Southampton Law School

LLM Information Technology and Telecommunications Law (Full Time - 1 Year) (Diploma)

This programme is taught by distance learning. Since its emergence during the Second World War, the electronic computer has transformed every aspect of our lives. The pace of development has been amazing. We hear much of Moore’s Law which states that processing capabilities double every 2 years. Any comparisons across time are sometimes unrealistic but it is also stated that if a smart phone of today could be sent back in time by no more than 20 years, it would have been the most powerful computer in the world.

Alongside the development of processing capabilities, the last 4 decades have seen increasing integration between the computer and telecommunications networks. Much is said today about cloud computing. Increasingly, it is a matter of little importance whether data or processing capabilities are located on one's own computers or can be accessed remotely as and when needed.

Programme Overview

As well as becoming an integral component of IT systems, the telecommunications industry has itself been subject to seismic changes. In a very short period of time, driven largely by the emergence of mobile telephony, we have more from a position where the status quo was a public sector monopoly to the emergence of fiercely competitive markets within the telecommunications sector.

All of these developments possess very significant legal implications and the key purpose of the LLM course is to give you a comprehensive introduction to the challenges that developments in the information technology and telecommunications sectors pose for the law and as to the manner in which legal systems are responding.

The teaching focus on the course will be on developments in the UK and the European Union but one of the fascinating aspects of the topic is that all countries are having to deal with the same issues and, in the era of globalization, there is political and economic pressure to arrive at global solutions.

To Apply

This LLM degree course, which may also be studied to Certificate or Diploma level, is available to study full time over 12 months. The course has two intakes each session, in October and February.

Whilst it is possible to complete the course in 12 months, this does involve taking two modules simultaneously each semester and is equivalent to completing a Masters course on the basis of full time attendance at a university. This would not be recommended  for students who have other work commitments. For most students, a period of study over 24 months, taking one module at a time is more appropriate. It is also possible to extend studies for medical and personal circumstances into the following year with the permission of the School - which will never be unreasonably withheld. See further details of the part time option.

Course Supervisors: Professor Ian Lloyd and Professor Stephen Saxby

Initial expressions of interest or requests for further information may be made by email to: LLM.distancelearning@soton.ac.uk. Thereafter you must complete the University online application form and provide transcripts of qualifications, two references and a personal statement. The application form can be accessed via this link. When applying for a Certificate use 'certificate' and 'telecommunications' as search text. Application for a Diploma can be found using 'diploma' and 'telecommunications'.

Closing date:  Students may apply at any time and once accepted will be admitted to the course in either Semester I or II. Generally applications for either semester will require to be submitted four weeks before the start of the semester

Programme Structure

The modular structure of the programme enables you to tailor your individual scheme of study to your other commitments.

Over two semesters you will choose four of the following seven modules: Legal Aspects of Information Security, eCommerce, Liability in the Information Society, Telecommunications Law, Telecommunications Policy and Regulation, Intellectual Property Law, or Access to Public Sector Information. Full descriptions of the contents of modules are available under the ‘Modules’ tab.

Successful completion of the two instructional modules leads to the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Information Technology and Telecommunications Law.

Successful completion of the four instructional modules leads to the award of Postgraduate Diploma. If you pass the diploma assessment, you will be permitted to undertake a supervised dissertation for the MSc with a submission date at the end of September.

Key facts

  • Start date:  September (Semester I) or February if commencing in Semester II.

    Fees: The course fees are still being confirmed for the next academic year, for 2014/15 they were £8000. This was made up of four modules (£1,750) each and a fee of £1,000 for the dissertation. Payment can be made either in full for the whole academic year ahead or per Semester in advance (one module (p/t) or two modules (f/t)) to the Student Fees Office of the University's Finance Department. Please note that in order to access programme materials fees must be paid in advance.

Location
  • Highfield campus
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Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process:

Intake: October and February

 Typical entry requirements

Selection process:

Intakes: September and February. Applications will be accepted at any time. For students wishing to commence in September, the application should be submitted by the end of the first week of September. Students wishing to start in February should apply by the end of the first week of January. In each case the full set of documentation required must be supplied in order for the application to proceed.

A Second Class Bachelor's Degree in Law (or a degree with a substantial legal component) is normally required, but account may also be taken of practical work experience or professional qualifications within the relevant field of study.

