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The University of Southampton

LAWS1010 Introduction to English Legal System (Part 1)

Module Overview

An interesting and challenging course which should provide students with an insight into the workings of Parliament and the judiciary, knowledge of the structure of the English legal system and the impact of European and Human Rights provisions on domestic legislation.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • the institutions, structures and rational of the English Legal System within the context of England and Wales, as well as its relation to the legal systems of the EU and ECHR.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate critical awareness of the wider political and social contexts of the law, the principles and values underpinning these and their implications for legal decision making.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • think critically and contribute to informed debate on a wide variety of legal, philosophical and social issues;
  • locate and analyse relevant, applicable sources of law and relate these to solve problems or offer advice.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify where to locate specific sources of law, interpret and apply it;
  • develop your ability to assess and comment critically;
  • demonstrate your ability to locate, identify, use and apply diverse sources of legally relevant material.


1. Introduction to law: nature of law, categories of law, sources of law and hierarchy of the courts. 2. Separation of powers. 3. Role of Parliament: legislative process (including delegated legislation), scrutiny of the executive, House of Lords reform. 4. Role of the judiciary: history and background, judicial independence, statutory interpretation, doctrine of precedent. 5. Civil courts: structure and function. 6. Criminal courts: structure and function, criminal appeal system. 7. European law: history of the EU, institutions of the EU, sources of European law, Parliamentary supremacy. 8. Human Rights: ECHR Human rights Act 1998.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The course comprises one weekly lecture and one weekly tutorial. Lectures comprise the background of the particular subject to be studied. A handout of material is provided each week at the start of the lecture and placed on Blackboard after it. A tutorial on the relevant topic is held following the lecture. Students will have been alerted to specific issues to be addressed and given appropriate reading either from the prescribed textbook, other recommended books or articles from academic journals. Teaching methods include: One lecture and one tutorial per week, offering an opportunity for detailed discussion of specific questions relating to the broader issues covered by the lectures. Both the lecture and tutorial provide an opportunity for you to ask questions. Lecture notes are placed on Blackboard following the lecture and details of tutorials, with readings and questions for guidance, are available on Blackboard in advance of the tutorial. Learning activities include: Attendance at lectures and tutorials is compulsory. Contribution to the content of both is encouraged; interruptions during the lectures for questions or comments are welcomed. Tutorials include group and individual analysis of specific topics which are then discussed by the whole group.

Wider reading or practice20
Follow-up work4
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Completion of assessment task30
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Slapper, G and Kelly, D (2010). English Law. 

Huxley-Binns, R, Martin, J, and Frost, T. (2017). Unlocking the English Legal System. 

Slapper, G. and Kelly, D. (2018). The English Legal System. 





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:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

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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