applicants will receive a written notification by no later than the week before the start of the lecture period.

In your application you have to tick off the documents a copy of which you have attached. In case some documents are missing because you do not have them, yet (e.g., because you have written the respective exam in the ongoing semester and you do not know the result, yet, or because you have not been given a tutorial participation certificate), you have to note this in the designated field of the form. You have to hand in the missing documents later without delay. An admission to the FFA for jurists will be granted by the examination board with reservation only if the documents are still not handed in at the moment of decision-making.

All the applicants have to attend an oral as well as a written entrance exam. You will receive an invitation with all the details after applying to the programme. The written exam takes 90 minutes, the oral exam about 15 minutes. The dates for the entrance test will be made public on our homepage under "FFA/ News"; the dates will be given to you in your personal invitation as well.

We examine you at level B2, which means obviously that the requirements of the lower language levels (A1, A2, B1) also have to be mastered. For your information and preparation (please note that these are only exercises that don’t reflect the FFA entrance or final exam), we would like to draw your attention to this website: Exam English.

As long as the current situation remains unchanged, the entrance exams will take place virtually via Zoom.

Yes, there are several good possibilities to prepare for the assessment test.

For the written part of the assessment test we recommend to revise the following grammatical forms: 

simple present, present and past continuous, simple past, present and past perfect, future tenses (going to / will); conditionals and passive forms of verbs.

It is also useful to study the following topics. These useful phrases can be helpful when conducting a written text and for speaking freely in the oral part of the entrance exam. 

  • Linking / order language: e.g. firstly, … / in addition, …
  • Contrasting: e.g. in contrast, …
  • Examples: e.g. for instance, …
  • Sum up / conclude: e.g. in brief, … / to conclude, …
  • Cause and effect: e.g. therefore, … as a result, …
  • Emphasise: e.g. in particular …
  • Express opinion: e.g. to my mind …, the way I see it …
  • Express agreement: e.g. I see your point.
  • Express disagreement: e.g. I’m afraid I have to disagree with (that / you).
  • Express agreement and adding another point of view: e.g. I see what you mean.
  • Asking for clarification: e.g. sorry, I don’t know what that word means / sorry, I don’t follow you.
  • Explaining: e.g. allow me to clarify.
  • Suggesting: e.g. I’d (like to) suggest …
  • Justifying: e.g. I believe this because …
  • Advantages / disadvantages: e.g. the advantages would be (are) … / there are some disadvantages such as …
  • Explaining: e.g. I mean …, what I mean is…
  • Balancing points of view: e.g. on the one hand, …, on the other hand, …
  • Importance: e.g. this is vitally important / this is essential

Additionally, it is always helpful to read as much as possible in the English language and – in preparation for the spoken part of the test – to listen to it as well.

You can do this, for instance, on the following two webpages: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds

 <link www.guardian.co.uk/law&gt;http://www.guardian.co.uk/law</link>

The selection of participants is based on the results of the entrance exam.

In case of more qualified applicants than available places, the participants will be chosen by drawing lots.

Yes, the entrance test is obligatory because the selection is based on those results only.


The FFA Programme

You will receive all the necessary information during your first meeting. Additionally, the staff of the foreign language programme, i.e., the lecturers, academic staff and students assistants) is glad to answer your questions .

The courses take place every week as well as in the form of block modules at weekends or late evenings.

You can find the exact dates under Basis Uni Bonn ⇒ Course Overview ⇒ All Lectures ⇒ Rechtswissenschaft ⇒ Hauptfachstudiengang ⇒ Zusatzangebote ⇒ Fremdsprachenausbildung ⇒ Fachspezifische Fremdsprachenausbildung (FFA UNICert Stufe III)

Yes, in case of absence due to illness, a medical certificate has to be handed in. With respect to the weekly courses, a maximum absence of two classes is tolerated (this means: 4 lessons at a course of 2 hours per week, 8 lessons at a course of 4 hours per week). If the course is organised as a block event, absence for one day is tolerated.