If you have any concerns about your qualifications or eligibility for the course, please e mail Ian Lloyd

English language requirements 

For applicants whose first language is not English, or who have not previously completed a degree level course taught in the English language we require proof that language skills will be sufficient to enable them to complete the course. For courses undertaken via distance learning we would normally look for a score of IELTS 6.5 with minimums of 5.5 in each component. Whilst in most cases we will look for formal language qualifications, we will take account also of relevant work experience in an English language environment.  

 
For further information see the English Language requirements page or contact Ian Lloyd or Steve Saxby for further guidance.

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.

Modules

Typical course content

Students will select four out of seven modules (see list below).

Year 1

There are no compulsory modules and modules may be taken in any order. Each module is offered on a fully supported basis in one semester so you may wish to plan out your period of study from the outset. There is no objection to students taking a course which is not supported at a particular time but you have to be aware that there may not be many other students taking that course at that time.

Each module is divided into four study themes and supported by a blog. You will be required to contribute to blog discussion and submit reflective comment in stages on three of the four themes, demonstating your research on each topic. You will also submit a 5,000 word assessment at the end of each module. For the award of LLM, the successful completion of the four modules will be followed by a 15,000 word final dissertation.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Learning and teaching

What does distance learning study involve?

Increasingly, we spend large amounts of time on-line and frequently engage in significant transactions in this environment.  The features and facilities of the Internet offer considerable advantages to the educational sector although it should be stated at the outset that we do not require students to have significant technical expertise. All that is required is a basic ability to find materials on the Internet and to use email.

We make use of an educational software platform called Blackboard. Essentially this acts as a portal giving you access to a range of materials and facilities prepared for the course.  For each module on the course there will be a series of around a dozen half hour podcasts. These are prepared by the course team and give an introduction to the topics. The podcasts generally link also to books written by the lecturers, principally Information Technology Law by Ian Lloyd and Telecommunications Law by Ian Lloyd and David Mellor. Both are published by Oxford University Press.

We will also provide you with other teaching resources such as sets of PowerPoint presentations and with a set of further reading. You will also be able to access the extensive collection of electronic law journals and publications available through the University Library.

It is also a key feature of the course that learning should be an interactive process and there is a range of formal and less formal discussion opportunities ranging from discussion lists to the possibility of organizing one to one discussions with a member of staff using a system such as Skype. It is important that distance learning students do feel part of a learning community and we will make every effort to assist this process.

Why Southampton?

Southampton University has a global reputation as a centre of learning both generally and in the field of law. It is now ranked 75th in the World. You will be taught by a team of professors who have been involved in the field for many years  and can tell you not just what laws might say but help you to appreciate the factors that drive policy decisions.

Ian Lloyd

Ian launched the world's first distance learning law degree in 1994. He is author of Information technology Law, one of the UK's leading textbooks in the field and whose 6th edition was published in 2011. He is also author, with David Mellor, of Telecommunications Law. Both books form an integral part of the LLM course materials.

Ian is a general Editor of the International Journal of Law and Information Technology and is also a member of the European Commission's legal Advisory Board on the Information Market. He has acted as expert witness in a number of IT related cases and has been involved in a number of Pan-European research projects in the field.

 

Steve Saxby

Professor Stephen Saxby, the Law School's Director of Research as well as Director of the Institute for Law and the Web, has taught and researched in IT Law and Public Policy since 1977 and in 1980 launched the first UK Undergraduate LLB IT Law course in Computer law. In 1991 he launched an LLM module in EU IT Law. He is also founding Editor since 1985 of Computer Law and Security Review - The International Journal of Technology Law and Practice (Elsevier) and since 1990 of the Encyclopedia of Information Technology Law (Thomson/Sweet and Maxwell). He is a Member of the British Computer Society and an Associate of the GeoData Institute at University of Southampton. He is Programme Committee Chair of the LSPI conference series www.lspi.net run by the International Association of IT Lawyers.

David Mellor

David has been involved with Telecommunications Regulation and Policy since 1987 when he was responsible for negotiating with Oftel the terms of Operating a Network under the Telecomms Act 1984 and Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949. After 45 years working within the Telecomms Industry David now focuses on supporting the ITU Development Sector as a Special Envoy to the Secretary General.

David is Chairman of the United Kingdom Telecommunications Academy and supports initiatives within the UK as well as Rwanda and Tanzania. The LLM IT and Telecoms Law from University of Southampton is key to initiatives David is working on with the Director of ITU-D.

 

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