Course module - Jurisprudence
Code : LAWS20102 Credit rating: 20 Semester : 2
- To encourage the development of skills in reasoning and analysis as applied to law through the use of non-doctrinal materials.
- To introduce students to basic theoretical perspectives on the creation and application of law.
- To provide students with an awareness of principles underpinning legal doctrine, and of the ways in which those principles can conflict.
- To engage students in reflection upon the question of what makes for a valid system of binding laws, and upon the distinction between a just and an unjust legal system.
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
- An ability to analyse and make reasoned arguments.
- A capacity to interpret and assess competing philosophical perspectives on law, and to use those perspectives to formulate arguments about law, politics and ethics.
- A capacity to identify and analyse critically key jurisprudential issues.
- An ability to engage in and cultivate reasoned legal and moral arguments, by way of both oral and written presentation.
- An ability to produce (by a specified deadline) concise and appropriately structured discursive essays addressing a key jurisprudential issue, with accurate and appropriate use of sources.
- An ability to undertake independent online and library-based research.
- An ability to carry out literature reviews, formulate theses and summarize legal and ethical perspectives.
- An ability to develop an argument persuasively irrespective of whether it coincides with one’s beliefs.
- An ability to think logically, to identify and assess competing principles impartially, and to identify and solve legal and ethical problems.
- An ability to discuss such problems orally and to articulate relevant conclusions.
- An ability to think independently and to use one’s own initiative in developing jurisprudential ideas and research.
- An ability to manage one’s own study-time and meet deadlines.
The course is assessed by means of two essays of 2,500 words. The first of these essays will be weighted at 40% of the overall mark, and the second at 60%
No formative essay is required but students wishing to submit a formative essay will be given the opportunity to do so. General guidance on the completion of assessed essays is also provided, but the tutor is not permitted to review or comment on drafts or outlines.
Prior exams and coursework questions are posted on the course Blackboard website.
A number of actual answers to these questions are also posted, allowing students to see what a first class answer looks like. For students seeking feedback on coursework questions, a selection of first class answers will be posted as soon as practical after marks have finally been approved.
Restricted to: LLB (Law); BA Criminology; LLB (English Law French Law) and students on other degree programmes as may be approved by the Course Director.
Pre-requisites: None for Law School students and other students at the discretion of the course director.
The course is designed to introduce students to some of the major authors and issues within the Anglo-American jurisprudential tradition. We will begin by examining some theoretical questions about the nature of law, the relationship between law and morality, and the role of the courts. We will then take a look at the idea of justice – which will involve the study of various issues within political and moral philosophy – in order to begin to provide answers to questions of what a just society would look like, and how law might help ensure justice. Primarily, we will focus on problems of distributive justice, and how to balance the demands of liberty and justice in complex societies. Issues to be examined include methods of moral reasoning, the nature of rights, the meaning of liberty, the problem of economic inequality and the demands of distributive justice. If time permits, we may go on to look at questions to do with structural injustices of other sorts, and how the law should deal with them.
Course materials (current students only) are available in Blackboard:
Dr Iain Brassington
See Law School timetable
30 hours of lectures, five hours of (fortnightly) seminars and 10 hours of (weekly) direction and feedback drop in sessions.
The lectures will be traditionally led.
Seminars will involve open discussion of 2-3 pre-circulated problem questions, giving students the opportunity to apply many of the principles covered in the lectures.
None required, but students may find it helpful to consult Nigel Simmonds’ Central Issues in Jurisprundence (4th ed. 2013) to get a sense of some of the issues that will be covered in the course.