LW1JILSNU-Jurisprudence (NUIST-Reading Academy)

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Ms Sharon Sinclair-Graham

Email: sharon.sinclair-graham@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

To give a thorough understanding of the English Legal System and the jurisprudence behind the operation of the law


A complete understanding of the English Legal System, its sources of law, doctrines and legal processes. It will also include an exploration of the legal personnel in the legal system and how law is practically used.

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 Jurisprudence module will be structured as followed for each week in both semesters:

Lecture – 2 hours per week

Seminar – 2 hours per week – to include seminar problems and presentations

Specialized Seminar – 2 hours per week – problem solving, homework discussion and review of the lectures and understanding of the principles taught previously

Semester One – Autumn Term

Week 1

An introduction. Distinguish private law from public law and civil law from criminal law. A brief description of the different areas of law and the differences between law and morals, law and rules, and law and justice.

Week 2

Sources of Law. A general introduction of ALL the sources, the historical development of the sources from custom to EU law, where to find the law – eg: case reports and statutes in the library, the internet, and text books. Introduction to Case Precedent and Custom.

Week 3

Case Precedent. Understanding the hierarchy of the courts and the pros and cons of case law. Understanding the different parts of a case decision – ratio decidendi, obiter dicta, distinguishing, binding and persuasive precedent. Understanding the ways in which the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal may not have to follow their previous decisions.

Week 4

Primary and Secondary legislation – understanding how primary legislation is made. The influences on what laws are passed. A brief look at law reform generally eg the role of the Law Commission and Pressure Groups. Understanding the three types of delegated legislation and the controls in place from both parliament and the courts to regulate any abuse of the power.

Week 5

Statutory Interpretation – How judges interpret statutes, including the three main rules, the development of the Purposive approach, the rules of language and other aids will be examined with a critical approach.

Week 6

Reading Week – students will consolidate their learning thus far, ready for a mid-term test in week 7.

Week 7

EU Law – a brief history of the development of the EU and its institutions with regard to their law-making and law enforcement roles. A detailed look at the different types of EU legislation and how it affects the UK and future implications of the UK leaving the EU.

Week 8 – Student Presentations

Equity – Its history, its pros and cons, equity today. Equitable principles and remedies in relation to contract and tort and in particular, and the role of the judges.

Week 9

European Convention on Human Rights and the Court of Human Rights – examining its role, its historical application in the UK, case examples, and its new relevance today with the Human Rights Act and the current application of human rights in domestic legislation, case law and the domestic courts.

Week 10

Presentations on Separation of Powers and the Rule of Law.

Week 11


Week 12


Semester Two – Spring Term

Week 1

Police Powers – Stop and Search and power of arrest

Week 2

Police Powers – detention and questioning.

Week 3

Offences, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Courts

Week 4

Sentencing. The role of the courts in sentencing, the aims of sentencing, types of sentence.

Week 5

The role of Magistrates’ in the English Legal System.

Week 6

Reading Week – students will consolidate their learning thus far, ready for a mid-term test in week 7.

Week 7

The role of Juries in the English legal system

Week 8

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 16 16
Seminars 78 78
Tutorials 2 2
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 20 20
    Wider reading (directed) 20 20
    Exam revision/preparation 10 10
    Advance preparation for classes 10 10
    Preparation for presentations 5 5
    Preparation for seminars 5 5
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 15 15
    Group study tasks 5 5
    Essay preparation 10 10
Total hours by term 200 200 0
Total hours for module 400

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 80
Written assignment including essay 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One exam in the summer term – 3 hours long which is worth 80%

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One assignment in each term which is worth 10% each

Formative assessment methods:

Mid-term test in week 7 on the previous weeks across Contract (semester 1) or Tort (Semester 2) and Jurisprudence

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:

    Written examination 100%

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 4 June 2019


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