Course module - Introduction to English Law
Code : LAWS10261 Credit rating: 10 Semester : 1
- Introduce you to the idea of law as a concept
- Offer mechanisms by which you can begin to illustrate a critical appreciation of law
- Introduce some of the prevailing philosophies
- Consider a practical drafting exercise in relation to some of these philosophies
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
Knowledge and understanding
- possess a general grasp of the main areas of English Law
- know the structure of the English legal system and the hierarchy of courts
- know the sources of English law, including the impact of the European Union on the English legal system; and have developed an understanding of the sources of legal principles.
- understand the fundamental legal techniques of reasoning from precedent and interpreting statutes, including knowledge of fact-finding.
- have built up a portfolio of cases to demonstrate how judges reason.
- be able to apply the relevant law to factual situations.
- Students should have developed and applied powers of inquiry. These include being able to synthesise, evaluate and interpret legal sources (e.g. judicial cases and statutes) and to use such information to formulate arguments, and make assessments (e.g. about the role of courts and parliament).
- Students should also have learned the skills necessary to study a series of topical cases in the legal system; to identify key issues in each case and discuss these in class; to research these under their own initiative; to produce a concise and structured report to meet a specified deadline.
- Students should have acquired competence in the use of a range of legal research sources – books, journals, cases and statutes, including within electronic databases and the news media – and be able to reference these in proper form.
- Students should have acquired the ability to undertake and present legal research, to negotiate a position, and to argue orally and cogently using knowledge acquired.
- be able to access cases, statutes and academic articles in the library, and use the internet.
- be able to read, understand and analyse cases, statutes and academic articles.
- be able to ascertain the relevant facts of legal cases.
- be able to argue effectively and relevantly both orally and in writing.
- be able to assess and criticise legal rules, principles and policies.
- be able to work co-operatively in teams and negotiate and debate effectively on legal issues.
This course is assessed by an examination (1 hour 45 minutes).
FEEDBACK AND GUIDANCE
You are encouraged to ask questions in lectures and seminars and may e-mail us if you have any questions or want to check your understanding of the topics.
The work that you do on seminars will help you with your preparation. Your seminar takers will give you guidance on what you are doing well, and the areas in which you need to improve.
Materials will be available on Blackboard to help with your studies; there are also many sources of information about the subject and study skills available on the Humanities study skills webpage and through the John Rylands library.
You are expected to submit a 750 word court report in your first seminar (see seminar handout). You will be given a grade for this (although it will not count towards your overall mark) and written feedback on what you have done well and how you can improve.
If you have concerns about your written English, advice should be sought from the Academic Advisory Service.
Restricted to: Students in the Faculty of Humanities, subject to the availability of places.
This subject is not available to students on the LLB and BA qualifying law degrees.
The course examines the structure of the legal system in the UK. Students will be taught the general structure and dynamics of the English legal system. Topics covered include the nature & functions of law, sources of law, functions of the legislature, the nature, functions and the hierarchy of the courts. The course will introduce and discuss the use and significance of judicial precedent, the relationship between binding precedent and the system of courts. The course will also cover a description and understanding of the law-making process, and "rules" of statutory interpretation.
Dr Yenkong Ngangjohhodu
Please see Law School timetable
15 hours of lectures, 3 hours of seminars and 10 hours of (weekly) direction & drop in feedback sessions.
The purpose of the lectures is to convey information and provide a theoretical understanding of the nature of legal reasoning. Students are encouraged to participate by answering and asking questions.
The function of seminars is to enable students to apply their own knowledge in smaller groups, having had the opportunity to do additional reading and to reflect upon the lectures.
Seminar attendance is compulsory and you should attend the same group every week, other than for good reasons (such as illness). You are expected to prepare appropriately for seminars which will involve discussions and questions. These exercises are designed to help you develop your understanding of the subject and to test your opinions about the legal system. You will visit a court to get a sense of how the legal system works in practice.
You are expected to supplement lectures and seminars with about five hours of private study a week; recommended reading will be given for the seminars and for each topic covered in lectures.
The main text for this course is:
- Catherine Elliott & Frances Quinn, English Legal System (10th ed., 2009 Pearson Longman).
We also recommend the following book as a useful study guide:
- Steve Foster, How to Write Better Law Essays: Tools & Techniques For Exams and Assignments ( 2nd ed., Pearson Longman, 2009).
In order to achieve the highest marks, you will need to read more widely than just the lecture handout/textbook. The library contains many other books and journals relevant to this course (you should search for books on 'Legal Methods/systems'). The following books cover roughly similar material, you do not have to read all of them but you should look at a range to see which ones you like best, to give you different perspectives on the issues and so that you can familiarise yourself with different styles of writing.
- J. Holland & J. Webb. Learning Legal Rules, (7th ed., 2010, OUP)
- Elliott & Quinn, English Legal System, (11th ed, 2010)
- Wilson, Mitchell, Storey and Wortley, English Legal System, (2009 OUP)
- Gary Slapper & David Kelly, The English Legal System (10th ed., 2009, Routledge Cavendish)
- Terence Ingham, The English Legal Process (12th ed., 2008. OUP)
- Alisdair Gillespie, The English Legal System (12th ed., 2009 OUP)
- Steve Wilson et al, English Legal System (2009, OUP)