Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Introduction to English Law and Legal Method (LAW 1121) and EU Constitutional Law (LAW 1061) AND UK Constitutional Law (LAW 1091).


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide a critical introduction to the Chinese legal system.
  • To provide a critical introduction to major contemporary issues in Chinese law and legal practice as well as China's position in the international legal order.
  • To develop research skills and contextual awareness of how law might be most effectively used in reflecting on the Chinese legal system.


  • This module explores the Chinese legal system with a focus on its administrative and constitutional arrangement as well as China's position in an international legal order.
  • Typically, topics covered will include both public law (the perspectives of the rule of law in China, the role of the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, the protection of key constitutional rights) and private law (selected areas of civil and commercial law). In addition, the module may also cover some important issues of legal practice (e.g., judicial and non-judicial dispute resolution, Chinese legal education and professional training).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the Chinese legal system.
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with the relevant literature and the leading debates surrounding key issues across the Chinese legal system.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of selected areas of substantive law relating to the Chinese legal system.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the Chinese legal system, its administrative and constitutional structural and its position in an international legal order.
  • Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the significance of law in its wider social context.
Key Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate developed research and writing skills, including the ability to work independently and to 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 knowledge - and also to suggest approaches to evaluation and critical analysis;
  • Tutorials will be used to develop and enhance students capacity for legal-problem solving, evaluative critical analysis and their appreciation of laws' linkage with broader fields of enquiry;
  • Assignments (formative) are used both to develop problem-solving skills, the ability to engage in sustained evaluation of ideas and issues in Chinese law, and 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 hr 20
Tutorials 4 Normally two in each of Michaelmas and Epiphany 1 hr 4
Preparation and reading 176

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
written examination 3 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two essays of 2,000 words each.

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