Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Introduction to English Law and Legal Method (LAW 1121) and Law of Torts (LAW1051) and Criminal Law (LAW2221)


  • Criminal Law (LAW2221) may also in exceptional circumstances be taken as a co-requisite at the discretion of the Chair of the Board of Studies or their delegate.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The general aim of this module is to cultivate a critical appreciation of the legal and ethical difficulties raised by modern medical practice. More specifically, the aims and objectives include the following:
  • To examine the law's involvement with medicine
  • To explore how legal principles might be most effectively used in the medical sphere
  • To develop ethical and contextual awareness of selected medical topics


  • The emergence of medical law and its ethical context
  • Consent and refusal in the content of medical interventions
  • Selected topical issues in, for example, end of life decision-making, transplantation, reproductive medicine, and medical research

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of existing English law and issues of ethical controversy in medical contexts.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Apply the existing law to given hypothetical situations and advise accordingly.
  • Analyse and evaluate the existing law in light of the legal, social, political and moral questions raised
  • Engage in informed debate concerning current proposals for reform.
Key Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate developed analytical and writing skills, including the ability to work independently and take responsibility for their own learning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures are used primarily to impart a framework of knowledge and to suggest approaches to evaluation and critical analysis;
  • Tutorials will be used to develop and enhance students capacity for legal-problem solving in a particular factual situation, evaluative critical analysis and their appreciation of laws' linkage with broader fields of enquiry;
  • Assignments (formative) are used to develop problem-solving skills or the ability to evaluate the law in a critical and contextual way.
  • Summative assessment comprises one unseen examination. The examination tests the ability to focus on relevant legal issues and organise knowledge and argument appropriate to questions raised. The examination questions will provide the means for students to demonstrate the acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem-solving skills.
  • Students will be supported and encouraged in the development of their research and writing skills..

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 4 Normally two in each of Michaelmas and Epiphany 1 hour 4
Preparation and Reading 176
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Online examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
takeaway assessment 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

1 written essay: 2000 words max

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University