Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Introduction to English Law and Legal Method (LAW 1121) and Law of Torts (LAW 1051) and EU Constitutional Law (LAW 1061) and Law of Contract (LAW 1071) and The Individual and the State (LAW 1081) and UK Constitutional Law (LAW 1091).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The general aim of this module is to cultivate a critical appreciation of the legal difficulties raised by law’s involvement with religion. More specifically, it aims to provide a theoretical and critical knowledge of how. The wide range of legal issues raised by the accommodating of religious belief and practice in diverse societies. Emphasis will be placed on how selected issues of religious liberty have been handled in UK law and international human rights law Some comparisons will also be made to the legal protection of religious freedom in different domestic constitutional settings.


  • The theoretical basis of religious liberty.
  • The meaning of religion for the purposes of European Convention on Human Rights, the ICCPR and other international treaties.
  • The Constitutional protection of private religious liberty under different legal systems, especially in the US under the First Amendment and in the UK under the Human Rights Act 1998.
  • The legal framework for the manifestation of religious belief in practice in areas such as employment, freedom of expression, and in the family;
  • The relationship between public religion and the state, including the meaning of "establishment".
  • The legal nature of religious associations and the legal status of members and ministry.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Legal approaches to defining religion: the legal meaning of religious belief and practice (e.g constitutional provisions, charitable, rating and other statutory exemptions)
  • Religion- State Relations and Constitutional Models eg separation, neutrality, establishment, theocracy; disestablishment and Sharia.
  • Recognition of religious liberty in UK and international law; limitations on religious liberty; clashes with other rights.
  • Employment: legal regulation of religious discrimination and religious manifestation in the workplace.
  • Education: religious education and collective worship; schools admissions; religious manifestation, symbols and dress in schools, colleges and universities.
  • The family, the child and religious liberty: religious considerations in marriage, divorce, custody and care disputes.
  • Religious group autonomy.
  • Free speech and religious sensitivity.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Identify relevant principles of law
  • Apply those principles to solve land law problems
  • Analyse case law and interpret statutes
Key Skills:
  • Acquisition of knowledge through critical analysis of primary and secondary sources
  • Synthesis, critical judgment and evaluation of ideas and arguments
  • Written communication skills.
  • Research skills, including the ability to find relevant material, 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 analytical capacity for legal-problem solving, evaluative critical analysis and their appreciation of laws' linkage with broader fields of enquiry;
  • An assignment (formative) is used to develop problem-solving skills or the ability to evaluate the law in a critical and contextual way.
  • Summative assessment comprises:
  • 1. A coursework component (weight 40%; 4000 words) intended to enable students to develop and demonstrate research ability in a specific aspect of the course. All students will give a linked 10 minute research presentation in a tutorial on which they will receive feedback before further development and submission.
  • AND
  • 2. An unseen examination of two hours thirty minutes (weight 60%). 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.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 18 Weekly/two per week in Michaelmas and Epiphany 1 hour 18
Tutorials 5 Normally: two in Michaelmas; three in Epiphany 1 hour 5
Preparation and reading 177

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
summative essay 4000 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 2hrs 30mins 100%

Formative Assessment:

A single 2000-word essay set in Michaelmas Term.

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