The University of Southampton

LAWS1023 Legal Skills

Module Overview

This module is designed to help you to understand how the law you learn in lectures and tutorials ‘translates’ into real life application. As well as reinforcing the substantive rules that have been learned during the Semester 1 modules, this module will bring together the law with the types of legal issues experienced by individuals and/or companies. You will be taught about the different types of disputes that can arise, and the different ways such matters can be resolved. The module will examine the difference between disputes that arise between individuals and/or individuals and private companies (civil). You will be building on the legal knowledge acquired during your initial studies and will be required to apply this knowledge to fictional scenarios in order to provide legal advice to a fictional ‘client’ or group of ‘clients’. The module is also designed to help you better appreciate that there is often interaction between discrete areas of law; and that in practice very few legal problems fall neatly into one particular topic. ‘Ethical’ issues and moral dilemmas will also be integrated into the module so that you can develop a more developed awareness of the potential wide-ranging impact of such matters.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module aims to provide you with a strong foundation in the key skills of legal research and, analysis and the presentation of clear, persuasive and authoritative argument.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • how academic law ‘translates’ into the provision of legal advice and the limits of the law beyond its academic perspective
  • how different areas of law can interact;
  • the importance of procedure and its relationship with the substantive law;
  • the nature and value of ‘discretionary justice’;
  • the problems that may arise as a result of ethical issues and dilemmas and how ethical decision-making can have an impact on outcomes for ‘clients’;
  • historical influences on the current law and practice;
  • the influence and application of relevant policy documents on law reform including consultation papers and reports from Government departments and the Law Commission.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • communicate and present written arguments supported by appropriate evidence.
  • demonstrate a basic knowledge and critical understanding of legal issues
  • state and explain the most important legal rules and principles in core areas of law that you have been introduced to;
  • understand and engage in reflection on the merits of those rules and principles within the broader policy and the social content of law;
  • demonstrate basic skills of analysis and synthesis of a wide range of both traditional legal and other primary sources, thereby evidencing the start of your development skills of study, analysis and communication
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • start to identify and locate primary and secondary legal sources;
  • begin to analyse, interpret and evaluate complex material
  • effectively apply knowledge to produce responses to given statements or propositions
  • from a given factual scenario: identify the relevant legal facts and legal issues raised; explain the law applicable to the identified legal issues; apply the relevant law to the given facts; examine uncertainties in the law and its application to the given facts and evaluate alternative approaches and arguments; provide adequate support by reference to legal authority;
  • communicate in writing an understanding of law, its application to the solution of legal problems and the formulation of effective argument with clear and accurate use of language and legal terminology while demonstrating an appreciation of academic integrity;
  • demonstrate intellectual independence and engage in critical analysis and evaluation;
  • conduct some degree of self-directed research including accurate identification of issues which require researching, retrieval and evaluation of accurate, relevant and suitable information from a variety of appropriate sources.


• Different types of disputes that arise in core areas of the law (Core areas covered - Obligations 1; Public Law 1 and Criminal Law 1) • Principles of law, justice and ethics • Understanding the difference between public law and private law disputes • Alternative dispute resolution • Legal institutions • An introduction to civil litigation • Legal remedies • Families and the law • Access to justice • State involvement in family life, including Public Law proceedings • Human rights

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will be by one 2-hour lecture per week and one 2-hour tutorial per fortnight. The tutorials are intended as occasions for detailed discussion of specific topics within the broader areas covered in lectures, and you are expected to come fully prepared. Reading and questions for preparation will be placed on Blackboard in advance of each tutorial. Tutorials are also occasions for you to raise problems and questions and to obtain feedback on your progress. Teaching methods include • Lectures to provide knowledge and information within a structured context. • Small group tutorial work focused on problem solving skills and development of reasoned argument. • Advance study and self-managed research is required for the tutorials and active participation required by all members of the group. Attendance at Lectures will develop • The structure of the subject and key applicable substantive principles and rules of law • Appreciation of constructive criticism of the law by consideration of key areas of controversy and doubt regarding the regulation of legal disputes • Proposals for reform in access to justice; dispute resolution Preparation for Tutorials will develop • Knowledge of the substantive principles and rules of the law; • Ability to manage and access diverse range of sources of law, especially statutory material and case law, many on-line; • Ability to critically evaluate those sources and participate constructively in oral discussions concerning them; • Ability to structure and express thoughts in logically coherent way; • Ability to apply those materials to problem solving exercises; • Time management and self-directed research skills. Learning activities include • Directed reading assisted by reading lists and availability of materials on Blackboard; • Accessing electronic resources in the form of legislation, journals and case materials; • Reviewing and evaluating complex material; • Tackling and solving factual legal problems; • Formulating and presenting in oral and written form reasoned and structured arguments through formative tutorial activities and summative assessment. • Developing extensive case notes

Preparation for scheduled sessions46
Completion of assessment task30
Wider reading or practice20
Follow-up work20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Slapper, G. & Kelly, D. (2015). The English Legal System. 



Case notes


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/ recommended text as appropriate. A legal skills textbook priced for the student market (typically around £25 - £35) will be selected and recommended for purchase.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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