Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Introduction to English Law and Legal Method (LAW 1121) and Legal Philosophy (LAW2311); (at the discretion of the Chair of the Board of Studies or delegate, a suitable module from another Department may be substituted for the Law pre-requisite(s)).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To build on the knowledge base gained in LAW2311: Legal Philosophy;
  • To critically engage with a contemporary debate in the philosophy of law.


  • The precise focus for the year’s seminars will be at the discretion of the convener. Topics may be drawn from the following list, though this is not exhaustive:
  • Constitutional Theory;
  • Continental legal philosophy;
  • Critical legal studies;
  • General Jurisprudence;
  • Law and Emotion;
  • Law and Language;
  • Law and Reason;
  • Normative jurisprudence;
  • Philosophy of private law.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students will have knowledge and understanding of key philosophical debates relating to the foregoing issues;
  • Students also will have developed their own critical assessments of the texts and theories with which they engage.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students will be able to:
  • Correctly utilise specialist vocabulary;
  • Grasp, analyse, evaluate and deploy subject-specific concepts and arguments;
  • Demonstrate developed research and writing skills, including the ability to work independently and to take responsibility for their own learning.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students will be able to:
  • Express themselves clearly and succinctly in writing;
  • Comprehend complex ideas, propositions and theories;
  • Defend their opinions by reasoned argument;
  • Seek out and identify appropriate sources of evidence and information;
  • Tackle problems in a clear-sighted and logical fashion.

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

  • The modes of teaching, learning and assessment have been chosen in order to facilitate the achievement of the learning outcomes of the module;
  • Seminars will concentrate on developing students' knowledge of the subject area and introducing students to the relevant critical, analytical and evaluative skills;
  • The mode of assessment will encourage independent learning and research skills and will examine students' ability to meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
seminars 6 Normally weekly or fortnightly during term 2 hrs 12
lecture 1 Normally start of term 1 hr 1
preparation and reading 87

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
summative essay 3000 words 100% N

Formative Assessment:

1 - one 1,000 word essay; 2 - one in-seminar presentation.

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