LW0LAWNU-Introduction to the English Legal System

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Only for Students on AFLAWNUXJ (BA Law (NUIST-UoR Academy) NUIST-based (full-time))
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Mr Sebastian Watkins

Email: s.a.watkins@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

To prepare students for the NUIST-Reading Academy undergraduate programme which involves the study of law by providing an introduction to the structure of the English legal system, the development of  key legal vocabulary and development of the students’ English Language skills in the context of legal academic study.


To prepare students for undergraduate programmes which involve the study of law by providing grounding in the structure of the English legal system.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the structure, personnel and functions of the English legal system.

  • Show evidence of the ability to apply techniques of ordered thinking and the skills necessary to analyse and solve legal problems;

  • Communicate legal arguments clearly and succinctly, by means of presentations and written work, and to draw appropriate conclusions; 

Additional outcomes:

  • The development of library and research skills and the ability to make use of available resources.

  • An ability to understand legal academic texts, both written and spoken, more easily

Outline content:

The module begins with an introduction to some basic principles of the constitution: sources, parliamentary sovereignty; the rule of law; separation of powers. These principles provide a background to a more detailed study of the English legal system: sources of law to include the legislative process, statutory interpretation, judicial precedent, common law and equity; institutions and process to include civil and criminal proceedings, the hierarchy of the courts, the judiciary and the jury.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Topics are introduced through a combination of taught classes, seminars and individual tutorials. Independent learning is encouraged through reading based on textbooks, articles and case studies. Case and statute exercises assist in the development of skills in legal reasoning.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 84
Project Supervision 2
Guided independent study 104
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 20
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One two hour written examination.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One assignment of 800 – 1,000 words

One group presentation of  10- 15 minutes

Formative assessment methods:

2 assignments; seminar preparation - analysis of problems and concepts; debating issues in class; answering pre-seen questions verbally and in writing.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:


    Reassessment arrangements:

    During the August University Resit Period:

    Written examination    70%

    Oral assessment           30%


    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 17 December 2018


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