The University of Southampton
Courses

LAWS2037 Legal System and Reasoning [AJ]

Module Overview

This version of Legal System and Reasoning is provided for you if you are studying the LLB JD Pathway or the LLB Accelerated programme. It is a predominantly skills-based module focusing on the legal system of England and Wales, its institutions and practices, in the context of a more general understanding of law, legal theory and legal reasoning. It is designed to provide you with knowledge, understanding and skills that are foundational to your whole degree programme.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of the Legal System and Reasoning module are to provide you with: - an introductory knowledge of the English Legal System, its structures and personnel, as well as its relation to other legal systems; - an understanding of the doctrines, principles, and values underpinning legal practice, and of the various contexts in which law is found; - an opportunity to develop the skills necessary to engage fully in legal argument by using and relating a variety of different materials from both legal and extra-legal sources; - The opportunity to develop mooting skills. - an appreciation of some of the important contemporary debates in the practice of legal decision making, in order to understand better both the scope and the limitations of that practice.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • the English Legal System’s structures and personnel, as well as its relation to other legal systems.
  • an understanding of the doctrines, principles and values underpinning legal practice, including the various contexts in which law is found.
  • a number of the important contemporary debates in the practice of legal decision making, in order to better understand both the scope and the limitations of that practice.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • apply the necessary skills which have been developed thoroughly, to engage fully in legal argument by using and relating a variety of different materials from both legal and extra-legal sources.
  • engage with your own personal and professional development, and academic integrity
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • thoroughly understand the doctrines, principles and values underpinning legal practice, including the various contexts in which law is found.
  • appreciate in some depth, a number of the important contemporary debates in the practice of legal decision making including both the scope and limitations inherent in the practice of law.

Syllabus

The module covers the sources of law, the administration of justice, jurisdiction and procedure, and connects legal theory and legal reasoning: studying traditions of thinking about what law is in the context of the actual practices of judicial decision-making. Both the structure of the module and its content reflect a concern to locate the study of English law within a more general framework of the study of law as a central feature of human society and a commitment to attaining and developing essential legal skills as a primary part of the legal academic and professional task.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include The module delivers an integrated induction programme and, throughout, the primary teaching and learning methods for the module are delivered via a series of weekly lectures and tutorials. The tutorial works alongside the lectures, offering an opportunity for you to engage in detailed discussion of specific questions relating to the broader issues covered throughout the course. In tutorials you will be introduced to skills that you will be expected to practise and develop throughout the module and which also provide an essential common foundation for your work in all other modules. They also provide an opportunity for you to ask questions about, and obtain feedback on, your progress. Details of individual tutorial assignments, together with readings and questions for guidance, will be placed on Blackboard in advance. The compulsory Moot, a fictional case before an appellate court, encourages the development of oral skills. It gives you the chance to perform advocacy skills in front of a legal practitioner as well as helping you demonstrate understanding of the relevant legal issues and your research ability. Learning activities include Lectures will develop: - the structure of the subject and the key doctrines and principles, institutions, practices and procedure of the English legal system - major issues and areas of controversy in relation to law and legal reasoning - complexity and contestability of legal argument, bringing together writings from a variety of different perspectives - oral skills for the Moot which will be judged by a legal professional in a small group context Preparation for, and participation in, tutorials will enhance: - your ability to engage effectively with key legal research skills such as reading, summarising and interpreting sources of law - your ability to challenge widely held assumptions about the decision-making process and how these impact on the practice of judicial decision making - your ability to assess and comment critically on the effectiveness of others’ legal argument - your ability to discuss and defend your own argument among your peers - your time management and individual research skills

TypeHours
Tutorial10
Wider reading or practice20
Follow-up work20
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Completion of assessment task30
Lecture20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Access to primary source material in the form of cases, statutes and secondary materials are all available either in the Library of via electronic legal databases. Skills guides developed for the module will also be made available through Blackboard. Yo. 

Assessment

Formative

Essay

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 90%
Mooting 10%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.5 hours) 90%
Individual Presentation 10%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Costs

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

One key textbook is required which you are advised to purchase and the cost of which is not covered by tuition fees. Although this book is available in the library, it is recommended that you buy it to be able fully to engage with the learning of the module.

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 www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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