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The University of Southampton
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LAWS6165 Dissertation

Module Overview

The dissertation is an opportunity for you to pursue a piece of independent legal research on an issue of interest to you which may arise from one of the other units studied by you or as a result of your own curiosity concerning a particular legal problem. The dissertation also allows you to consolidate and then showcast the knowledge and skills you have acquired during the taught part of the LLM. The Dissertation is core to the LLM Maritime Law, LLM International Commercial and Corporate Law, LLM International Law and Human Rights and the LLM Masters in Law, which means that it must be taken and passed.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The legal framework governing the relevant area of law.
  • A range of legal principles and processes drawn from private or public law.
  • The policies or values underlying these principles or processes .
  • The legal research methods, such as case analysis, statutory review, and consideration of international materials.
  • A specific legal area of private or public law.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Source, interpret and analyse relevant legal materials, including, where appropriate, international conventions, statutes, case law, soft law or standard form contracts.
  • Identify, evaluate and apply key legal principles in solving complex problems.
  • Identify and critically evaluate key legal and policy issues.
  • Communicate legal arguments clearly, accurately and objectively.
  • Produce an extensive written discussion that coherently communicates an argument on a specific legal subject-matter.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Undertake independent research project and access primary and secondary sources effectively.
  • Analyse complex written texts and evaluate different types of arguments.
  • Construct arguments and solve problems based on premises drawn from various sources.
  • Communicate arguments in writing and reference sources appropriately.
  • Work to a strict time schedule.

Syllabus

The dissertation is an opportunity for you to pursue a piece of independent legal research on an issue of interest to you which may arise from one of the other units studied by you or as a result of your own curiosity concerning a particular legal problem. The Dissertation module consists of the following three parts: (1) Week 1 of Semester 1: 12 hours ‘Introduction to Legal Studies’ The lectures provide an intensive legal skills programme that introduces you to the common law system, the interactions of statute and judge-made law as well as the impact of international conventions and model laws on national law. During this week, you will also be introduced to the law library and the many legal databases and other resources we hold. The programme will provide you with the foundations for taking the specialised modules. (2) Early in Semester 2: 4 hours ‘Research Methods & Writing Skills’ (3) May – August: Writing the Dissertation (under the supervision of a member of staff)

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include - The essence of the module is independent research under the guidance of a supervisor. - Induction classes incorporating fundamental aspects of English, EU and international law and legal method. - A series of lectures on identifying a topic, selecting relevant sources and on writing and citation. - Meeting with the dissertation supervisor for guidance on structuring and planning the research project. - Meetings with the supervisor to discuss draft Chapters and progression. Learning activities include - Formulating an issue; - Preparing and refining a plan of work; - Identifying the primary and secondary materials relevant to the issue under consideration; - Searching for and accessing electronic and other legal resources; - Synthesising the materials gathered; - Reviewing, absorbing, and critically analysing those materials; - Preparing draft Chapters; - Structuring Chapters into a coherent complete dissertation; - Writing in a clear formal style appropriate to legal writing with legal referencing. Teaching/Independent Study Teaching will include: - lectures: introduction to legal studies (semester 1) - Research methods and writing skills (semester 2) - Supervision contract (May/August) Independent study will include: - preparation for scheduled sessions - follow-up work - wider reading or practice - completion of assessment task

TypeHours
Teaching19
Independent Study581
Total study time600

Resources & Reading list

.. The necessary reading will be determined by the your choice of topic. In addition you will have access to generic material on how to produce a law dissertation on Blackboard.

Assessment

Formative

Dissertation

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation  (15000 words) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation  (15000 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation  (15000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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