The University of Southampton

LAWS2036 Legal Skills [AJ]

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 of Part 2, this module will bring together the ‘academic 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 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:

  • Sources of law and their relative weight and authority;
  • The key role of evidence and authority in the development of rigorous legal argument;
  • The importance of precision of language in the communication and presentation of legal argument;
  • The diverse range of legal research methodologies
  • 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’;
  • The influence and application of relevant policy documents on the development of the law and how it is reformed.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse, interpret and evaluate complex material;
  • effectively apply knowledge to solve practical problems
  • formulate an effective, reasoned and structured argument;
  • communicate and present written arguments supported by appropriate evidence.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify and locate primary and secondary legal sources;
  • analyse and assess legal materials by way of statutory interpretation, case analysis and review of secondary materials to identify, comprehend and evaluate fundamental legal principles and their impact upon contemporary issues;
  • produce effective, reasoned and structured responses to a given statement or proposition, which are adequately supported by reference to legal authority;
  • 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 and demonstrating an appreciation of academic integrity
  • demonstrate intellectual independence and engage in critical analysis and evaluation;
  • Carry out self-directed research including accurate identification of issues.
  • retrieval and evaluation of accurate, relevant and appropriate information from a variety of appropriate sources.


- A basic introduction to different types of disputes that arise in core areas of the law. - Alternative dispute resolution; - An introduction to civil litigation; - Legal remedies; - Relevant ethical issues and dilemmas; - Understanding principles of rules of public and private laws within an institutional, social, national and global context.

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.

Follow-up work20
Wider reading or practice20
Preparation for scheduled sessions46
Completion of assessment task30
Total study time146

Resources & Reading list

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



Case notes


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 100%


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. You need to purchase the textbook: Slapper, G. & Kelly, D. The English Legal System. (Routledge, 2015, 16th Edition).

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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