Legal system and method LA1031

This module introduces the English legal system and conveys what is distinctive about the common law approach as a legal methodology.

A vital module to initiate you into the process of legal research and the understanding of legal reasoning.

Topics covered

  • The nature of the common law tradition, with particular reference to human rights. Sources of law and principles of legal research with an emphasis on case noting, reading cases/statutes and essay writing.
  • Sources of law and principles of legal research, with an emphasis on case noting, reading cases/statutes and essay writing.
  • Conduct of legal research and retrieval of legal information, with particular reference to the use of the London online library and web based resources in finding cases, statutes and journal articles.
  • The doctrine of precedent and the principles of statutory interpretation.
  • Judicial reasoning in relation to (i) cases, and (ii) statutes.
  • The judiciary, with particular reference to the role of the judges and the Human Rights Act.
  • The criminal justice process (in outline) and the role of rights in the process, with particular attention to the jury and the impact of the Human Rights Act.
  • The civil justice process (in outline), with particular attention to reform and the role of rights.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the module successfully your should be able to:

  • Understand the structure and operation of the central institutions and processes of the English legal system
  • Explain the purpose and basic structure of the civil justice system and the place and value of alternative methods of dispute resolution
  • Explain the purpose and basic structure of the criminal justice system and the tension between the objectives of crime control and protection of civil liberties and human rights
  • Describe the role and constitutional position of judges and in particular the Law Lords and the Supreme Court
  • Understand judicial approaches to statutory interpretation and the influence of European law on those approaches
  • Understand the essential ingredients of the rule of law, and the importance to fairness and justice in social and legal systems
  • Apply the techniques of legal reasoning covering precedent and statutory interpretation
  • Identify key issues in a case and summarise points clearly and accurately
  • Conduct basic legal research tasks using primary and secondary sources
  • Respond coherently to straightforward questions about the law using legal referencing appropriately
  • Locate legal sources
  • Demonstrate understanding of legal terminology
  • Understand the principles of good academic practice.

Assessment

3hr 15 mins unseen examination

Essential reading

  • Holland, J. and J.S. Webb Learning legal rules: a student’s guide to legal method and reasoning. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019) 10th edition [ISBN 9780198799900].