The completion of all the courses of the FFA-programme in the indicated order is compulsory for all participants. If other courses (that have been passed, e.g., abroad or at another domestic university) are equivalent, they will be accepted upon request. For more information, please see § 4 of the examination regulations of the FFA for jurists (2017). Before the respective application for the recognition, you should consult us in every case and, if necessary, the state office for legal examinations as well in order to clarify whether a recognition might have negative consequences on granting of a sabbatical semester by the state office for legal examinations (this can be problematic especially with courses that have been completed abroad since the state office for legal examinations in North Rhine-Westphalia requires that the education in foreign legal terminology has been completed at a domestic university). That is the reason why such recognition might not come into consideration for you. Please contact us in these cases in due time.

We endeavour to set the dates of the classes in a way that causes the least friction possible. The classes in the first semester of the programme, for instance, take place on Thursday morning or else in the form of block seminars at different weekends. However, we cannot guarantee that for every single class there will be no overlap with other events at all.

The participation in the FFA programme requires a workload of 16 SWS (hours per week) of class time. Preparation and follow-up work is not included in this time. These 16 SWS are split into:

  1. FFA semester: 6 SWS
  2. FFA semester: 6 SWS
  3. FFA semester: 4 SWS and the final exam

Participation is truly challenging and work-intensive, not least because the legal content is only being taught in English. All students should be aware of this and try to avoid a collision with the final FFA exam and the preparation for the final state exam of their law degree.

The program is planned as follows. Please note that small adjustments of course content can occur in the future:

First FFA semester: in total 6 SWS

Course 1: "Legal Vocabulary - Discussing Legal Concepts - Presentations“: 4 SWS, weekly

The course will, through the theme of legal concepts, encourage students to acquire new vocabulary and knowledge of legal concepts, to gather information, discuss and debate and present this information to the class.

Some Of the Subjects of the Course Are:

  • The Jury System
  • Joint Enterprise
  • Capital Punishment
  • Introduction to the Common Law
  • Contract Case-Law

This course is a Language Course with Law as Subject Matter. The purpose of the course is to give students a broad overview of the subjects while maximising the use of the English language. Therefore, class hours will be made up of as much exposure to the language as possible: speaking (discussions, debate, and presentations), reading, writing (essay on a legal subject), audio-visual and clarification of language structures and vocabulary - Group Work with the goal of language output in the form of presentations, discussion and debate will also be implemented. Furthermore, during the course, students are required to give at least one l presentation with a group of students on a legal subject from the course. Ample time, instruction, guidance and assistance on presentation techniques are given by the teacher. During the course, we will only speak English from start to end. In summary, the course is highly-focused on student contribution and is not a traditional "frontal" lecture course; students are encouraged in class to gather information and communicate it to the class – Active language participation is required.

Course 2: "English vocabulary for law: Legal research“: 2 SWS, or corresponding block class

The content is the expansion of legal language skills as well as the methodology of legal (scientific) research skills and presenting such (e.g. in the form of a „Mini-Moot-Court“).

Second FFA semester: in total 6 SWS

Course 1: "Core subjects of Common Law“: 2 SWS or corresponding block class

Provision of information on central fields of Anglo-American private law, i.e., on the basis of the discussion of so-called “landmark cases”.

Course 2: "US Constitutional law“: 2 SWS or corresponding block class

Teaching of US constitutional law.

Course 3: "Civil litigation in the United States“: 2 SWS or corresponding block class

Teaching of civil litigation in the USA.

Third FFA semester: in total 4 SWS

Course 1: "International Commercial Law“: 2 SWS or corresponding block class

Provision of the basic knowledge of International Commercial Law. The course comprises the private as well as the administrative aspects of International Commercial Law.

Course 2: "International Arbitration“: 2 SWS or corresponding block class

The course aims to convey the basics of International Arbitration.

All courses are held by highly qualified lecturers with practical and university experience who are native speakers or have corresponding language skills. You can find more about them here.


Exams

Every course ends with a short examination of the learned content concerning language skills as well as legal content.

The programme itself ends (after three semesters) with a final exam consisting of one oral and one written exam. The oral exam is 60 minutes and the written exam 150 minutes. You can find more information under “final exam”.

The date of an information event on the examination regulations is yet to be announced.

Yes. Pursuant to section 8 subsection 3 of the education and examination regulations of UNIcert® (2017), a written request for the admission to the exam has to be filed. You can find a form as well as all relevant dates and deadlines under the menu item “final examination”. Please note that you have to attach several documents to the request (s. 8 subs. 4 of the education and examination regulations of UNIcert®) and, if necessary, a declaration whether the exam has been failed once or ultimately has to be submitted as well.